Renew your love of yoga

By Joanna Tovia

Wish you were motivated enough to practice yoga daily? Joanna Tovia found the inspiration she needed in a moving documentary. MiNDFOOD Reports.

Once a passionate yoga devotee, I was keen to get back on the mat and carve out a niche of time just for me. I missed the inner-calm that came with yoga, that stillness of mind. I remembered starting my days with a yoga class that pushed me to my limits but left me on a high and energized for days afterwards. And I missed that window of bliss that was free of planning, striving and rushing.

Somehow, over the years, the gaps between twists, handstands and backbends had stretched from days to months and life’s busyness had taken over. The yoga corner I’d set up on January 1 patiently waited for me to embrace with joyful commitment my daily yoga practice. Before I could commit, though, I needed a kickstart, something that would remind me why I loved yoga, what it could do for me and why I should make it a priority.

Ask and you shall receive … the kickstart I needed came when a friend invited me at the last minute to see the premiere of Yogawoman, a powerful documentary about the phenomenon of yoga and how women across the world are being connected and empowered by this ancient discipline. Made by Australian producer/director Kate Clere McIntyre (and self-funded and distributed), Yogawoman’s crew spent two and a half years travelling to places as diverse as the frantic streets of New York City and the slums of Kenya to share the inspirational tales of some of the millions of women who have embraced yoga and transformed their lives, some becoming teachers and passing on their wisdom along the way.

There is much to be taken away from this film. As it unfolds, we see how the busiest of women manage to integrate yoga into their busy days and it is this that inspires me the most.

One of my favourite scenes is a woman who has laid out her mat in her lounge room alongside her young son’s trainset, which takes up much of the room. She moves without resentment from a restorative yoga pose to playing chugga-chugga-choo-choo alongside her son, and back again. Another mother lays out her mat in the darkness of her children’s bedroom once they are asleep and listens to their quiet breathing as she moves from pose to peaceful pose.

How could I not leave this film inspired to make yoga part of my daily life? My attic yoga space has become my haven, whether in the dark at 4am or buzzing with the chatter and laughter of children and their friends. Where once I would have waited for perfect peace and quiet before attempting a yoga practice, now I smile as my two-year-old crawls underneath my downward dog again and again, yelling “tunnel!” each time. That inner-calm and energy I craved is mine again.

Australian producer/director Clere Mcintyre says I am not alone when I tell her of my renewed inspiration after seeing the film. Tweets, emails, Facebook posts and phone calls from countries as far away as Portugal, Germany, Hungary, the US and Japan have revealed how the film has moved many women to tears and  reconnected them with their love of yoga.

“Your mat can be at the end of your bed, in the lounge room or down at the local park,” Clere McIntyre says, adding that just 10 minutes of yoga a day is enough to access all the health and wellbeing benefits that it offers.

Yogawoman DVDs can be bought online ($24.95) and, in the true spirit of yoga, group viewings with your friends or local community can be arranged at no extra cost at


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