Review of Enlighten Up! Yoga Documentary

A friend suggested I watch Enlighten Up!, a documentary on yoga and how it transforms your life. In essence, filmmaker Kate Churchill created a documentary that takes place all over the world in famous yoga studios following a yoga skeptic, Nick Rosen, and cataloging his experiences with enlightenment and spirituality. Seeing how I have practiced yoga for over 10 years, I was curious to see the outcome of Nick’s experiment with finding out if enlightenment can be discovered through the practice of yoga asanas.

One of my favorite scenes takes place towards the end of the documentary, when Nick Rosen visits Guru Saran Ananda, or the Guru of the Blissful Refuge, in India to help answer his question about what could make him more spiritual. Swami Ji tells him that it’s not important what you do, but why you do it. This statement resonates with me and my practice because so often we look at the behavior as the problem, rather than the desire to dig deeper and uncover the underlying meaning behind the behavior. Our feelings drive our motivations and, consequently, our behavior. Why are you here? And, I don’t mean why are you here reading this blog. What is your purpose in life? For instance, considering a move or job change is not about about the change itself, but, more importantly, about why you are making the change.

Finally, Swami Ji said, “Be yourself. Be your true self … Try to get rid of what you are not, and you are unnecessarily wearing on yourself.” A very poignant statement that I take to mean stop doing what is not making you happy. One of my closest friends always says, “Do what you want to do, and see what happens.” Breaking unhealthy patterns can be difficult, and Nick Rosen’s whole task in this documentary is finding out if yoga can be one of those tools to enlightenment.

As the title suggests, the filmmaker presents a global perspective on yoga in a light and welcomed sense of humor. Enlighten Up! is worth the watch if only for the interviews of the leading yoga instructors and cinematography. Perhaps this documentary will motivate you to try yoga and see for yourself.

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