Awake: The Life of Yogananda delves deep into the world of yoga, Hinduism, and ultimate introspection. Directors Paola di Florio and Lisa Leeman tell the story of Yogananda, one of the most famous faces of yoga and meditation of the past century.
Told through a healthy mixture of reenactments, interviews, and testimonials, Awake takes us through Yogananda’s life starting in utero. His younger years saw him develop an expanded consciousness which led him to make a life changing journey to the Western world, interacting with notable scientists and fellow meditators. Moving across the U.S., from Boston all the way to Hollywood, his teachings made waves in Los Angeles, feeding a hungry people yearning for truth and meaning.
Narration is a rather important aspect of the film, as it contains narration from multiple off-screen sources; recordings of Yogananda’s voice, an impersonator, scholars, influential artists and thinkers all come together to thread the piece along – ranging from George Harrison to Deepak Chopra.
The visuals aren’t necessarily mind-blowing here, but that’s not really the point. Reenactments and image montages are di Florio and Leeman’s primary lifelines, which is understandable; most of Yogananda’s impactful years were in the early 1900s.
Awake is definitely one for the yogis, Hindus, and any human interested in finding deeper meaning. Though this reviewer isn’t necessarily one for meditation, yoga, or deep introspection, Yogananda’s teachings offer a wholesome approach to spirituality that certainly resonate with people across the globe, opening the doors of perception to modern times.