Five years ago Jeanne and Tom Hagerty approached me to make a movie about yoga. They had recently honeymooned in Hawaii where they met an unusual yogi, Norman Allen. That meeting not only changed their entire trip, but also sparked the idea to dig deeper into the practice of yoga and explore where it could lead someone.
16.5 million Americans practice yoga today; yoga has become a multi-billion dollar industry. Most Americans experience yoga at a local studio for a 90-minute class in any number of styles. For some people it is a workout, for others it is a spiritual path and for others it is a great business.
I wanted to capture an experience of finding an “enlightened yogi”, although I wasn’t certain what that meant. It’s a funny thing about enlightenment, if you never define it, you can spend your whole life searching for it, when it might be right in front of you.
When Nick Rosen agreed to participate, I had no idea what I was getting myself into, and perhaps the same could be true for him. It was idealistic, but I really believed that with the right person, and enough time we could cut through the commercialism of the yoga industry and discover a practice or a teacher that could have a profound impact on Nick and subsequently me.
Nick and I did meet some amazing teachers, as well as some questionable ones. Significant tension unfolded between us, something I had not expected nor ever planned to include in the story. Ultimately, this search became a story about two people trying to find happiness and realizing they need to do it themselves. For me, it was a practice of letting go of my expectations, and trying, to the best of my ability, to be truthful on all fronts. These are fundamental lessons in yoga that I learned not on the mat, or in the field but in a dark edit room and in the end, Nick was my greatest teacher.
December 21, 2008