Karen Churchill, Enlighten Up! director, has been making documentaries for nine years and practicing yoga for seven. She feels that yoga can transform people spiritually and physically and says that the most peaceful and purest moments of happiness that she has experienced have been on her yoga mat. She polls others about why they do yoga. Rodney Yee said yoga:
Engages totality of who I am as a human being.Churchill's novice yogi is Nick Rosen, a 29-year-old journalist.
Like most yoga students, my starting point is the physical. In a lot of ways, physical fitness has been the clearest recipe for happiness that I've found in life.Ninety days into the yoga project, Nick goes to visit Norman Allen, an Ashtanga yoga master who lives on the Big Island of Hawaii. At one point, Allen tells Nick: you don't do nothing for the small self. (0:32:08) And Nick replies:
That's a tall order, Norman. Pretty much everything I do is for my small self. I'm hungry. I'm horny. I'm jealous. Whatever...
When Nick travels to India, another guru tells him almost the opposite:
You should feel the importance of yourself. You are the most important person. (108:09)Frankly, I think both sentiments are true: you should be altruistic but you also need to make sure that you take good care of yourself.
Also, I've always loved that Shakespeare quote: to thine own self be true. While Churchill is seeking spirituality through yoga, Nick is not and because of this reality, Churchill sometimes gets frustrated with Nick. Churchill doesn't realize that old truth that you cannot change anyone else or, in this case, have someone else get out of yoga what you expect to get out of yoga.
It's also true that while Nick says he's not seeking spirituality, he decides not to stay in India for longer because he suddenly starts yearning to spend time with his family.
Toward the end of Nick's journey he has many realizations:
I think it (yoga) makes you inherently more compassionate, more patient, more understanding...(1:14:20)
I agree. I also really like what Rosen said about physical fitness and happiness and to answer Churchill's question: Who do you do yoga?
I do yoga for flexibility and to calm my mind. What about you?