Women Know: The Downward Dog Is Good for You

November 23, 2012 by  
Filed under Yoga Articles

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Shiva Rea strikes a pose in the documentary “Yogawoman.”

To those of us unschooled in its ancient lineage and myriad applications, yoga has always seemed like something we should really get around to doing. “Yogawoman,” directed by the sisters Kate Clere McIntyre and Saraswati Clere, presents a range of testimonials about this healthful practice, amid a mood of contentment and uplift (with a dash of downward dog). The film’s firm, warm embrace is a better fit for the already converted, particularly the many women who have adopted yoga.

Adept hands at the yoga arts recount their Damascus moments or generally their comfort in an unjudging unit of centered bodies. There are leading practitioners, cancer survivors, mothers, delinquent teenagers, newly flexible Nairobians. But the film often evokes a yoga video with its statements about feeling in harmony with oneself, and its stories mostly turn on the hard-to-dispute proposition that yoga is relaxing and therapeutic.

“Yogawoman,” with narration enunciated by the actress and yogini Annette Bening, begins with an intriguing premise: yoga, historically a practice dominated by men in India, now occupies a mat-carrying slot on women’s schedules the world over. That idea remains anthemic more than analyzed, and doing yoga proves more appealing than watching a film promote it.

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