Thursday, March 01, 2012

Der atmende Gott. The breathing God.

I saw the movie "Der atmende Gott". A German film maker traveled to India to the origins of yoga. He interviewed P.Jois, Iyengar, Desikachar (a son of Krichnamacharya), 2 daughters of Krichnamacharya and others about yoga and Krichnamacharya, who is considered as the grandfather of yoga.

Why yoga? This question was asked different times. Let me summarize what I remember.
1. It's good for the health
2. It betters the thoughts, it makes courageous.
3. It's a concentration exercise. It improves the ability to learn therefore. Breath and movement are coordinated. For those who study it's a good support.

Yoga is for the body, for the mind, for the soul.

The asanas help to concentrate. 
Concentration shall be my focus today. A practice also looks so much better when a yogi/yogini is not distracted by anything. One can see it.

B.K.S. Iyengar is such a primary rock. He fascinates me. He mentioned 2 reasons why he sticked to yoga, 2 reasons that motivated him and kept his passion over the decades:
1. Yoga was belittled in India,
2. He was considered as not suitable for yoga.

One more time I see that it can be an advantage when a yogini/yogi has it difficult on the mat. Iyengar was weak and had back pain. P. Jois was the one, who was considered much more talented. B.K.S. Iyengar, over 93 years old now is still practicing yoga every day for hours. P. Jois stopped practicing when he was in the middle of his life. He focused on teaching. To be honest this disappointed me that he stopped practicing yoga so early. But I also see one cannot do everything. I only wanted to draw the attention to the fact that it needn't to be a disadvantage if one has it difficulties. It can provoke perseverance.

- The film maker an absolute beginner in yoga was taught (in the movie) the sun salutations by P. Jois. The movie was produced before P. Jois death.
- B.K.S. Iyengar showed him the headstand in one session. It became clear that B.K.S. Iyengar exactly knows what to do in order to balance. Yes, if taught correctly a headstand can be learned in one session.

Yoga is holistic, B.K.S. Iyengar said. Every cell is exercised. Soccer, baseball, running whatever sports one likes to do, only exercises  parts of the body, not the whole body equally. This is indeed not the case in yoga. Not even the  toes are forgotten. In Janu sirsasana C the toes are challenged, just to mention an example. This makes yoga so unique.

B.K.S. is surely a strict teacher. Lol. A woman should do a twist. He helped her. She seemed to be shy, she even seemed to be a bit afraid of him. He: dont't tremble. Then he jolted her shoulders.
A man should fold his mat on the floor. He must have done it not in a way B.K.S. Iyengar expected it. Then Iyengar took the mat and hit the man with the mat. Not so hard, but it was a gesture that showed a certain temperament. Hahaha........

Krichnamacharya was a man of knowledge. He estimated knowledge much higher than possession. His one daughter said that he thought: things can taken away from you, not so knowledge.
Krichnamacharya taught his wife and his daughters. This was indeed a revolution and we women profit from it till now.
A very strict man he must have been. Talented young yogis ran away from him. Out of fear. He seemed to have moods. :)

Krichnamacharya was the one who knew about scriptures that described the Ashtanga series. He forwarded this knowledge to P. Jois. This was also what P. Jois said in the movie.

P.Jois, B.K.S Iyengar, Krichnamacharyas wife, his children were all relatives and he taught them individually. Indra Devi was the first Western woman who was taught yoga by him. Krichnamacharya wanted to make yoga available for everybody. Also in India yoga was taught only to chosen groups.

Academics were taught a special form of yoga. Instead of counting or focusing on the breath, they should recite mantras when they held the asanas.

If you have a chance to see this movie "Der atmende Gott" watch it. The film maker has collected old movie documents. It's very rare to see this.

I enjoyed to see all the places where I've been in India: the new shala in Gokulam, the old shala in Mysore, the shala where B.K.S. Iyengar and P. Jois learned yoga. Yeah, I think it was Lino Miele who was practicing on stage in the shala in Gokulam during one scene.

If you're a lover of yoga, you'll love this movie. 

(Sorry this post is more a collection of scenes that I remember not a well written review.I simply didn't like to postpone writing about this movie again.)


tanya said...

can you in any way help me in getting the DVD copy of this movie with English sub titles ( if possible)at my cost and expense.I am prepared to send the money in advance if so required.

Ursula said...

You won't have issues that it's a German movie as all the interviews are in English (German and Indian accent,lol).

I shall see what I can do for you. Give me some time, please. You'll love this movie.

gorangosho said...

You look stunning:)!

Ursula said...

Thank you....:)

Bettina said...

I would rather say Patthabi Jois stopped practicing asana. I don't think that he ever stopped practicing yoga. There are different forms of yoga practice and the very subtle ones cannot be observed from the outside. Just my opinion.

Anonymous said...

I will (of course) check out purchasing this movie by using the Amazon link on your blog site (wink wink). I try to do shopping through your blog Amazon link so you may feel some benefit for all the energy you put in your absolutely marvelous inspiring blog, dear U...

Ursula said...

Thank you Debb.
I see it as an appreciation when you buy your amazon things via my blog. Thank you very much.
You'll love this film.

Quentin said...

I agree. Jois continued yoga practice, just did not do asanas ever with the class. When he retired he began to teach yoga at his shall for a small fee. As the story goes, he had a bicycle accident and had to quit the asana daily practice. As for myself I enjoy practicing with the class (community center). But at Ashtanga yoga studios the better teachers lead the class by counting and walking thru the class giving pointers as each movement is counted with exhale and inhale. It is such an awesome experience to see Ashtanga yoga in a Shala devoted to yoga as taught by Sri P Jois.

Globie said...

Hi Ursula,

I would like to get a copy of this film, did you see it at the cinema or on a DVD? If a DVD is available let me know.

Looks like I may be going to Berlin :-)

Ursula said...

Hi Kevin,
I saw it in the cinema.

I did some research as an Indian friend loves to see this movie, too, but I couldn't find a DVD.
Perhaps one has to wait a bit, I have no clue.

Berlin is fantastic. My beloved city. I'll learn when exactly you'll be there. Berlin means fun, always. :)How nice to know you'll be there again.

Anonymous said...

I have tried to find this documentary DVD online also, but to no avail. Any tips where to find?

Ursula said...

Dear Debb, I think they sell it after some time, when people don't go to the cinema anymore. Some patience is needed, I fear.

Grimmly said...

Nice review Ursula, looking forward to seeing this. Ursula I'm sure you've seen the old 1938 film footage of Krishnamacharya, do you think the new movie had any unseen footage of K from the same period. I'm sure the movie mentioned rare unseen footage of Krishnamacharya.

Lateral Spin said...

The DVD will be available on 25 September 2012 from Link

Ursula said...

Thank you very much for the info, Lateral Spin.

I posted it already on my yoga facebook page, as some friends were interested in the video.