What changes have you made in your life that have given you control over stress and put your body in synch with your mind? For many it is the practice of yoga that makes the difference in navigating through the rough waters of life.
One such person is Kate Churchill, a filmmaker who decided to use her love of yoga and perform an experiment to see if one of the many forms of this practice could make a difference in a person’s life. In addition, Kate would document the process in a film that would tell the story, regardless of the outcome.
Twenty-nine year old Nick Rosen is a journalist, and while no stranger to alternative practices as his mother is a shamanistic healer, he is a skeptic concerning the transformative powers of yoga. He takes the assignment from Kate to try the various schools and methods of practicing yoga offered around the world, to see if they speak to his needs and offer a life changing experience. Best of all he agreed to be filmed in the process.
From bumbling novice, to adept practitioner, viewers can follow Nick’s progress. What occurs is an interesting balance of participation in class, group, or individual instruction, interspersed with discussions about the meaning of the practice with both instructors and other students.
What develops is a portrait of such variety as to be somewhat astonishing, causing the thought to occur that perhaps there is a yoga style for everyone. In some cases personalities of the instructors are as instrumental as the style and the format of the learning process in grabbing an individual’s attention.
There are traditional instructors whose humility is noticeably at odds against their perfection in the performance of yoga, and there are sincere instructors whose style is more flamboyant both on the mat and in interviews. There are no judgments as to right or wrong ways, just the knowledge that this discipline is accessible in many different formats.
This film is entertaining and enlightening, to watch, sometimes very funny, and at other times filled with serious endeavor. All in all, it is a satisfactory look at a practice that is familiar to many people, beloved and yet not without some fringe elements that give it a beyond the edge feel. Nick is a charming subject for the experiment, and Kate has captured all facets of the adventure, good, bad, silly and serious.
Enlighten Up: A Skeptic’s Journey Into Yoga is presented on single disc, in widescreen format, with a running time of 82 minutes. It stars Nick and a slate of yoga experts, some who are luminaries of the practice, and others who are simply colorful.
An additional 50 minutes of material is included on the DVD, with extended interviews, deleted scenes, a photo montage of Northern India and the filmmaker biography. All in all, Enlighten Up! A Skeptic’s Journey Into the World of Yoga is more than a viewing experience.
It becomes a personal journey, and whether one is a practitioner or simply interested in the topic, there is much to enjoy and many things to think about after the film is over.