Breath Of The Gods

Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Breath Of The Gods Mean?

“Breath of the Gods” is a documentary about the origins of modern Hatha yoga. Released in 2012, the film focuses on the teachings and life of Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, who developed in the early 20th century what we know today as modern yoga. Hatha yoga is the physical practice of yoga asanas and what much of the Western world thinks of as yoga.

The film was produced by a German production company, PARS Media, with backing from the German Federal Film Fund. It weaves old footage and photographs with interviews of Krishnamacharya’s former pupils and the personal journey of the film’s director, Jan Schmidt-Garre.


Yogapedia Explains Breath Of The Gods

The ancient practice of yoga includes different paths to enlightenment and union with the universal Self, or Brahman. By the time Krishnamacharya was born in 1888, physical yoga had nearly disappeared in India. British colonial rule and values relegated Hatha yoga to the status of acrobatics practiced by what were viewed as scam artists. The Krishnamacharya-lead revival and modernization of physical yoga is the subject of “Breath of the Gods.”

Through his own eyes, Schmidt-Garre explores the life and teachings of Krishnamacharya. The new asanas that he developed with the revival of Hatha yoga directly led to the yoga boom of today. Historical footage shows Krishnamacharya demonstrating sequences of the faster, more intense asanas that he developed. He believed that yoga was both a spiritual practice and a way to heal physically. His teachings were based on Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras and the Yoga Yajnavalkya. A devoted Vaishnav Hindu, he nevertheless respected other faiths and believed that yoga had a place for followers of all religions and non-believers.

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