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Yoga in Movies & TV

Updated on September 23, 2013

How Popular Culture Portrays Yoga

  • This avid yoga practitioner looks forward to seeing yoga highlighted in popular culture. People are affected by what they see in movies and television. I hope the more people see good examples of yoga on TV that their interest is piqued. The occurrences of yoga scenes in films and shows has grown; however, I am disappointed to discover the portrayal of yoga has been poor.
  • Yoga is usually portrayed in films in one of four ways: Ridiculous or weird, unnecessarily complicated, taught incorrectly, or just hollow and bland.
  • The following lenses display the yoga scenes I was able to find. I still find many of these films enjoyable and hilarious, yet I dream of a yoga scene that makes me sigh in delight. I am in search of a shining, natural, exemplary example of yoga in Pop Culture! (Not counting documentaries or instructional yoga classes on cable - just Hollywood fiction here.) If you find one - please let me know!

Yoga =

Ridiculous or Strange

Movie: "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" - Scene Starring Russell Brand, Kristen Bell & Jason Segel

  • The first two examples in the ridiculous category both star Kristen Bell. Although they are both ridiculous they are also hilarious. I might even be tempted to take a ridiculous yoga class taught by Kristen Bell, but not from this star-struck, holier-than-thou instructor named "Prana".

Movie: "Couples Retreat" - Scene Starring Kristen Bell, Jason Bateman & Faizon Love

  • I think one of the quickest ways to turn a guy off to trying yoga is to show an over-the-top instructor with his crotch up in students' faces. Yoga does have it's share of intimate looking poses, but this clip highlights them all up close and personal.... in a blue speedo.

Movie: "Easy Come, Easy Go" - Scene Starring.... Elvis Presley!

  • I have no words.... Just watch....

What Do You Think of How Yoga is Portrayed by Hollywood?

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Movie: "27 Dresses" - Scene Starring Katherine Heigl & Judy Greer

  • In 7 Dresses, the co-star Jody Greer proceeds to swear through a yoga class with Heigl's character. I couldn't find a clip of the scene, but you do see bits of it in this movie trailer. Again, hilarious. And I
  • have
  • heard the occassional swear word in class, but most instructors discourage full conversations during class.

TV Show: "Dexter" - Scene Starring Michael C. Hall & Julie Benz

  • Here is another example of a man having a miserable time during a yoga class. Listen to Dexter's thoughts as he is confronted with an excessively esoteric and new-agey yoga instructor.

Yoga =

Complicated & Difficult

Movie: "Next Best Thing"

Scene Starring Madonna & Rupert Everett

  • Madonna's character is a yoga instructor in this movie. Off-screen Madonna has already become an advanced yoga practitioner and proceeds to sit in this lovely pose that is nearly impossible by most of the human population.

Movie: "Someone Like You"

Scene Starring Hugh Jackman & Ashley Judd

  • A mixture of difficult and strange, in this yoga scene Hugh Jackman's character is looking for Marisa Tomei's character and ends up barging into a yoga class to find her. Many of the students are in advanced pose,
  • Bird of Paradise
  • , and Hugh ends up knocking them over. After he departs the class the instructor has them start up in the strange looking
  • Lion's Pose
  • .
  • Since I couldn't find a video clip or screencap of the yoga scene - I'll show you Hugh Jackman doing Downward Dog!

What is Your Yoga Experience?

Have you Tried Yoga? Why or Why Not?

Yoga =

Poor / Incorrect Teaching

TV Show: "Ugly Betty" - Scene Starring America Ferrera & Jayma Mays

  • The Yoga class scene starts at 7:16. Betty accompanies pregnant Charlie to a pre-natal yoga class. Right away the instructor skips warm-ups entirely and directs the pregnant ladies to get into Downward Dog. Yeah, I know Down Dog is probably the most well-known yoga pose; however any class would flow through a warm-up before moving into that pose. Betty and Charlie talk too much in class, are accused of having "bad energy", and get kicked out.

TV Show: "Dead Like Me" - Scene Starring Mandy Patinkin & Harold Perrineau

  • There are many yoga scenes in this episode, because the victim is a hot yoga instructor, Arun. The yoga in this clip starts at 3:10 & 7:30. Inappropriate touching, vague cues, and the instructor dies in Plow Pose. In another clip, Arun ends his yoga session with Rube in Tree Pose which is not a likely way of ending a class.

Yoga =

Hollow, Uninspiring, or Abbreviated

Movie: "He's Just Not That Into You" - Scene Starring Scarlett Johansson & Bradley Cooper

  • In this movie Bradley Cooper's character is in love with a yoga instructor. Scarlett Johansson is shown concluding a class speaking as if she's reading cue cards. This scene is hollow and flat.

TV Show: "Sopranos"

Scene Starring Aida Turturro & David Proval

  • In this scene, Richie Aprile has just gotten out of jail and is trying to hook back up with his ex, Janice/Parvati. While the class is not horrible it sounds like the instructor is reading, uses no cues, and it even looks like the "students" are waiting for an off-stage cue to move. Richie does a pretty good Downward Dog even when he's trying to check out Janice.
  • This pic is of Janice in Cobra and Richie is the blurry figure to the right behind her.

Yoga =


Movie: "Eat, Pray Love"

  • Or sometimes the yoga is just a bog, ol' TEASE. In the book, we know that Elizabeth is a yoga practitioner and is brought into the yoga world by her boyfriend David. Ever since the novie was announced, yoginis were waiting in anticipation to see Julia Roberts perform some yoga postures... But No. She sits in Lotus Pose and that's about it. I had the most hope for lovely yoga portrayal in this film and was left disappointed.

What Are Your Thoughts on Yoga in Popular Culture? - Do You Now of Any OTher Yoga Scenes? Let me know!

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    • jenms lm profile image

      jenms lm 7 years ago

      In the movie Failure to Launch the 3 guys attend a yoga class. That struck me as interesting because the classes I've been to never had more than 2-3 men in them.

    • KarenHC profile image

      Karen 7 years ago from U.S.

      Really fun video clips to watch! I was all set to leave you the link for the Elvis clip, but you had already included it :-)

      Thanks so much for including some of my lenses in the "Interested in Trying Yoga?" section!