about the film
LIVING YOGA: The life and teachings of Swami Satchidananda
How the ancient teachings of Yoga were brought to the West and the far-reaching effects on society of the modern Yoga movement is a story told for the first time on film in an hour-long documentary that informs, entertains and provokes self-inquiry.
Yoga is over 5000 years old, yet is relatively new to Americans. Just forty years ago, the philosophy and practices of asanas (Yoga postures) that originated in India were initially popularized in the United States. Swami Satchidananda was one of the first Yoga masters to bring the classical Yoga tradition to the West. He taught Yoga postures to Americans and introduced them to meditation and a vegetarian and more compassionate lifestyle after he was invited to America in 1966 by the iconic pop artist Peter Max. During this period of cultural awakening, a small circle of Peter Max's artist friends beseeched the swami to extend what was supposed to be a brief stop in New York City so they could learn from him the secret of finding physical, mental and spiritual health, peace and enlightenment. Three years later, he led some half a million American youth in chanting OM, when he delivered the official opening remarks at the 1969 Woodstock Music and Art Festival, and he became known as "the Woodstock guru." The distinctive teachings he brought with him blend the physical discipline of Yoga, the spiritual philosophy of Vedantic literature and the interfaith ideals he pioneered. These techniques and concepts influenced a generation and spawned a Yoga culture that is flourishing today.
Today, an estimated twenty million Americans practice Yoga as a means for managing stress, promoting health, slowing down the aging process and creating a more meaningful life. The teachings of Swami Satchidananda have spread into the mainstream and thousands of people now teach Yoga. You can buy Yoga gear (or mats) at Target, pick up Yoga for Dummies at the local library and catch some Yoga moves on television and in classes offered at spas, health clubs, community centers and offices of major corporations.
Yoga has been instrumental in:
- Medical therapy applications and breakthroughs proven by Dr. Dean Ornish to reverse heart disease (new studies in prostrate cancer underway)
- Improvement in grades, attitude, focus, flexibility and adaptability of children, including those with special needs
- Peacemaking efforts and bringing people of all faiths together in respect and appreciation for the unity within our diversity.
These breakthroughs in consciousness and others areas brought to light in LIVING YOGA: The life and teachings of Swami Satchidananda, a film written and co-produced by Joshua M. Greene and directed and co-produced by Shiva Kumar. Running time: 62 minutes. A presentation of Stories to Remember and Integral Yoga International, the film is scheduled for release on DVD in May 2008 (and for release in Canada in July 2008).
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