Yogawoman: Film Review

Yogawoman Poster - P 2012

Yogawoman Poster - P 2012

This less than revelatory documentary keeps making the point that yoga is really, really good for women.

Annette Bening narrates the documentary extolling the virtues of yoga from a female-centric perspective.

Anyone who’s wandered into a yoga class in the last couple of decades will surely have noticed that it’s populated mainly by women. More than 80 percent, according to Yogawoman, Kate Clere McIntyre and Saraswati Clere’s less than revelatory documentary that incessantly makes the point that yoga is really, really good for you.

The film’s main thesis is that yoga, created thousands of years ago in India and practiced exclusively by men for millennia, is now a female-centric practice. Originally brought to the west by male teachers, it is now taught by a new generation of females, many of whom have become the yoga equivalent of rock stars. More than a few are interviewed here, with some --such as the gorgeous and endlessly lithe and flexible Shiva Rea -- also demonstrating various positions. That last aspect of the film should provide some compensation for male audience members dragged to the theater by their significant others.

Narrated by Annette Bening in the sort of calm, relaxed tones that would indicate that she’s probably a devotee, the film is essentially a glossy infomercial extolling the virtues of the ancient practice for nearly every physical and emotional ailment, especially as an all-purpose stress reducer. Hence the scene of a single mother working at home while taking care of a small child, who furtively squeezes in some moves whenever she gets the chance.

Featuring an endless series of talking head testimonials by teachers, scientists and doctors extolling the practice, the film does delve into such specialized areas as yoga for pre-natal women, yoga for plus-sized women and even yoga for women going through their menstrual cycle. For some viewers, the last might qualify as too much information.

Opens Oct. 19 (Shadow Distribution)

Directors/screenwriters: Kate Clere McIntyre, Saraswati Clere.

Producers: Kate Clere McIntyre, Saraswati Clere, Michael McIntyre.

Director of photography: Michael McIntyre.

Editors: Wayne Hyett, Melanie Sandford.

Composer: Jim Fish.

Not rated, 84 min.