The film offers an amusing take on a variety of famous (and somewhat famous) yoga teachers, including Norman Allan, David Life, Sharon Gannon, Cyndi Lee, Dharma Mittra, and a pro wrestler yoga teacher for men who ended a class with, "Namaste with T and A." For me, the best part of the film was seeing Mr. Iyengar speak on yoga. And seeing recently-deceased Pattabhi Jois got my attention, too. Mr. Iyengar underlined the concept that health is the first aim with a hatha yoga practice. For him, the spiritual aspect didn't show up until his body was ready.
Ms. Churchill started out the project wanting to talk about the transformation that she experienced in yoga by watching someone else doing it. So she selected someone new to yoga (Nick), and planned to visit as many of the best teachers in six months as they could. The process was not without conflict, and their adventure is definitely worth viewing. At one point we hear Churchill whispering from off-screen to Nick, "Ask about moksha." But Nick will not be controlled, and continues on the search in his own way.
And at the end he has some genuine insights about his experience with yoga, but it's just not what the filmmaker expected. There is a shot near the end of the film showing Ms. Churchill practicing yoga and falling out of her headstand, seemingly expressing her own letting go and finally allowing the film to be what it was.
Enlighten Up! opens in Chicago on Friday, June 12 at Landmark's Century Centre Cinema. Check it out!