Film on Asthanga Yoga to be released
London will witness the screening of film called Guru by London based filmmaker Robert Wilkins captures the guru-shishya parampara.Updated: Mar 01, 2006 20:05 IST
An unlikely candidate has joined the long list of yoga enthusiasts: none other than Blair boy Peter Mandelson. While Mandelson got introduced to it in Brussels, pop queen Madonna became fanatical about yoga in LA and tantric sex guru Sting in London.
We all have heard of ex spice girl Geri Halliwell and her yoga stint. But not many outside the yoga world have heard about the man who made yoga so popular: Shri Pattabhi Jois.
The 90-year-old guru, created one of the most popular forms of yoga: Asthanga Yoga. He will be in London next week to be the chief guest at the screening of film Guru by London based filmmaker Robert Wilkins which captures the thousand-year-old guru-shishya parampara.
Two years ago Wilkins started practicing yoga out of curiosity and in a year's time, he became a serious yoga student. So fascinated was he by the Ashtanga form that he spent three months in Mysore, India, last year, filming the documentary and practicing yoga with Jois.
There was an added incentive as in July Jois celebrated his 90th birthday. Over 500 students descend from all over the world and made themselves busy with buying saris and gifts for the yogi party of the century.
Jois has a huge international following. It's questions like "What is it that these 'foreigners' are seeking to find?" that made Wilkins take up the project.
There's so much information around these days "just google it and find out - then why do we never seem to learn anything anymore? Perhaps no-one's teaching us?" questions Wilkins.
"The Indians have found an answer in the guru system," he reasons, Put trust in the guru (once you have found the right one) and he/she will take you on a journey of transformation "from darkness into light."
This film offers never before seen insights into the life of 90-year old Ashtanga yoga guru.
The documentary explores a very different side to yoga, one which is not sold in the West. There is intimate footage of Jois and his grandson Sharath Rangaswamy teaching traditional method Ashtanga yoga from their "shala" at the AYRI (Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute) in India.
There may be more students now, but the yoga stays the same.
Yogi Rolf Naujokat explains, "These outer changes have no affect on my practice, very simple. I stand up in the morning, do my sitting, and I get ready for going to the shala. It has been before like that and it is now like that."
In the documentary Wilkins meets the yogi travellers, devoted students who take their study of the Ashtanga form to an extreme, elevating it to a kind of art form.
For the dedicated, yearly trips to Mysore are a must. Learn that yoga extends beyond the system of the postures or asanas which most of us associate. And into philosophy, spirituality and the very system of pedagogy or guru-shishya (the teacher-student relationship), he stresses.
First Published: Mar 01, 2006 20:05 IST