Saturday, December 26, 2009

Short Film - Yoga, Inc.

Interesting . . . competitive yoga?

Yoga, Inc.

Yoga, Inc.

Release Year: 2007

Duration: 58 min

Availability: Worldwide

Related: Health, Religion & Spirituality, Sports & Hobby

Yoga has transformed from an ancient spiritual practice into a competitive, commercialized, multi-million dollar industry. And for a practice rooted in renunciation, yoga sure is making some people very rich. Can yoga survive this war between the sacred and the profane with its good karma intact?

Esak Garcia is a star on the burgeoning competitive yoga circuit, racking up cash prizes and edging ever closer to snagging an endorsement deal. But Esak’s ultimate goal is the Olympics, a dream instilled in him by his guru, Bikram Choudhury. Bikram’s supporters applaud his crusade to have yoga recognized as an Olympic sport. His detractors are horrified. It’s typical of the controversies that surround the ‘Bad Boy of Yoga’. Bikram has also copyrighted his popular yoga style. Those who teach ‘Bikram yoga’ without playing by his rules are hit with crippling copyright infringement fees. So a group of yoga studio owners take Bikram to court to pose an important legal question; can anyone ‘own’ yoga?

In today’s yoga world only the marketplace has real meaning, where everything is up for grabs, from yoga shoes to chakra panties. The new mantras are Standardize and Supersize. In the race to cash in yoga chains (‘McYoga’?) are popping up everywhere, putting the smaller studios out of business. No wonder purists are scratching their heads. Is nothing sacred?

Greed, lust, ego and the search for enlightenment all come together in this original, irreverent portrait of spiritualism and capitalism colliding head on.


teeny yogini said...

Intersting film! Actually, competitive asana is an ancient concept in India and really isn't all that surprising. The physical practice of asana is no different from any other physical art -- some will aspire to mastery. After all, there are martial arts competitions galore, yet martial arts is certainly also a complete spiritual path for some. Yoga asana, which has been infused through the centuries with elements of martial arts, gymnastics, strength training and other forms of physical culture, is really no different.

Of course asana is just one limb of yoga, if you want to pursue it as a spiritual practice. But like all intense spiritual practices, the full pursuit of yoga only attracts a small number of people. Some of them are inspired initially by asana practice, though, so it seems unnecessary for purists to get all sanctimonious about the popularity of "gym yoga."

Sabrina said...

It is amazing to think how far Yoga has come and how rich of a business yoga is.