Filmmaker, writer, actor, and yoga teacher Hannah Siden recently created a heartwarming short film about yoga during quarantine.
More specifically, this short film depicts the experience that so many of us can relate to of trying to maintain the things we did pre-covid amidst the new restrictions that covid poses.
In this case, viewers witness a private yoga session over Zoom (which is how the entire film is shot) as both the student and teacher try to stay focused. We see how both are struggling with their current situation while trying to be present.
Then something greater than their shared class happens – it is their shared experience when the teacher receives an upsetting phone call and the student shifts into a supportive role as they both try to cope, support each other, and keep moving forward in life amidst quarantine.
Watch Breathing Easy – A Short Film About Yoga During Quarantine
Want to Learn More About the Short Film and the Filmmaker Behind It? We Interview Hannah Siden:
1. YogiApproved: What was your inspiration behind this film?
Hannah Siden: I was curious about creating a film over Zoom, but wanted to use the digital aspect to the story’s advantage, rather than it becoming an element that detracts.
Because of this, I chose a story that could only happen over video conferencing, and it became a little snapshot of this strange time we are all living through.
Also, I am a yoga teacher, which is where a lot of the initial inspiration came from.
2. YA: What do you hope people get out of watching it?
I hope that people feel less alone after watching the film.
In our own particular ways, we are all struggling to adjust to new circumstances and challenges right now. You never know what someone might be going through. In recognizing that, I hope people feel empowered both to ask for help, and to reach out to others with love and support.
3. YA: What was it like to create a film entirely over Zoom? Did you ever meet the actors in person?
Hannah Siden: It was a bit of an experiment for us, especially as we never met in person until after the film was finished. The rehearsal and filming process went smoothly though; we shared our own experiences of lockdown and found some community and commonality in the process.
Afterwards we had a social distanced meet-up in a park to celebrate, which was lovely and a bit surreal.
4. YA: Any other behind the scene details you’d like to share?
Hannah Siden: Just a shout out to a few others who helped with the process – Julie McIsaac for brilliant casting recommendations, Toby Hillard for doing a bit of editing magic, and Deb Williams for her support more generally on the project.
Also my gratitude to actors Anita Wittenberg and Agnes Tong who brought the words to life so beautifully and with such open hearts.
5. YA: Would you say you identify more with the student, the teacher, or both?
Hannah Siden: I definitely identify with both. As a yoga teacher I totally empathize with Ashley’s struggle to remain professional while teaching from her home, and the challenge of navigating super chatty students. I enjoyed finding some of the comedy there, too.
At the same time I have a soft spot for the character of Mary because she wears the anxieties that so many of us carry with us on her sleeve. Ultimately Mary helps Ashley to share her own vulnerability, and in doing so finds strength in supporting someone else.
We all have the ability to be both student and teacher – and yoga teachers need help sometimes too! Everyone’s human.
6. YA: What has been the general response to this film?
Hannah Siden: Really positive. I wasn’t entirely sure how it would be received – I was a bit worried that people were getting sick of films about COVID. But I actually think there’s a need for heartening stories right now, and for stories that connect us without ignoring the reality of things. It helps us through.
7. YA: Have you been using online yoga to help you cope with covid, quarantine, and the challenges of 2020?
Hannah Siden: I have – although I’ve had some health challenges so have stuck with gentler videos and Yoga Nidra recently. It’s been an opportunity for me to slow down, check in and listen to my body.
I definitely recommend online yoga, whether it’s recorded or live on Zoom. There’s tons of amazing content and teachers out there and you can choose what works best for you.
You can also try YA Classes by YogiApproved free for 14 days! We offer hundreds of online yoga, fitness, and wellness classes and full programs
8. YA: As the mastermind behind this film, do you have any advice for people who can relate to either character?
Hannah Siden: I think the main takeaway for both characters is to allow for vulnerability and humanity without being ashamed of it or apologizing.
I’d like to encourage people to reach out to each other. And even if you think you don’t know how to make a difference for someone – just listening and being with that person (even virtually) can mean a lot, and help them feel seen and understood. We all need that.
A Big YogiApproved Thank You to Hannah Siden for Sharing This Heartwarming Short Film and Interview With Us!
Hannah is a filmmaker, writer, actor, and yoga teacher from Vancouver, BC. In addition to Breathing Easy, she recently directed and produced Plastic Wings – a music video for singer-songwriter David Beckingham in collaboration with Ballet BC.
Hannah also co-produced a documentary mini-series about homelessness shot on iPhone, Home Stream, which was distributed by NowThis Politics and Real Stories and has reached 12+ million views online. You can find her on Twitter.
What did you think of this short film? Did you relate to the characters and their experiences? Have any takeaways or comments you’d like to share? Please do so below – we love hearing from you!