Mysore Yoga Traditions
About the Film
Mysore Yoga Traditions is an inquiry into the cultural background of yoga in Mysore, how it has evolved, and the philosophy upon which this global practice rests. The film is an intimate glimpse into the yoga of Mysore as the elders, scholars, philosophers, yogis and spiritual leaders of the community express their views on what yoga is, its original intention, and how they feel about the way it is being taught and practiced around the world. Much has been said about yoga in Mysore by western scholars. Now it is time for the people who are the keepers of this vibrant yoga tradition to speak about how they see their own legacy.
Featured in the Film
Sri Bhashyam Iyengar: Principal of the Maharaja’s Sanskrit College in Mysore
Sri Lakshmi Thathachar: President of the Samskrti Foundation in Melukote, Renowned Sankrit Scholar
Swami Muktidananda Maharaj: Head monk at the Ramakrishna Ashram in Mysore, Spiritual Leader
Sri B.NS. Iyengar: Oldest living Ashtanga yoga master and student of Krishnamacharya
Sri Gangadhar Bhat: Professor of Nyaya at the Maharaja’s Sanskrit College, Renowned Sanskrit Scholar
Her Highness Rajamata Pramoda Devi Wadiyar (Queen of Mysore)
Sri Manju Jois, son of Ashtanga legend Pattabhi Jois
Sri MA Jayashree and Sri MA Narasimhan: Directors of the Anantha Research Foundation
Sri Jamana Giri: Cave Swami at Chamundi Hill, Renunciate and Spiritual Teacher
Sri Yamini Muthanna: Ashtanga Yoga Teacher, renowned Classical Indian Dance performer and teacher.
Sri MA Alwar: Professor of Nyaya at the Maharaja’s Sanskrit College
Sri Ajay Kumar: Ashtanga Yoga Teacher in Mysore
The Story Behind the Film
In spring of 2016, Andrew Eppler and a group of yogi friends including Joey Paz, Kelly O'Roke, Dallos Paz and Bryce Delbridge prepared to travel to Mysore, India to begin filming a documentary about the life and philosophy of their teacher, Sri BNS Iyengar, in honor of his 90th birthday.
However, just before the trip was to begin, Sri BNS Iyengar suddenly and unexpectedly changed his mind and stated flatly that he did not want a documentary made about his life and teachings.... A bit confused, they decided to go ahead with a documentary about the cultural history of the yoga that has originated in Mysore and just see what would happen.
Through a series of unexpected twists and turns and great good fortune, they were able to secure interviews with many of Mysore's most respected yogis, philosophers, scholars, and elders, including the Queen of Mysore, Rajamata Pramoda Devi Wadiyar. During their interview sessions, they were invited into the Royal Palace of Mysore, and the archives of Maharaja Sanskrit College, where they interviewed the Principal f the college and some of the top professors about their thoughts on the global explosion of yoga and how it has evolved from their community. They were able to interview some of the most knowledgeable and authoritative people, the keepers of this ancient system of yoga knowledge, and express a broader, more accurate and more complete view of yoga in Mysore than ever before. The access they were granted, and the information we were able to capture on film, is unprecedented.
The scholars, yogis and royal family of Mysore granted them more than they could have ever asked for, and were gracious enough to speak to them on camera not only about yoga philosophy, but also topics such as the role of the royal family of Mysore in the development and preservation of yoga, cultural appropriation and the role the west has played in the practice and propagation of yoga, and the crisis they are facing with a vast body of yoga literature being lost forever as the ancient palm leaf manuscripts these texts are written on decompose. If you have ever wondered where yoga came from, and especially about the background of Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga and Krishnamacharya's legacy, you have to check out this documentary!
Also happily worth noting: Before they left Mysore, Sri BNS Iyengar agreed to give an interview after all, and proceeded to give the most substantial interview about his life and teachings that they could ever have hoped for. Andrew Eppler and his team of close friends were able to open up a new dialogue with Mysore's yoga community and discover new information. The film was created largely with their own resources in Norman Oklahoma USA as a sincere contribution meant to express gratitude to the people of Mysore and to add to the knowledge of the international yoga community.