urban sutra

Changing the conversation on yoga 

A documentary series by Vikram Zutshi

Africa Yoga Project.jpg

urban sutra


Urban Sutra is a feature-length documentary by Vikram Zutshi that aims to change the conversation on yoga in the West. The film explores a little-known side of the yoga phenomenon: its power to heal and transform individuals from diverse communities across the globe who have experienced unspeakable tragedy, often in places one would never expect to find yoga, such as war zones and prisons. This film tells the compelling stories of these survivors, who have not only found healing, but have also discovered that the ancient practice has guided their triumph over seemingly insurmountable odds. For 2017 release.




Vikram has been working in film and television in Los Angeles for over a decade. After graduating from UCLA, he began in the industry as story editor at Twentieth Century Fox where he worked on a number of dramatic feature films. He was later designated as creative executive and eventually vice president of development at Rogue Entertainment. At Rogue he developed and co-produced two films as well as several scripted and unscripted network T.V. shows. Vikram directed the docu-feature, Max Kennedy and the American Dream, inspired by the decade-long, low-intensity war on the U.S.-Mexico border and filmed along the 2,000-mile border. The film had a sold-out European premiere at Visions Du Reel, Switzerland, was acquired by Journeyman Pictures, U.K., and has since been widely broadcast. Vikram founded Sutra Journal, an online magazine discussing the deep, eternal truths of Vedanta, Buddhism, Tantra and other spiritual traditions through a Dharmic point-of-view. He is in pre-production for The Byron Project, another feature film project.


Ondi is the founder and CEO of Interloper Films and is the only two-time recipient of the Sundance Film Festival’s Grand Jury Prize for documentaries. Her documentaries, DIG! and We Live In Public, are preserved in the permanent collection of New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Ondi directed and produced BRAND: A Second Coming, the 2015 biopic on comedian Russell Brand.


Philip is the author of numerous books, a spiritual counselor, meditation teacher and ordained interfaith minister. He is a worldwide leading authority on Indian spirituality in the East and the West. He is author of American Veda, a comprehensive book that examines how Indian spirituality changed the West. He lives in Los Angeles and regularly writes for the Huffington Post.

GABRIEL FARIAS, Associate producer

Born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Gabriel was raised in a family of filmmakers. After completing his BA in Business Administration at Whittier College, he obtained an MFA in Film & TV Producing at the New York Film Academy in Los Angeles, during which he has produced a number of short films, commercials and music videos.



featured in urban sutra:

Key Characters

Liberation Prison Yoga, Anneke Lucas, founder, survivor
Dan Nevins, U.S. military veteran
Beit Ashams, Eilda Zaghmout, founder
Raheem Lewis, Urban Yogi and participant of Peace Is a Lifestyle
Edifrando Valderrama, former Colombia FARC member and participant of Dunna
Walter Mugwe, participant of Africa Yoga Project

Organizations and Teachers

Urban Yogis/Peace Is a Lifestyle, Eddie Stern, Deepak Chopra, Erica Ford
Africa Yoga Project, Paige Elenson, founder
Exalted Warriors, Annie Okerlin, founder
Dunna, Natalia Quinnones, founder
Warrior at Ease, Molly Birkholm, founder
Prison Yoga Project, James Fox, founder
Off the Mat Into the World, Seane Corn, co-founder
The Pema Chodron Foundation, Pema Chodron, founder
Farashe Yoga Palestine


Integrative Restoration Institute (iRest), Richard Miller, PhD, founder
Dr. Sat Bir Singh Khalsa, Harvard Medical School, assistant professor of medicine
Dr. John Denninger, Harvard Medical School
Dr. Stuart Sovatsky, co-president of the Association for Transpersonal Psychology