VIFF 2018: Iyengar: The Man, Yoga, and the Student’s Journey


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      The late B.K.S. Iyengar’s contributions to and influence upon the world of yoga are detailed in this comprehensive documentary.

      The then 90-year-old Iyengar (still doing backbends) discusses the roots of his form of hatha yoga, which involves the use of props in asanas (poses), and illuminates the deeply considered philosophy underscoring his holistic pursuit of mental, physical, and spiritual health. His popularization of yoga is illustrated through examples interwoven as threads throughout the film, ranging from girls at a Mumbai orphanage benefitting from practice to archival footage of western TV show hosts interviewing Iyengar as a curiosity. However, this portrait isn’t a deification: while some interviewees speak highly of him, others note his flaws, and his brusque, often critical approach is also on display. Needless to say, it’s essential viewing for practitioners.