This Australian radio documentary takes a look at the global “yoga revival” and the growing trend to reclaim the spirituality of yoga. Apparently, yoga is as popular in Australia as it is in the rest of the Western world, with more people doing yoga than dancing, fishing, doing martial arts and playing Aussie rules football (according to a 2006 survey).
Featured on Encounter, an acclaimed ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) series which looks at the connections between religion and life, the program is thoughtful and well-researched. It gives an explanation of different styles and an introduction to some of the key texts (Bhagavad Gita, Yoga Sutras), while discussing the authenticity debates within the yoga world and acknowledging how the practice is being repackaged to be relevant to post-modern culture. The program provides a non-North American perspective on yoga, yet there is a lot of airtime given to Jivamukti, a yoga style developed in the US, and LA/Berlin-based kirtan artist, Dave Stringer. There are also some interesting interviews with leading Australian yoga teachers and studio owners.
In the end, the doc acknowledges the complexity and potential of yoga in the West, describing it as a “post-modern spirituality in a post-Christian age.”
Best quote: “People are always surprised to learn that yoga and kirtan are continuing to reinvent themselves and continuing to innovate. Did I miss the handout here? Are we supposed to put this under glass? Am I supposed to be an Indian from the 15th century? I can’t!” ~ Dave Stringer