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LA YOGA, November/December 2004

Review by Amit Gotti

This is everything, it's all here. This is the moving image encyclopedia of yoga. Everything the left side of the brain ever wanted to know about yoga is clearly expressed by the world's leading experts and beautifully illustrated though images of ancient texts and artifacts, archive film footage, the sights and sounds of India and yoga practitioners from both the east and west.

The DVD set was written, directed and produced by Gita Desai, from her home base in Connecticut . She and her production team traveled the world spending considerable time in India. Their mission: to bring to the west what Gita calls "the real story of yoga. I wanted to bring that story to as many people as possible in a beautiful way." And indeed she has.

There are two discs here with over 3 hours of video. The first disc gives us the background, the meaning, branches, philosophy and the people behind the practice of yoga - how yoga came to the west and biographies of the masters. We learn about Bhakti yoga, Karma yoga, Raja yoga, Tantra yoga and Hatha yoga.

Disc two however is where yoga not only begins to live for us, but we see the real value of yoga in everyday life, and especially in health and medicine. This is yoga as therapy. This is yoga applied to health and wellness.

Jon Kabat-Zinn speaks at length and other western physicians like Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. Vasant Lad, Dr. Timothy McCall, and Dr. Herbert Benson tell us how they are using yoga as an adjunct to the practice of western medicine. We learn about yoga and AIDS, stress and heart disease. We learn how yoga teaches us through the mind to first own up to our own sense of limitations. We learn how to love our body back to life. The body is a temple, a dwelling place of god where we can have some control over our disease and our recovery.

All in all there are a lot of talking heads here, but they don't really bother us because there is so much to talk about; and these commentators express themselves in such an illuminating way, people like: Georg Feuerstein, Krishna Das, Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, Swami Sivananda, Dr. Martina Ziska, and others.

The music is especially delightful throughout the DVD set which comes with an especially helpful Directory of Contacts for those who want more information. I'm not sure there is any more information to get, however.

By the end of the 2 disc video viewers have had a complete introductory course in yoga, even longtime yoga practitioners will have a wider perspective on the practice.

Printed with permission of LA YOGA. www.layogamagazine.com

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2 DVD Set
Running Time: 3 hrs. 15 min.

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