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Agniyogana - Lower the head, Invoke the fire

AGNIYOGANA is a meditative inquiry into the lost art of classical Hatha Yoga.

Offering an experiential collage of action and stillness, light and darkness, sound and silence, AGNIYOGANA explores the richness of traditional Hatha Yoga teachings and the deeply connected states of heart, mind, and freedom these practices deliver to sincere truth seekers.

AGNIYOGANA takes the viewer on a journey through time and space to rediscover the inner dimensions of Hatha Yoga and reconnect the human spirit to the true meaning of “yug,” the connecting root of all yogas.

Our documentary film begins with a visual and aural initiation.

The journey inward then explores the key requirements of Hatha Yoga:

FIRMNESS of mind;
The importance of FAITH;
The necessity of a qualified TEACHER;
The benefits of MODERATION;
The methods to RESTRAIN the senses; and
The practice of universal EQUANIMITY.

Throughout the film we examine the microcosm of the internal self in relation to the macrocosm of the elements, seasons, time of day, and other external forces of nature. The narrative is woven together through commentary, wisdom, and insight from those who continue to uphold and live by the ancient ways of yoga. AGNIYOGANA offers rarely seen glimpses of traditional Hatha Yoga practices as expressed by modern day yogins.

AGNIYOGANA is a meditation.

  • Emma Balnaves
  • Emma Balnaves
  • Lindi Harrison ASE
  • Marihiko Hara
  • Ryuichi Sakamoto
  • Carlos Manrique Clavijo
    Sound Design/Mix
  • Tom Heuzenroeder
    Sound Design/Mix
  • Danny Phillips
    Assitant Editor/Colourist
  • Umut Gunduz
  • Drew Sainsbury
  • Chris Herzfeld
  • Sundernath (Shandor Remete)
    Key Cast
  • Dr Manmath Gharote
    Key Cast
  • Yogi Narinath
    Key Cast
  • Yogi Shirshnath
    Key Cast
  • Dr Govinda Tandon
    Key Cast
  • Dordzin Donrup Palden Rinpoche
    Key Cast
  • Nubpa Konchok Tenzin Rinpoche
    Key Cast
  • Ani Chonyi Zangmo
    Key Cast
  • Dr Sherab Tenzin
    Key Cast
  • Dr Robert Svoboda
    Key Cast
  • Dr Martina Ziskova
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Yoga, spiritual, meditation, hathayoga
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 4 minutes 13 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    April 8, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    262,000 AUD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
    Australia, India, Nepal
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    UHD 25/50p, 1080p25, 4K
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Emma Balnaves

Emma Balnaves is the producer and director of AGNIYOGANA and an internationally respected teacher of the traditional forms and philosophies of Hatha Yoga. She has been teaching yoga since 1998.

Emma was introduced to yoga in her early teens when she became intrigued by the mystery of the practices and the feelings they evoked inside her. After studying visual communication, majoring in photography at university, and working in the creative arts in Sydney, New York, and London, Emma committed herself to a life of teaching yoga. Her early training began with a rigorous three-year apprenticeship at the Hatha Yoga Shala in Bondi Junction, Sydney, Australia. After decades of in-depth study and research in yoga, Ayurveda, and other internal arts, Emma began incorporating the full spectrum of the yogic process in her teaching. AGNIYOGANA is her first film. She was inspired to create AGNIYOGANA as a way to share the essence of these teachings and bring greater understanding to all aspects of the practice.

Emma is the author of three publications, “Nataraja - the Lord of Multiple Forms,” “Yoga for Women,” and “Seasonal Mandala”. She is co-founder and director of Shadow Yoga (a form of classical Hatha Yoga) and Nṛtta Sādhanā. Emma resides in Adelaide, Australia with her husband and teaching partner, Shandor Remete.

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Director Statement

“AGNIYOGANA, the film’s title, refers to the yoking of one's own inner fire. This inner fire is what transmutes and transforms every living being so they may become more fully awake, vibrant, and alive.

The commentary on the Vedas known as the Satapatha Brahmana states: ”Then...when about to speak the morning prayer, he yokes the fire altar…and when yoked, he obtains all wishes.” (9:4:4:1). So how does one yoke the fire to obtain our wishes for ourselves and humanity? This question is the basis for my lifelong inquiry into Hatha Yoga.

As I studied the classical texts and systems of Hatha Yoga, and travelled the globe meeting those who were adept in the traditional forms, I saw the great potential of a film that illuminated the holistic practices of Hatha Yoga through the words and experience of authentic practitioners.

We needed to go back to the roots.

To reveal these traditional practices to others so they may be remembered and once again shared with a world in need.

To light the fire of inquiry in the next generation of spiritual aspirants.

The tagline of AGNIYOGANA, “Lower the Head and Invoke the Fire,” is an invitation to bow to the fire within each of us. AGNIYOGANA is my humble bow to yoga and to all who walk the path of yoga.”