Origins of Yoga directed by Paula Fouce

Paradise Filmworks; 8117 W. Manchester Blvd.,

Ste. 301, Playa Del Rey, CA 90293;; 50 min.

Origins of Yoga actually has very little to do with the origins of yoga. Rather, it’s a gorgeously filmed, thought-provoking documentary focusing on members of the large, loosely knit, culturally supported community of wandering ascetics in Northern India and Nepal. These men have bravely rejected conventional society with its attachments and responsibilities, and chosen instead to roam the world hot on the trail of their authentic selves.

Not surprisingly, Western yoga is treated rudely, faulted for its lack of a spiritual “core.” Honestly, this complaint is getting wearisome. Indians have supposedly been steeped in the yoga tradition for 5,000 years, we Americans for maybe 50 or 60. Spiritually we’re still yoga babies. Is it reasonable to expect us, at this stage in our evolution, to run and jump? I’d argue that it’s not. But if you’re interested in how modern Indian yogins live and think (and how they’ve probably been living and thinking for more than a thousand years), check out this film and tune out the criticism.

Contributing editor Richard Rosen teaches yoga in Northern California.