Time to opine: Enlighten Up

Last weekend I saw this film called Enlighten Up!

So what’s exciting:
– It’s on Yoga. A subject close to my heart.
– It explores the pop yoga culture that offers many variations that may work, may not work. But variations do exist. As do spas and beauty parlors and heated rooms and what not. In the US alone, billions of dollars are spent on Yoga every year, some spend cos its a fad, and many spend coz it works. But it may not work for everybody.
– I like the premise. The documentarian takes a non-believing journalist and exposes him to 6 months of regular yoga to see whether he transforms. The fact that he is a journalist is good coz it makes him objective about the experience.

What got to me:
– I didn’t like the premise so much after I saw the film: 😀
The whole idea of shoving yoga down someone’s throat and hounding him about it is a bad idea. I would rather the director had sponsored his yoga, given him a camcorder, and let him shoot his experience. Self-introspection would have been best. Trying to give someone’s yoga experience a direction in itself is a bad idea. But then this is my opinion.
– The film made the subject do a full day of yoga – 3-4 hours a day, adjust his entire lifestyle around it, and then reflect periodically about changes it introduced.

Here’s what I say:
When I started yoga, I didn’t like it. I’m talking about school. It was boring. It involved being in the same position and breathing for ages. Or what seemed like ages to the young nubile restless mind. However, when I opted for it in times of stress and strife, a lot of that went away. The instructor made it interesting and fast paced. Power yoga did work for me. But I knew it was working for me not because I found it easy to do asanas with every successive class. My benchmarks were based on the activities I perform in everyday life: my job, my routine, my focus, my cooking, my eating even. Everything suddenly became better.

Now, take the routine out of the subject’s life, and he has nothing but his unsettling new atmosphere to contend with. How on earth will he be able to experience the transformation?

Even if a transformation does happen, there is a 50-50 percent chance of yoga getting associated with discomfort for no fault of the subject.

The experiment was set up to fail. But wait, it didn’t entirely fail. I happen to be understanding the meaning of Mu properly at this point in time. So put it simply, it was a Mu experiment. The wrong context of evaluating an idea and expecting results that hinge on a wider broader context of pillars.

So should you watch it. But of course.
The film has an interesting cross section of opinions by people who are affected by it:
– Instructors: BKS Iyengar, Pattabhi Jois, all the neo-converts in the US.
Here is a special Iyengar treat.
– Lots of yogis who speak of Yoga being a means to attain god and spirituality. This opens up an entirely different Pandora’s box.
– Norman Allen, the first American to learn yoga. He now lives in Hawaii and is into farming. I love the scene where he asks Nick (the subject of the experiment) to go fuck himself. Metaphorically! 🙂

So Englighten Up! – yahweh or no way (quoting Stephen Colbert here)?
I say – yahweh.

Enjoyable, and definitely emotion+ thought provoking.

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