The film presented for discussion in this paper is Origins of Yoga: Quest for the Spiritual. This is the movie made up by Paula Force in 2005 in the U.S. This 50 minute documentary researches the way of life and main habits of Indian yogis. However, the main idea of this documentary is the statement that hatha yoga, which is practiced by most of the Western population, is just a small element of the life of an average yogi. Moreover, the main aim of yogi lies not just in finding peace and harmony with the surrounding environment but in the lifelong search for connection with the Divine, as well.
Origins of Yoga: Quest for the Spiritual
The documentary begins with showing Swami Vidyanand Swaroop Brachmachari, who has experienced the life of yogi for 35 years. He speaks about the sense of being a yogi that lies in the search for connection with God. Yoga could not be considered just the branch of study or science; it is a certain way of life. Yogis travel during all their life, and that is how they live.
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While watching the movie, the viewers could see different yogis. It is important to underline that most of them do not wear ordinary clothes; they rub ashes onto their skin to cover body with color. Most of them spend their life traveling to northern India and Nepal. The way of life presented in documentary shows that yogis spend most of their time praying, meditating, seeking the inner harmony with God, and performing different yoga postures.
Commentaries to the film are given by yogis themselves and by Dr. Georg Feuerstein, a professional Western writer about traditions and origins of yoga. The presentation of the plot of the film is rather simply organized for the better understanding. Moreover, it is presented in the way of interviews and analysis that were held at the moment. It brings the feeling of real picture of the traditions and way of life observed by yogis.
In the film, one could notice that Dr. Georg Feuerstein asked people strict and simple questions that came to his head in the process of this filmmaking. There were several questions about the nature of their beliefs, the reason of women absence among yogis, positions of their families regarding their decisions to devote their lives to yoga. One would discuss the answers to these questions in the review.
This documentary is easy to understand; thus, it does not look as a serious scientific research. However, it gives the viewers an opportunity to understand the origins and spiritual bases of yoga. However, most part of this film is devoted to ordinary life of yogis.
Modern Western society realizes the essential value of yoga, its main ideas, and key principles. However, the origins of yoga are not widely presented and researched. People are used to the thought that yoga is a certain amount of exercise that one may perform from time to time. However, it has been already mentioned that it is the specific path to the harmonization of the inner world. It is connection with Devine that gives the understanding of real life values (Origins of yoga, 2005)
It is necessary to underline that physical benefits that could be achieved with yoga are just a small part of positive results that one could gen practicing yoga. In the film, it is said that there are about 15 million yogis around the world. A real yogi is devoted to this idea of connection to the God and serving higher goal for all his life. It is something like a secret science that could open the doors to a new life. It is said that the story of formation of yoga could be said to start almost five thousand years ago.
The first place that is connected with the development of yoga is the Indus Valley. The Himalayan caves are considered as the place where ancient people decided to stop their ordinary way of life and to devote their life to the Divine. That was the reason they left society and became yogis. However, the Himalayas are said to be the place fool of mystery. People there always differ from others. That is some kind of connection with nature and inner world.
Origins of Yoga: Quest for the Spiritual is a feature film that presents the interviews with yogis in the places of their ordinary location. It is done to show the real picture of their life and everyday habits. That is why the viewers could see their real lifestyle, activity, habits. It is the opportunity to see yoga from the side, which shows that it not just as a number of exercises. Yoga should be considered as a lifestyle.
Modern Western society possesses yoga as the mainstream as fitness, feng shui. It became popular, but people do not actually realize the real meaning of yoga. This film shows the connection of modern people to the ancient ones who began practicing yoga more than five thousand years ago.
This film could be very useful for those who practice yoga or just want to start doing so. The only thing one needs to do to realize the essence of yoga is just follow this man through the streets and mountains of India. However, one needs to know this documentary is created by the fellow traveler from Los Angeles. This fellow traveler is Paula Fouce, a filmmaker, whose aim is to bring light into the story concerning the real live and habits of yogis.
This film determines the main treasure of Indian yogis. They share their wisdom and their vision of the values of life. This documentary could be considered as a good material for yoga education. This movie describes and researches the science of yoga. It is even possible to speak about the interesting travelling to India without living home. There is an objective view on the origin of yoga and real habits of people who choose yoga as the lifestyle.
After watching this movie, one could understand that it really differs from other films on the same topic. Others concentrate mostly on the exercises and specific techniques of yoga. This video presented the viewers with the ancient practice and its story that shows the main aim of yoga. One of the most essential benefits of this documentary is that facts are shared by yogis themselves.
Paula Fouce spent a lot of years traveling and researching South Asia. She became an expert in Asian culture and traditions. It is necessary to stress that she has even co-authored Shiva (specific photographic book). Origins of Yoga is not the only film directed by Paula. She directed and produced such films as Naked in Ashes and By Many Names. Moreover, she worked on the new film Vanising nation: Tibet (Lama, 1998)
This documentary gives the understanding that yoga is something more than a number of specific postures and exercises that serve to increase ones flexibility and strength. The real aim of yoga always has a deeper value that lies in the lightening the life through the inner harmony and through the transformation of the personality and his or her ego.
It should be stressed that in Hinduism, Buddism the term “yoga” means “spiritual discipline”. Physical activity is just the element of yoga. To find inner harmony one needs to bring harmony to both: one’s body and one’s soul. The way one understands the world would be the result of the world`s attitude to an individual. One needs to realize that attachment brings bad habits.
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There exists no exact tendency as to how to present the history of yoga. One fact that is clear about the history of yoga is that it took its roots from the East. It is possible to find first sighs of yoga in ancient Shamanism. The research shows that the yoga postures were found on the artifacts that date back to 3000 B.C. Moreover, some more evidence of yoga could be found in the oldest text – Rig Veda. This text is considered as the composition of hymns. The topics of these texts include ancient prayers, divine power and energy, and life of the highest value.
Firstly, yoga was created and developed in order to be the science of understanding the world and search for the inner peace and harmony. However, one needs to realize that self-enlightenment become the secondary goal of yoga. Yoga actually has faced a lot of criticism during it existence. People who do not understand its purposes find it not useful for the development and enlightenment.
Modern yoga differs from what has been shown in the documentary. Today, it is based on five main principles that were mentioned by Swami Sivananda:
- Right relaxation;
- Physical exercises;
- Proper breathing;
- Meditation and positive attitude to the surrounding environment (White, 2003)
Even in present time, the origins of yoga are still the matter of debates in scientific society and among ordinary people.
There are a lot of essential benefits of practicing yoga in one’s life. It helps one find spiritual connection with the inner world and search for the Divine power that is beyond human ordinary existence. This practice needs to be used every day in case if one is interested in getting positive results. One cannot achieve inner harmony practicing yoga twice a week in some fitness center. As it is underlined in the documentary, yoga needs to become a lifestyle. The viewers have learned from the Origins of Yoga that in order to find harmony and peace, yogis have at least two meditations a day. It is necessary to remember about balance and spiritual food. These meditations could be considered as one’s spiritual food.
There are different meditations that need to be used for certain purposes. Each of them gives a different feeling. One needs to realize what emotion one is going to experience. During the meditation, one can clear one’s mind from any thoughts and relax. That is how the body and soul become free of everyday thoughts and actions. Only in such a situation, one becomes able to fee extra energy that gives the connection with the inner world and feeling of the presence of Divine. Proper breathing while meditation helps one feel relaxed and concentrate on a certain issue from one’s soul.
However, one needs to remember that food that one eats influences one’s life a lot. Yogis always control their food. Certain products could help one relax (green herbal tea) and some would make one’s brain follow the inner aggression (meat). Moreover, it is necessary to remember that one should not be food oriented. Moreover, everybody should know that that one eats to live, but not lives to eat. The main food yogi concentrate their attention is spiritual food. Thus, it plays more important role in their life. People do not have not so much time to keep their mind full of different useless thoughts.
Yogis understand that their main role is to be the way of connection between ordinary people and Divine powers. That is why they travel a lot. It is connected with two main reasons:
- Exploring new places that may bring proper energy;
- Sharing their knowledge and experience with others.
It is important to mention that it is quite unlikely to see a woman yogi. There are several explanations given in the documentary. Women are not able to become the way of connection with the Divine, and they do not have enough skills to live the life of yogi. History shows men practicing yoga. Modern yoga concerns not only men, but women, as well. Thus, today woman practicing yoga could be seen rather often. Time changes and views regarding most ancient traditions could be changed.
In the conclusion, it should be said that this documentary has high value for both: practicing yogis and ordinary people. However, film demonstrates the real life and habits of yogis in their native location. Moreover, the main aim of yogi lies not just in finding peace and harmony with the surrounding environment, but the lifelong seeking the connection with the Divine.
While watching the movie it is possible to see different yogis and hear to their opinion about the aim and value of yoga. Most of them spend their life traveling to northern India and Nepal. We need to underline that yogis have life that differs from the life of ordinary people. Thus, most of them spend their time praying, meditating, seeking the inner harmony with God, and performing different yoga postures.
The plot of the film is rather simple to understand. Thus, it is presented in the way of interviews and analysis that were held at the moment. It brings the feeling of real picture of the traditions and way of life observed by yogis.
Modern Western society realizes the essential value of yoga and its main ideas and key principles. Nevertheless, the origins of yoga are not widely presented and researched to have the real picture of its origins. Most of people are mistaken when thinking that yoga is a certain amount of exercise that one may perform from time to time. Modern Western society possesses yoga as the mainstream as fitness, feng shui. The real spence of yoga lies in the strong connection of the inner world of person with Devine. There are a lot of essential benefits of practicing yoga, as it helps to find spiritual connection with the inner world and seek for the Divine power that is beyond our ordinary existence. This practice needs to be used every day in case if one is interested in getting positive results.
This film broadens the mind of ordinary people and shows the real essence and origins of yoga. There is no need to research yoga before watching it. Thus, the language and presentation of this documentary are easy to understand and realize. Origins of Yoga could be considered the guide to the real world of yogis, their habits, and the history of yoga.