For a few people, yoga is no more than the physical postures practiced on the mat in the pursuit of a healthier, more flexible body – and that is fine. But for many the practice of yoga extends way beyond the physical postures into a more meaningful way of living, which becomes a life long journey of self-discovery. There are a gazillion books and texts I could refer you to for a deeper understanding of the principles of yoga off the mat (maybe for a later blog post), but for a more digestible taste of how to live a more conscious, connected and compassionate life, here are my top 5 inspiring & thought provoking docos.
N.B. *Indicates it is available on Netflix.
1. The Connection – www.theconnection.tv
The Connection is a film about how frontier research is proving that there is a direct connection between your mind and your health. It is estimated that 80% of deaths in the Western world are now stress related. This film shows that we can take back control of our health, and that we can counter the harmful affects of stress with an equally powerful relaxation response triggered through specific techniques such as meditation.
More on this topic in my blog post Mindfulness Matters: The simple way to a healthier, happier life.
2. Cowspiracy* - www.cowspiracy.com
After many years as an aspiring vegetarian and pseudo environmentalist, this is the film that inspired me to finally make the leap. If you are concerned about the environment, about the power play between industry and government, and about the humane treatment of all living beings, this is a must-see documentary that could change your life, and the world.
Read more about my own journey and discoveries in my previous blog post Conscious Consumerism: To eat meat, or not to eat meat?
3. Awake - www.awaketheyoganandamovie.com
Awake is the fascinating biography of Yogananda, the young Hindu Swami who brought yoga and meditation to the West in the 1920s. Featuring interviews with Ravi Shankar, George Harrison & Deepak Chopra the film examines the world of yoga, modern and ancient, east and west and explores why millions today have turned their attention inwards, bucking the limitations of the material world in pursuit of self-realization.
4. Minimalism* - www.minimalismfilm.com
The hot topic of the moment, Minimalism is a film about having it all, and giving it all away. We are programmed to strive for more; to climb the corporate ladder, to buy more stuff, to accumulate more wealth. But are we any happier? Or is materialism making us miserable? Discover how de-cluttering your life and rejecting mindless consumerism can bring you more joy & freedom, and reduce your environmental footprint.
For more on this topic visit my blog post Making the Connection: The Mind & Materialism.
5. Happy* - www.thehappymovie.com
Happy takes us on a journey around the world in search of the secret to our most valued emotion. Spoiler alert – you can’t buy it! But not surprisingly, there’s a lot you can do to become happier, even in the direst of circumstances. Recurring themes from many of the previous documentaries mentioned above re-appear in this delightful movie worth watching with the whole family.
For my own take on how to be truly happy, check out my blog post from August 2016, The Happiness Blog.
I'd love to hear your feedback on these and any other recommendations you have. Enjoy!