With unemployment, crime and AIDS rife in South Africa, this documentary explores the possibility that yoga can impact the health and attitude of those living without hope in its townships.
Produced by Elle Matthews and directed by Peter Matthews, TOWNSHIP YOGI is a Green Shoot Films documentary currently being filmed in KwaMashu and Inanda - KwaZulu Natal townships riddled with crime and unemployment, and where many of the population are suffering from HIV and Aids. Research has shown that the practice of yoga helps boost immune system activity, reduces stress, improves muscle tone, combats wasting and slows the progression of the disease.
The documentary follows the setup of grassroots yoga studios in Inanda and KwaMashu, with the assistance of qualified yoga teachers from Durban. It traces the establishment of yoga classes and the attitude/involvement of the community – in places where the majority of people have never heard of 'yoga’ - and focusses on five township dwellers who are selected to participate in yoga teacher training courses. The documentary follows the five whose lives are transformed through the power of yoga, and explores what ripple effect this has in the poverty-stricken, HIV and crime-ridden communities in which they live.
South Africa is reported to have the largest population in the world living with HIV/Aids, and a 2010 study by the South African Department of Health records the highest HIV prevalence in KwaZulu Natal. TOWNSHIP YOGI seeks to document and explore whether people living in townships can harness the power of yoga to transform their lives. Most significantly, it explores whether yoga can be used as a tool to change the health and lifestyles of those suffering from HIV/Aids. www.townshipyogimovie.com.