yet another yoga documentary (this time, it’s the beautiful yoga people)


Yoga documentaries are popping up at the rate of yoga studios in gentrified urban neighbourhoods. I actually can’t even keep up with them. Why We Breathe, quietly released upon the world today, is another addition to the ever-growing roster.

The slick production quizzes a homogeneous selection of popular American teachers, including Kathryn Budig, Briohny Smyth, Dice Iida-Klein and Tiffany Cruikshank about their practices. The film asks probing questions like, Why do you do yoga? Why keep doing it? Why do you love it?

Forget that there are teachers on this continent who have been practicing and teaching longer, or who have studied with modern legends, or who are doing socially engaged work with diverse populations. What matters is what the beautiful teachers are saying and doing.

See the trailer below and watch the full 50-minute documentary here.


  1. Time capsule fodder. In 2050 A.D., mellow 20th Century throwback yoga will be all the rage again, and the people will be scratching their heads–not usually standing on them, I might add–at all this fetishism …

  2. ummm… no thanks

    I will be watching this one soon, though!

  3. I will be watching soon and I say if these documentaries give way to more people try yoga then that’s a very positive thing.

  4. sigh. i agree 100% roseanne. listening to that trailer and watching some buff man go through fancy postures was laughable.

    i am much more interested in hearing and reading about how yoga has helped the marginalized, those with mental illness, those with illness.

    it is lovely that these (popular) American yoga teachers are passionate about their practice. However, we must admit that this “documentary” was filmed in the centre of our North American social context where all that is traditionally beautiful, upper class, wealthy and popular automatically deserves to be heard.

    It’s a bit embarrassing. I would wish they would have chosen to invest their time and energy (and passion for yoga) for more productive and meaningful endeavours.

  5. Thanks, Roseanne. I like knowing I can subscribe to your blog and generally keep up to date.


  6. Who wants to bet that this film was produced by some yoga enthusiast/aspiring film maker who decided they had “the perfect project” which stared a few of their friends? Let’s throw in a bunch of attractive yoga instructors, with perfect bodies, post-modern folk music, lots of beach scenes, muscles rippling, and these instructors talking about why they got into yoga in the first place, trying to come oh-so-hard as “spiritual” when all that comes through is their own obvious narcissism?

    Q: Why We Breath?
    A: Because we need oxygen. Duh.

    • I am old and sick now. I need to be an air glutton.

      That could only be gotten through straight cardio, not yoga.

      I must breathe deeper and faster both at the same time, than many people may naturally breathe.

      Let’s talk about physiological breathing for a change …

      February being Heart Month, and all …

  7. Oh, I finally saw the whole documentary.

    It seemed a litany of talking heads. All the gymnastic-style yogis were talking about attracting new people to yoga. That by dint of their photographic and video displays nobody should think that they are too old, too stiff, too sick to attempt yoga. Particularly Kathryn Budig stating, that (she) has the yoga that is right for (her) … and let people have the yoga that is right for THEM.

    Hypocrisy much?

    A review of her DVD from Amazon (sorry if I’d reposted it in your blog before) states:

    “Unfortunately, it’s yoga like this that is why I switched from vinyasa based yoga to kundalini yoga. I have been practicing yoga for 14 years, and when I began I loved sun salutations. The way most yoga is oriented around them and emphasizes coming into them between every pose eventually dampened my enthusiasm.

    “Nonetheless, I was looking for a DVD to help with arm strength, and while this definitely could fit the bill, I really disliked the overall vibe of the disc. The background music borders on muzak, and the routine winds up feeling too rushed, at the expensive of some important stuff. For one, alignment is really given the blow off, and this isn’t good as I wound up with a really painful neck after doing the intermediate practice. Second, once you come down into savasana the disc ends and goes into the very unrelaxing menu music. I hate when discs just .. stop when you’re doing what’s supposed to be one of the most important poses. I did the intermediate workout because 25 minutes is much shorter than I’d like to do. However, I found myself really frustrated. It felt like Kathryn spent the entire routine wishing she was doing handstand, and nudging the rest of us to join her. I didn’t feel comfortable doing a lot of these high hops without someone to check my posture (and as I thought- ouch afterwards).”