Tag Archives: TV

An insider view of a dramatic Indian religious rite: Kumbh Mela

Since I am on the topic of James Mallinson, I missed a recent showing of  Mystical Journey: Kumbh Mela on the Smithsonian Channel.  But you needn’t worry. It’s coming again on December 2 at 3:00 pm, December 3 at 2:00 pm and December 12 at 1:00 pm:

West meets East when acclaimed actor Dominic West joins his childhood friend on a pilgrimage to Northern India and the biggest religious festival in the world, Kumbh Mela. Here, 100 million Hindus have gathered to wash away their sins in the holy rivers near Allahabad, on the banks of Sangam. It is also where Dominic’s friend Sir James Mallinson will be initiated into a senior role called a mahant. Follow these friends on this incredible two-week journey, and submerge yourself in the sacred waters and culture of this triennial celebration.

Smithsonian Channel trailers

YogaU Online writes about the show.

And YouTube has several videos on the topic of Kumbh Mela.

The televised art of name-dropping

‘Hot’ Yoga Burns Bright: What a puff piece this 60 Minute news feature about Bikram Choudhury was. It appeared on the Wednesday version of the show, which apparently has lower standards than the Sunday one. You can see the video on this webpage, as well as the full text of the narrative. It even gets the facts of the legal settlement wrong.

The other amusing thing in the video was to see the variety of ways that Birkam comes his hair. And what this about him being a national yoga champion in India? I didn’t know that yoga was a competitive sport.

For a more knowledgable and perceptive read of this guru, check out Yoga’s Bad Boy: Bikram Choudhury, an article that appeared in Yoga Journal March/April 2000.

Yoga on demand – visual confirmation for the learner

I have purchased one DVD about yoga in the past two years. But since I currently take Comcast‘s digital cable service for my home Internet access and TV viewing, I have access to scores of yoga videos. These videos change about once a month so there is a constant rotation of instructional material. Most videos comes from Wai Lana, Yoga Zone [MLS: YogaZone no longer exists, though you can probably still find some video cassettes discounted on the Web somewhere.] or Bryan Kest’s Power Yoga. Some of the other channels way also have yoga programming, and they may have other instructors’ videos for short periods.

The advantage to On Demand is that I can call up the video anytime that I want. There is a special menu system that also allows you to access movies, TV specials and features. I have yet to see a yoga video that I was dying to have and wanted to keep it for the future. It is a good way to have visual confirmation of poses and the flow between positions. That can be hard to get from a book or an audio CD. Even in yoga class, I can’t always confirm that I am following the instructions correctly.

Digital service does add up on my monthly bill from Comcast, but my wife really likes the Spanish programming, including CNN in Spanish and programming from Spain and Argentina, so I would still be paying a hefty bill, no matter what.

Today I ran across an online service that offers something similar: the Yoga Learning Center, but there’s a big difference between seeing the poses on a computer monitor and a TV screen. You can try it on for size with a one-week trial offer.