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Ashtanga, NY - A Yoga Documentary
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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.Read more ›
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Nice interviews with various people, famous and not, who find benefit practicing Ashtanga yoga and revere the guru featured in this film during his 2001 visit to New York. Read morePublished 7 months ago by N. Alkire
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 morePublished 17 months ago by Robin R. Kostel
The packaging and delivery was excellent. the film is very inspiring and worth watching. Highly recommended to be bought and have in CD libriaryPublished 20 months ago by Tatiana Filippova
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 23 months ago by Ryne Thompson
Up close and personal with the participants of this workshop. The event of 9/11 gives this documentary new meaning. Enjoy!Published 24 months ago by sati ah
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 on November 1, 2013 by L. L. S
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 on August 30, 2013 by Leah
I just got this (highly anticipated) documentary yesterday and last night I sat down and watched it all the way through. TWICE! Read morePublished on August 15, 2012 by Fitzgerald Fan
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 morePublished on December 15, 2009