Meet Sophie Ke, Open Door Yoga Teachter training graduate! Interview by Maya Lee

Maya: Could you talk a little about the main influencing aspects in your life that led to you choosing to take Open Door Yoga’s teacher training course?

Sophie: I have been doing yoga since high school, and after graduating from university, I spent 8 months in China teaching English at a kindergarten. I continued to practice Yoga there, and met a lady there that talked about her experience being a yoga teacher. I was very intrigued, as I love practicing yoga, and also love to promote something I loved through teaching and guidance. I didn’t have enough time in China, so when I came back to Vancouver, my work place moved to Main street, and I started practicing at Open Door. I instantly felt a connection here with the teachers and students. It’s not like any other yoga studio I have been to, with a strong sense of community and belonging. Thus I choose Open Door as my teacher training because I felt comfortable with the teachers and what they strive to promote here.

Maya: During the course did you come across some re-occurring inner obstacles that you found ways to address during the course? And what inner techniques did you find yourself developing to propel yourself forward through the course?

Sophie: I had to really gain self confidence and believe in myself. Believe in what I can do and what I already have inside of me. I had to keep on telling myself that I can do it, and to trust myself.

Maya: Did you have some specific questions about yourself as a teacher and were they answered for you by the end of the course?

Sophie: Even though I taught at summer camps and kindergartens, I wasn’t sure if I would be a good yoga teacher as I am still practicing and developing myself. I had always assumed that only when you can do all the crazy poses can you become a good yoga teacher. Throughout the course, I learned that it’s your heart that really matters, and how passionate you are about what you do. A yoga teacher is really a guide, not there to show off.

Maya: Did the course deepen your own practice, and could you outline some specific areas this became evident.

Sophie: The course made me more aware of my postures and alignments. It also deepened my understanding of my body during yoga, as well as the benefits and contraindications associated with various poses. I was more aware of my breathing, and the connection of my mind and body.

Maya: Could you discuss the aspects of the course you took to like a fish to water, where the bliss flowed for you, and where in contrast your challenges were.

Sophie: I am good at memorizing and organizing data, so I remembered all the steps of teaching each pose very quickly. I was also able to organize all the information in an easy accessible manner. The challenging part was to teach from the heart, instead of memorizing and reciting steps. At first I sounded like a recorded instructional video, and it took a lot of practice to start teaching from where I felt.

Maya: Has yoga had a direct effect on changing your life in significant ways, and could you discuss this a little please?

Sophie: Yoga made me more calm and centered. I realized what I needed in life, instead of just keep on wanting more. I also realized what was important to me, and found that happiness is a conscience choice I can make, instead of relying on others to make me happy.

Maya: What do you feel the purpose of yoga is in this world, that makes you want to pass on the wisdom more widely?

Sophie: Yoga helps us realize who we really are, and find our own inner peace. It’s not only a good form of exercising, it also helps with other exercises such us running and tennis. It helps us realize a lot of inner truths about ourselves and the world around us. It is such a balanced and whole form of exercising.

Maya: If you could give one essential lesson to a student what would it be?

Sophie: Be yourself and true to yourself. Let everything come from your heart.

Thank you Sophie!

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Film reviews of movies at VIFF likely to appeal to the yoga community, from Drishti Point – Vancouver’s Radio Talk Show 102.7 FM, Mondays 5-6PM

Flirting with Heights is a poetic testament to the beauty of the natural world. Join a dedicated French naturalist Jean-Michel Bertrand, who spends four years in the French Alps to capture footage of the flora and fauna of this stunning region of the world. Trying to make himself invisible so that he can get as close as possible to his wild subjects, Bertrand captures the grandeur and majesty of nature. This is a beautiful film and highly recommended for those who consider nature sacred and precious.

For information and to see a Trailer, visit:

For tickets, visit

Burning Ice is a stunning film of the Arctic and of an innovate project, Cape Farewell, that brings together artists and scientists in dialogue about climate change. The film documents their 10-day voyage in Greenland, and their creative process in making art to raise awareness about climate change. The majestic and breath-taking Arctic landscape provides the inspiration as these artists create music, poetry, comedy, and photography.

This film is a visual gem with an innovative and inspiring twist on an important theme.

For more information about the film, and to see a Trailer, visit:

For tickets, visit .

Crazy Wisdom is a must see for all spiritual practitioners, meditators, and students of Buddhism and Yoga.

Documenting the life of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, a Buddhist monk, who de-robbed, married, and bought Buddhist teachings to thousands of Americans in the 1960s and 70s. Featuring Pema Chodron, Ram Dass, Allen Ginsberg, and Robert Thurman, and live footage of Rinpoche’s dharma talks, Johanna Demetrakas’ film posits important questions about Rinpoche’s unconventional teaching.

This film beautifully captures Rinpoche’s wisdom, the truth of his life and teachings, and his profound legacy within Western Buddhism.

Highly Recommended.

For more information, and to see a Trailer of the film,

For tickets, visit .

Journey on the Wild Coast
If you have ever wanted to go on an epic journey, this is a film for you! Join newly-weds Hig and Erin as they trek 4,000 miles by boot, raft, and ski from Seattle to Alaska’s Aleutian Islands. Journey on the Wild Coast is a beautiful film that captures the wet and wild West Coast, and the determination and perserverance of a couple dedicated to raising awareness of the natural world.

For more information on this film or to see a Trailer, visit

For tickets, visit:

Mama Africa
This is a beautiful and inspiring film about the charismatic and iconic South African singer- Miriam Makeba. Documenting her musical career as well her activism-in-exile in the South African anti-apartheid movement, Miriam Makeba melodious gift captured the hearts of millions.

Highly recommended!

For more information about the film, visit

For tickets, visit

Planet Yoga is an excellent documentary on yoga- the practice, the philosophy, and its history. Spanning the globe from Nunavut to Paris, this film features dedicated teachers from around the world, as well as two local yogis- Sri Venu, head of the Sivananda organization in Vancouver, and Kavindra Rishi, founder of the Vedic Academy of Sciences and Arts.

For more information about the film, visit:

One Lucky Elephant
This is a sweet 10, 000 pound love story about Flora the elephant and her circus trainer David Balding . After 16 years of being together, Balding decides it is time for Flora to return to being with elephants. The film shows his genuine fondness and affection for Flora, while raising subtle but profound questions about the circus industry and the anthropomorphizing of wild animals. This film is a beautiful illustration of ahimsa in action and the importance of re-examining our relationship to animals and to the natural world.

For more information about the film, and to see a Trailer, visit:

For tickets, visit

Brenda Bilili
This incredible music documentary tells the story of a group of homeless, paraplegic musicians living and playing in the streets of Kinshasa, Congo. Discovered by directors Renaud Barret and Florent de la Tullaye, who are determined to record an album of their music, Benda Bilili is an inspiring tale that takes raw musical geniuses from the slums of Kinshasa to the concerts halls and Festivals of Europe.

Inspiring, life- affirming, and joyous!

For more information and to watch a Trailer, visit:

For tickets, visit:

Seeking the Current is an intelligent documentary that makes a convincing case against Hydro Quebec’s Romaine River initiative. Weaving together footage of a beautiful landscape, interviews with experts from various energy sectors, and the story of Hydro Quebec’s devolution from social democratic ideals to greed and environmental destruction, this film is inspiring and hopeful. Presenting a plethora of alternatives to hydroelectricity, Seeking the Current is a persuasive and intelligent documentary.

For more information or to see a Trailer, visit:

For tickets, visit:

First Position
Bess Kargman’s documentary about the Youth American Grand Prix (a prestigious international ballet competition) provides a window into the world of one of the most beautiful and demanding physical pursuits. Each of her characters have compelling stories that show the remarkable dedication and discipline required of those who pursue a career in dance.

Highly recommended!

For more information and to see a Trailer, visit:

For tickets, visit:

Taste The Waste
Valentin Thurn’s shocking documentary on food waste is a must see for food activists. Interviewing farmers, dumpster divers, scientists, and enlightened supermarket managers, Thurn’s film posits important questions about the desire for aesthetic perfection and the demand for the freshest food in the context of millions who live in a constant state of food scarcity.

For a Trailer of the film, visit:

For more information about the film and tickets, visit:

Waking the Green Tiger is an excellent documentary about the environmental movement in China. Featuring journalists, activists, filmmakers, and government officials, this movie provides a window into the ecological disasters of Mao’s Cultural Revolution, and the environmental dangers of continuing along the same course of development.

These eco-activists intelligently use a new environmental law to raise awareness and encourage grassroots participation helping people to feel empowered to make change in their lives and preserve the cultural and biological diversity in the Yunnan province region of China.

For a Trailer and more information about the film,

Weibo’s War
Director David’s York documentary provides insight into the often vilified and misunderstood eco-activist Ludwig Wiebo. This intimate film portrays Wiebo as a complex character- charismatic, gentle, incredibly intelligent, and fundamentally Christian.

York and his film crew capture the complicated nature of Wiebo’s War that pits him and his family and community against the Alberta Oil and Gas industry, with tragic results.

For more information or to view a Trailer, visit:

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Mariska Mclean – Open Door Yoga Teacher Training Graduate, discusses being in a powerful life flow Since graduating. Interview by Maya Lee

Maya: Since completing the Open Door Yoga teaching training course you have had a lot of serendipitous good fortune. Energy seems to be really moving you forward in your life. Your children’s store was sold without putting it on the market, you obtained regular work teaching right away, your own classes, no subbing. You are also teaching a 6 week meditation workshop , and are due to teach your first ‘mommy workshop’. It would seem that you are in a great flow of life for you, following your purpose, and are traveling in a good strong positive life flow. I would like to ask you these questions in response to this very marvelous news:

Did you follow your bliss to get to this point? How much discipline did you feel you needed to apply versus how much of this journey did you feel you were in a natural flowing tide carrying you along by a natural drive?

Mariska: I feel that being open to possibilities is huge. Six months before I started the teacher training course I never even dreamed of becoming a teacher. I thought that that was only for others. and then one day it just came. just like that, the feeling of doing the Teacher training course. Knowing I will become a teacher. And then that all fell perfectly in place with my husband being supportive financially and agreeing to watch the kids every Sunday for 6 months. So I think a lot of it is natural intuition. I actually like to call it karma. All the causes are in place for it to work out a certain way.
But change does require effort. No big life changes are ever made without effort I’d say.
I don’t think I needed to apply a lot of discipline though. When things feel good and exciting the effort just comes naturally. It didn’t require much thought.

Maya: Would you agree that putting a lot of effort into any area of one’s life is going to create positive consequences, although it may not be the area we necessarily expect to see results? Does any experience you have had that might reflect his come to mind?

Mariska: Yes. I would agree on this. I think we also should let go of always wanting results and we should instead trust. Put effort in to create goodness, then the result can show itself in any given way. By being open, kind to others, generous, patient, compassionate only goodness can come your way..
And when things don’t work out the way you wanted, you can ask yourself what the teaching is? But by not expecting results you won’t be let down when it doesn’t work out the way you hoped:)

Maya: During the teacher training course were there some specific mind messages within yourself that you became aware of that you felt were not as useful as they could be, which you took action to change via your work on the course? Could you possibly tell us a little about this?

Mariska: hmm….I already knew it would be scary for me to teach as I have been quite shy my whole life. But knowing that I really do have things to say and a longing to share, this was the best opportunity to work through this and face those fears. At the TT they start you off teaching a pose in the 2nd class already, so no time to hide in my shell! Which is exactly what I needed!

Maya: Could you map out your journey in your general attitude to the work from day 1 to the middle and end of the course, and describe a little of any teachings that directly effected change for you?

Mariska: Feeling scared for sure on day 1. But feeling so safe with the teachers and the great group of ladies, so letting go in the form of dance, laughter, and finding my voice became a beautiful thing.

Maya: What were your intentions for yourself when you began the course and did they change at all?

Mariksa: . My intentions weren’t clear when I started. I just felt the time was perfect to learn how to teach, so they became clearer as time passed.
My intention is to share what I have learned and help others ease their lives, offering the wisdom on how to make changes in your daily lives, how to remove all the hardship that you see and feel.

Maya: By the end of the course what was the teaching for yourself that you felt most connected to in regard to your own calling as a teacher, your specific gift to pass on, and could you please describe your hearts intention with the new classes you are teaching, yoga, mom’s classes, your meditation classes?

Mariska: The teacher training has given me the tools to be a teacher by learning the yoga language, and the exploring of many topics discussed has also shown me that there is so much more to learn. This is just a tip of the iceberg. I know that my interest lies in the Galukpa tradition, the lineage of the Dalai Lama. So to use the skills taught to me at the TT combined with all the teachings received by my Heart Teacher, I am very excited to share this knowledge.

Thank you Mariska!

For info on ODY TT:

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Drishti Point Yoga Radio Talk Show

Drishti Point is a yoga radio talk show that features interviews about yoga, dharma, truth, wisdom, and love.

Drishti Point airs every Monday from 5-6pm on CFRO 102.7 FM, and free podcasts are available on-line at: This month’s guests include: His Holiness Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda, Johanna Demetrakus, director of the recent film on the life of Tibetan Master, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche – Crazy Wisdom, Kate Clere, Director of the upcoming film YOGAWOMAN, Executive Director Delanie Dyck and Nicole Marcia of Yoga Outreach, and Pre and Perinatal therapist Judyth Weaver.

September Feature: Kate Clere McIntyre

Yoga is always evolving and shifting and women need to find power through their beauty and rhythm.

Though yoga was first brought to the West by a lineage of male teachers, today many of the most respected teachers are women. Featuring Sean Corne, Patricia Walden, Sharon Gannon and dozens of women yogis, Kate Clere McIntyre’s exciting and inspiring film YOGAWOMAN is a welcome addition to the growing list of documentaries that explore yoga in its classical and contemporary form.

For an interview with Kate Clere McIntyre, listen here:

Listen live or visit our website for interviews that will inspire you to live fully awake in the present moment, to grow in wisdom and compassion, to open to love and devotion, and to be instruments to alleviate pain and suffering and Light the way for others to achieve ultimate freedom and happiness.

Farah Moolji Nazarali
Founder, Drishti Point
Free Podcasts Available On-line!

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