February 22, 2012

Movies & Yoga. ~ Ashley Carpenter

Movies and yoga are my all time greatest loves.

These are two things that you can never get enough of, two things that can take you outside your current state (whatever that may be) to somewhere far beyond the here and now, two things that have carried me from a young girl into adulthood and undoubtedly will carry me into the future.

For me – movies were my God growing up. I didn’t go to church on Sundays but I did go to the movie theater. Movies, just as they were known for in the depression, took me to a place of possibility, a place of wonder, and into a world I wanted to live in. Whether it was a romantic comedy, drama, or a magnificent classic, my heart sang with love for all that flickered on the screen. And so, I ventured into this world to study more closely in college, and then into the real world, also became my job.

It wasn’t until recently that I made a connection between my two greatest loves. For how could something so physical and spiritual connect with moving pictures? And how could I, who loved secluding myself in a movie theater, equally be fascinated with asana and chanting?

It seems that these connections are most fitting as we approached the Oscars last week and celebrate the films that took us beyond the silver screen and into a bigger world, a world where black and white silent films live on, as in The Artist – and where we can time travel as the clock strikes twelve, as in Midnight in Paris.  These movies not only entertain us but also connect us with a bigger picture. They connect universal thoughts and ideas and give us a moment to step out of the day-to-day lifestyle, where we often forget the images or sounds that connect us all.

All these thoughts arose as I was walking out of one of the most memorable films for me this year, and that was Midnight in Paris. As a longtime Woody Allen fan and an all time romantic, that was about to take my first trip to Paris, this movie sang to my heart. It felt as though I had just been to the greatest yoga class in the world, or to a weekend chakra retreat, and all the stars were aligned, and my whole body was in balance.

It was kind of ironic in that I had reluctantly chosen the movie over taking one of my favorite Friday night yoga classes. And yet somehow, it had the same affect. That’s not to say that movies can have the opposite affect, as there are so many out there.

But Midnight in Paris brought me home, which is often the feeling I leave with after a class. I was reminded how much beauty is in the world and how fantastic the world could be. It gave me the gumption to take a trip that was long overdue and also made me realize that these loves I have are so connected and so essential to who I am.

I love yoga and movies for the places they take me, from the perfect Om to the most beautiful score. All the love that is shared in the last Om of  class is created through the last moment of a film just before the credits role, and the sometimes synchronizing breath that leads you through class and connects you to the yogi beside you, is just like the laughter you share with stranger sitting near you.

There are so many things that make them unique to themselves but for these connections I love them both even more.

So the next time you step into the theater give it the same love and respect that you do your yoga class and take a moment to enjoy the feeling you have after seeing a great film.

Read more from Ashley: Losing Downward Dog. ~ Ashley Carpenter.


Editor: Andrea B.


Ashley Carpenter works in Los Angeles in Film and Television as a Camera Assistant and Operator. She lives in Sun Valley and discovered yoga at Yoga Blend in Burbank. When she’s not on a TV or movie set, she’s taking a class or hiking with my dog Bojangles.
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