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Enlighten Up!

  • Film
  • 4 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

A longtime true believer in yoga’s power to enlighten, filmmaker Kate Churchill skips the talking-heads-travelogue route in favor of a project: If yoga can transform anyone, what better way to prove it than by immersing a nonbeliever in an intensive course? Enter Nick Rosen, a fit, photogenic journalist willing to give it a go. For six months, Churchill shot while Rosen took classes with gurus, flakes, glorified fitness coaches and spiritual seekers from New York to Mysore, India. His guides include the pugnacious B.K.S. Iyengar, one of the fathers of modern yoga practice; pro wrestler Diamond Dallas Page, who teaches “yoga for regular guys”; and Dr. Madan Kataria, the “guru of giggling,” whose students laugh their way to happiness.  

But what makes Enlighten Up! really interesting is the behind-the-scenes dynamic between Rosen and Churchill. The former readily concedes that yoga is a great workout yet resists its spiritual component, and you can hear Churchill’s increasing frustration with his skepticism. She’s also seeing that Rosen is doing his damnedest not to admit that months of classes might be why he’s suddenly thinking deeply about his relationship with his mother. Still, the film doesn’t force an artificial resolution on their battle of wills, which may be the most enlightened thing about it.

Written by Maitland McDonagh

Cast and crew

  • Director:Kate Churchill
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