A new film, AWAKE: The Life of Yogananda, following the life and impact of Paramahansa Yogananda will be hitting the theaters this October. Known as a spiritual figure, Yogananda is credited for introducing millions of westerners to the teachings of meditation and Kriya Yoga in the 1920s and 30s and beyond. You may recognize the name from Yogananda’s pivotal book, Autobiography of a Yogi, which has sold over four million copies and has been translated into 34 different languages. Ask any group of yoga practitioners and many will tell you that that book has changed their lives. One Steve Jobs had famously been a fan, downloading the spiritual book onto his iPad and eventually gifting it to attendees of his memorial service, which he had planned himself before he passed.
More about AWAKE via the film’s website:
Filmed over three years with the participation of 30 countries around the world, the documentary examines the world of yoga, modern and ancient, east and west and explores why millions today have turned their attention inwards, bucking the limitations of the material world in pursuit of self-realization.
Archival material from the life of Yogananda (who died in 1952) creates a spine for the narrative, but the film stretches the dimensions of a standard biography. The footage includes stylized interviews, metaphoric imagery and recreations, taking us from holy pilgrimages in India to Harvard’s Divinity School and its cutting-edge physics labs, from the Center for Science and Spirituality at the University of Pennsylvania to the Chopra Center in Carlsbad, California. By evoking the journey of the soul as it pushes its way through the oppression of the human ego and delusion of the material world, the film creates an experiential immersion into the unseen realms. AWAKE is ultimately the story of humanity itself: the universal struggle of all beings to free themselves from suffering and to seek lasting happiness.
Screenings of the film are currently scheduled in October for several cities across the country. NYC will have its theatrical run October 10-16 at the Village East Cinema and a special Q&A session (not with Yogananda, of course) will be held after the 7:40pm screening on October 14 hosted by YogaCityNYC. Get your tickets here.
Watch the trailer below.