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The Independent Critic

Arun Achappa, Matthew Clark, Professor Devaki
Diego Barazza
55 Mins.
Gaiam (DVD/VOD)

 "Part & Parcel" Offers a Glimpse Into the Essence of Yoga 

Part & Parcel a Yoga Documentary Satsang is an intelligent and creative full-length documentary that offers a personal glimpse inside the essence of yoga as shared through intimate conversations with unique characters who have dedicated their lives to the study and practice of yoga in different forms.

Now then, I must confess that I have never tried yoga. In fact, I'll even be more honest and say that I find it intimidating. While I practice meditation and have committed much of my life to spiritual discipline, there's something about relaxing into one's physical being that is both fascinating and downright frightening for this paraplegic/double amputee with spina bifida.

So, it was with great interest and curiosity that I found myself watching Diego Barazza's nicely constructed documentary, a film that has already been picked up by Gaiam here in the U.S. for a DVD/VOD release and a film that should please both those who study/practice yoga and those who consider themselves merely curious.

Barazza begins by approaching the basic questions - Is yoga a religion? Is it a fitness fad? Is it a scientific discipline? What exactly is it? I mean, seriously, it sure seems to unnerve some Christians, but why?

Along the road to discovery, Barazza travels some mighty interesting paths from taking part in the practice of the most traditional Sri Patanjala Yogashala temple in Mysore to a trip to the world's first surfing ashram and the yoga of devotion, Bhakti Yoga. Barazza also explores the academics of yoga, from the pioneering academics in Britain to an Indian Swami living in a modern cave. Along the way, Barazza and his group of intriguing characters share insights beyond what most Americans know about yoga, myself included, and transcends the stereotype into a fascinating contrast of the aspects of contemporary and millenary practices.

Part & Parcel is, for the most part, a straightforward documentary that may prove to be a tad confusing to the novice with open usage of terminology that will likely not be understood by those unfamiliar with the practice of yoga. Yet, Barazza presents it in such a way that you'll probably do exactly what I did and leave your viewing to begin looking up for even more information and enlightenment.

Perhaps, you'll even find yoga has become less of a curiosity and more of an interest. For more information, visit the film's website linked to in the credits.

Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic