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Ashtanga, NY - A Yoga Documentary (2004)

Willem Dafoe , Regina French , Caroline Laskow , Mary Wigmore  |  NR |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Willem Dafoe, Regina French, Donna Karan, Ruth Lauer, Gwyneth Paltrow
  • Directors: Caroline Laskow, Mary Wigmore
  • Producers: Caroline Laskow, Mary Wigmore, Ian Rosenberg, Obie Benz
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: First Run Features
  • DVD Release Date: September 21, 2004
  • Run Time: 41 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002J4ZT6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #163,407 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Ashtanga, NY - A Yoga Documentary" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Ashtanga, NY was originally intended as a concert film celebrating the Ashtanga style of yoga, now wildly popular in the United States and around the world. It follows the aging yoga guru Sri K. Pattabhi Jois as he gives his final North American workshop in New York City in September 2001. Devotees were arriving from all over the world to partake in a rare opportunity to practice with the 86 year-old Jois. The 9/11 terrorist attacks took place in the midst of this celebration, and dramatically changed the meaning and purpose of this yoga gathering. In the difficult weeks that followed, Jois used the Ashtanga practice to help heal and fortify his diverse followers. This is no intructional video, and these are not your garden-variety contortionists. Ashtanga, NY is a real look into the intersection of ancient practice and modern life, New York-style.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
My daughter Wini who practices Ashtanga yoga gave me this DVD to watch. She wanted me to understand exactly what it was that has challenged and inspired her so much for the past few years. Last night I watched the DVD. And I must say that I do now understand.

This is a short documentary, only 41 minutes. And yet, it managed to captivate the essence of what the practice of Ashtanga yoga is. It was shot in September of 2001, during a period of time that Sri K Pattabhi Jois, the 86-year old Indian yoga teacher affectionately know as Guruji, came to New York to hold a large group class for devotees. Every day that month, 250 of his followers practiced yoga at dawn under his watchful eye in a huge room at Chelsea piers. Yes, there were some celebrities there, namely Willem Dafoe, Gwyneth Paltrow and Beastie Boy Mike D, but I only recognized Willem Dafoe who made a comment at the beginning about his need to practice yoga to be able better function in the stimulating atmosphere of New York City.

The practice of Ashtanga yoga is intense. It requires almost daily attendance as well as extremely demanding physical exercises. But whoever practices it seems to come away with a cult-like devotion to it and a feeling of camaraderie with the people who practice it alongside each of them even if they do not know their names or who they are, and a sense of spirituality and well being.

During the period of time this documentary was being made, New York experienced the horrible attacks on 9/11. I remember the feeling of living in New York at the time. I remember the deep sense of sadness and mourning. This comes across quite clearly during a ceremony held by the yoga teacher.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving documentary December 12, 2004
The brilliant pacing and sophisticated filming of this documentary only allow the humanity of the characters to come through all the more clearly and touchingly. The potential of community action (here, through the lens of a New York yoga studio and the visit of a master yoga teacher) to guide people through even the most devastating of events comes through as a major lesson of this important documentary. I recommend it to everyone, even or especially those who are not yoga practitioners. Great work!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational December 17, 2004
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This documentary does a great job in telling the story of the effects Ashtanga (both physically and psychologically) on various practioners. Some you may recognize like William DeFoe and Gwenth Paltrow, but there are others whose stories are equally as interesting. The DVD also provides interviews with Sri K Pattabi Jois and Sharath. The yoga demos are awesome, and the interviews are sincere and warm. If you are a fan of ashtanga then this is a great DVD to watch.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating account October 25, 2004
Ashtanga yoga is one of the most physically demanding styles of yoga; it is a precursor to the American "power" yoga which is so popular today. In 2001, the world's most revered ashtanga teacher, Pattabhi Jois, travelled to New York with his family to teach an intensive workshop to hundreds of New Yorkers, including actors Willem Dafoe and Gwyneth Paltrow. This fascinating documentary includes interviews with Dafoe and Paltrow, clips of Jois teaching, amazing demonstrations of yoga asanas (postures) by Jois' son, and glimpses into Jois' family life. All of this is set against the backdrop of the events of September 11th, which took place mid-workshop with obviously profound implications. An engrossing, moving film.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Film! October 1, 2004
This is a lovely film. The filmmakers started to make a film about an elderly yoga teacher's visit to New York, where he would teach a workshop to hundreds of appreciative yoga students. Halfway through the month-long workshop the terrorist attack of 9/11 occured. The teacher's response to this terrible event - and the response of NY's yoga community, becomes the story.

What really sets the film apart is the total absence of New-Age Yoga Journal BS. Here is a real, living community of individuals just doing their practice, living their lives, and thinking critically, and supporting each other in a time of crisis.

Celebrity commentary and appearances of Paltrow, Beastie Boy Mike D, and Willem Dafoe, who has a particularily amazing yoga practice.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Insightful April 30, 2006
By Om Girl
You won't walk away with the specifics of Ashtanga, but rather, a deeper appreciation of the physical practice as well as a spiritual understanding of how the lives of people who practice Ashtanga have been transformed. There was very little talk about what Ashtanga really is, so if you're looking to find out more about it, you won't find it on this video.

This documentary provides a glimpse into the world of Pattabhi Jois ("Guruji"), his lifelong commitment to teaching Ashtanga, and his trip to New York for a month-long yoga workshop with members of his family.

There a few celebrity appearances and a LOT of "how I feel" from "normal" people whose lives have changed because of Ashtanga. Although I could relate to these people, it began to get tiring after awhile.

What was refreshing was how Ashtanga and Guruji helped people in the classes to cope with the Sept. 11 attacks, including the ritual they conducted to honor those who perished in and affected by the attacks, that as one person said was thousands of years old and not something that was specially planned for the tragedy.

I've been practicing Ashtanga for 6 months and after watching this video, I suddenly felt connected to something that was older and so much larger than what I do on my sticky mat every week.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars We love and miss Guruji and found this documentary delightful
I've been practicing Astanga yoga since the 1970's. I knew Guruji (Patabi Jois) and his wife, Amah, for decades. My husband lived with them in Mysore for a year or more in 1981. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Robin R. Kostel
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent
The packaging and delivery was excellent. the film is very inspiring and worth watching. Highly recommended to be bought and have in CD libriary
Published 4 months ago by Tatiana Filippova
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply wonderful
I recommend this to anyone that Practices, or is interested in Ashtanga Yoga. It makes you actually feel the unspoken nuances of this amazing practice.
Published 7 months ago by Ryne Thompson
5.0 out of 5 stars A must see for any Ashtanga Aspirant
Up close and personal with the participants of this workshop. The event of 9/11 gives this documentary new meaning. Enjoy!
Published 8 months ago by sati ah
4.0 out of 5 stars Good documentary to watch
Watched this when it was on Netflix. Now it is not on Netflix. Was looking for the option of digital download but it is not. Hope it will be available soon.
Published 12 months ago by L. L. S
5.0 out of 5 stars LOVE this Documentary!
Have loved this documentary and now can't watch on Netflix or Hulu Plus. Very glad to have gotten it to keep for a very good price so that I can watch it whenever I like!
Published 14 months ago by Leah
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-see for Ashtanga practitioners!
I just got this (highly anticipated) documentary yesterday and last night I sat down and watched it all the way through. TWICE! Read more
Published on August 15, 2012 by Fitzgerald Fan
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful documentary!
An inspirational account of Sri. KP Jois's, (and family) visit to NYC for a month-long workshop. During this historic 2001 teaching visit, 9/11 occurred and we are given a very... Read more
Published on December 15, 2009
5.0 out of 5 stars An Ashtanga Odyssey
In 2001, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and his family traveled to NYC to offer intense workshops for his NYC practitioners. Read more
Published on June 11, 2009 by Bentley
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Movie About Yoga Ever!
I do yoga 7 days a week.This documentary makes every yoga instructional video pale by comparison. This is not your how to do yoga video. It is living yoga! Read more
Published on December 7, 2008 by ommm!
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