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Y Yoga Movie
By Michelle Morgan

On 13th September 2001, film-maker Arthur Klein received an email from a friend of a friend, who had escaped the collapse of World Trade Center Tower One, and had decided to put his feelings into words.  The email was poignant, heart-felt and amazing, and after forwarding it onto some friends, Arthur left his desk in the middle of the day, and walked out into the Santa Monica sun.

“I left the office in my street clothing and went to a 1:30pm yoga class around the corner from work”, remembers Arthur.  “It seemed like a far better idea to regain a sense of peace and wellbeing, instead of going to the mall and shop or go on vacation as the American leadership advised.  The teacher was Ashley Turner and her words were magic… I went to that class every day for many months after that…”

Walking into the yoga class that day, literally changed not only Arthur’s life but his career too.  Suddenly, going to a class every day was not only important but essential, and it wasn’t long before the idea of a yoga-based film began to take hold: “After a year of practicing yoga every day two of my teachers, who were aware that I was a filmmaker, asked me to capture what was going on in our community.”  Little did Arthur know that when he accepted the challenge of finding out why people practice yoga, his journey would take him around the world and take some six years to complete.

The documentary that Arthur ultimately made, ‘Y Yoga Movie’ is not just a film about yoga; it is also an invitation to a better life; a journey into how and why yoga affects so many people and in so many ways.  It is a celebration of yoga, and during the long journey Arthur met, interviewed and studied with many different yoga teachers, including Shiva Rae, Erich Schiffmann, Ally Hamilton and Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa.  He filmed on the beach, in a charter school in South Central Los Angeles, and everywhere in-between.  He even sent his camera equipment to Iraq in the arms of yoga teacher/wrestler Diamond Dallas Page, who was teaching American soldiers there at the time.

“I wanted to go to Iraq”, says Arthur, “but the United States Government refused my request.  So instead, I loaned Diamond Dallas Page one of my video cameras and I taught him how to use it.  I was pleasantly amazed at just how great, although shaky, the footage was.”

Of course the making of ‘Y Yoga Movie’ changed Arthur’s life completely and he now practices every day.  He says: “Yoga and meditation is now integral to every breath I take and every move I make, to use a Sting lyric out of context.  This practice makes life the most it can be in every moment.  It has changed everything about me in every way.  It affects me on an atomic cellular level, as well as an omniscient observer of myself in the motion of life, light and love for my very conscious existence!  It makes everything so much more meaningful.”

Luckily for Arthur, the making of the movie meant that he could explore his own practice in much more detail than normal, and as a result he ended up studying with many different teachers, and at dozens of yoga studios.
He says, “I have had the opportunity and passionate desire to immerse in many different types of practice; everything from Ashtanga Yoga, Power Yoga, Anasara Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Ghurmuk Kuhndalini Yoga, Raja Vipassana, Karma, and Prana Yama.  Now I split the week between Erich Schiffmann (the author of the book Move into Stillness) and Bryan Kest as my main stay… I also do my own personal practice, as well as I try to support all the teachers who invite me to be in their classes.”

Some of the more inspiring ‘characters’ in ‘Y Yoga Movie’, are the children of a charter school in South Central Los Angeles, home of the LA riots in the early 1990s.  Filming in the school was a big experience for Arthur, who remembers, “I had the opportunity to take a class with these second graders a few weeks earlier and it was so much fun.”

There wasn’t enough time for Arthur to set up full interviews with the children, so it was a case of lining them up and asking ‘How do you feel when you practice?’  The children didn’t let him down with their answers, and one little boy stood out when he replied, “It makes me into a whole new person…”

Another young man who made a huge impression was Andre, a former gang member, who had found strength thanks to yoga and his teacher Hala Khouri.  Arthur kept in touch with the young student, who has just graduated from Santa Monica Community College with a two-year degree, and is now enrolled in a four-year course.  Proof, if it was needed, that yoga can absolutely heal your life.

And as a student himself, what was the biggest thing Arthur learnt whilst filming ‘Y Yoga Movie’?  He thinks for a moment and then replies, “Inhale possibility, exhale fear and be in the cosmic beautiful moment of every breath… The only finite thing in each of our lives is the number of breaths left in our experience and journey through this life, because as Carl Sagan said, we are stardust observing starlight.”

For more information on Arthur Klein, his workshops and the ‘Y Yoga Movie’, please visit www.YYogaMovie.com

Michelle Morgan Bio:

Michelle Morgan is an author, biographer and columnist who lives with her husband and daughter in Northamptonshire, England. She is the author of ‘Marilyn Monroe: Private and Undisclosed’ and the forthcoming ‘A Brief Guide to Marilyn Monroe’ which will be published by Constable in the UK and Skyhorse in the USA. Michelle writes frequently for magazines and is currently writing a novel. View her webpage at www.Michelle-Morgan.blogspot.com

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COMMENT (1) | enlightenment, self realization, spiritual
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Comments

One Response to “Y Yoga Movie”

  1. Arthur Klein
    April 8th, 2012 @ 12:40 pm

    Hi Michelle,

    Thank you so much for writing this article… I still very much look forward to coming cross “the pond” and perhaps sharing some yoga and meditation instruction soon… Currently i spend most of my time here in Santa Monica California Sharing Yoga & Meditation at my mentors studio, Bryan Kest’s Santa Monica Power Yoga. http://akosm.com/smpy

    Also working on new film project too…

    in Gratitude,
    arthur

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