A new documentary film takes a look at yoga and its influence on the modern world. (Note: That sentence feels like a broken record after the multitude of the yogamentaries blossoming out of the woodwork the past few years, no?) Presented by Doc & Roll, this particular film features the likes of Senior Iyengar teacher Lisa Walford, America’s favorite yoga instructor Elena Brower and meditative guru Alan Finger along with a focus on nonprofits like the Prison Yoga Project.
And that’s pretty much all we know about it from the teaser, besides that it was created and uploaded by filmmaker/director/photographer Stephane Haskell and it’s called Yoga: The Ultimate Freedom. Not to be confused with the original BKS Iyengar flick The Ultimate Freedom, Yoga from 1976.
We invite you to watch both the teaser and the classic below. The second one’s longer, but we highly recommend it.
B.K.S. Iyengar – The Ultimate Freedom Yoga 
Poster via Intentblog.
Typical cloying YA people trying to ride on coattails of a master with inferior yoga styles and calling it all “yoga”. The medical community is also taking notice of yoga injuries caused by poorly trained teachers too. Betcha won’t see that in the film.
When does it come out? Where can we watch it?
What troubles me about their advertisement/poster is the juxtaposition of the commodified/incarcerated male body above the fetishized/sexualized female body. It’s perverse, and unfortunately probably quite titillating to a certain segment of the yoga community (e.g., the “cloying” sorts referred to above, and the tourists-of-pain who get a buzz from gazing at either–or both–the commodified male and the sexualized female).
Yoga isn’t porn, nobody’s getting a buzz, it doesn’t sell to men, it sells to women who want to get skinnyfat and feel that they’re getting some international culture in while they do it.
Wrong. Read even someone like Foucault’s *Madness and Civilization* (even in the first chapter) and it describes how the wealthy would go and look at the inmates in the asylums. Just a tour, for fun, to stare at the crazies. Or the text *When Italians Became White*; this, by an anthropologist, describes how it was common in turn of the last century Boston area for the the wealthy to go to the Italian slums and stare at the Italian immigrants and tut-tut over their poverty while simultaneously being entertained by it. Or currently the fad for poverty tourism in the favelas in Brazil. (I’m too lazy to find it now, but YogaDork had a link to a great article that ripped Seane Corn’s trips to Africa as being just this sort of narcissistic pursuit of the unwashed other cloaked, of course, in yogic holier-than-thou love’n’light).
Long story short: rich white folks LOVE to gaze at the savage “other”, and if it’s tattooed and caged and commodified, as is the man in the above poster, so much the better.
And as for the woman, please. Read some Judith Butler or any other scholar of film studies and feminism. Then come back and tell me that this is not a fetishized/commodified female body.
Just because it does not “sell to men” doesn’t mean that it is any less stomach-churning. And, frankly, I think that in a way it does sell to men. Just not as overtly. And, really, does it matter the gender of the target buyer? What makes my stomach turn is what’s being sold, and that there is a buyer for it, not the gender of this buyer.