Enlighten Up!, Kate Churchill's breezy documentary, tastes the 31 flavors of yoga practice. Its subject is Nick Rosen, an affable skeptic who appreciates how yoga concentrates him mentally and physically, but very much doubts that the Downward Dog is the path to spiritual attainment.
Through her own practice, Churchill believes in the transformative powers of yoga. She is certain that by introducing Rosen to various gurus, one will unlock this agnostic and find a believer. The tension between Churchill's certainty and Rosen's resistance provides the film with its mostly comic conflict. Even Churchill has to laugh as she looks up at the awning of a "Yoga Core Fusion Spa" and wonders who is selling what to whom.
Churchill's travelogue follows Nick to New York, Los Angeles, Hawaii, and India, where he works with and interviews teachers. Some are New Age-y. Others Old Shaman-y. And yet others, like retired wrestler Dallas Page, who runs a "Yoga for Regular Guys" class in L.A., are cheerful hucksters flogging the "T&A" rather than "namaste" benefits of yoga practice.
When Nick encounters B.K.S. Iyengar, the legendary guruji and one of the foremost figures of yoga, Churchill's mostly lightweight film radiates some spiritual light. Her Yoga for Dummies has a breakthrough moment or two.EndText