“Find what most inspires you to live your yoga and to live your YES. Self Love is the key!Have your own practice and teach from your own life experience.” – Sofiah Thom
Sofiah – before we start on our interview – thanks for joining us at YogiTunes; your new mix is absolutely lovely and we’re so glad to welcome you.
You’ve recently done a mix for YogiTunes called Awakening Durga – can you tell us a bit about it ?
Yes, I am so excited to share the first of the Temple Body Awakening Series here on YogiTunes, Seven 90 mixes to embody 7 different Goddess Archetypes in your dance and in your daily life. This first mix was created to awaken Durga the Hindu Warrior Goddess. Access your inner strength, grace and power as a warrior Goddess. Feel your innate power to discern, protect and act from a place of empowerment as the Goddess you were born to BE.Next, comes Awakening Lalita, the Goddess of Spiritual Eroticism, get ready to tap into your sexual creative energy and deepest desire.
What are you up to and working on at the moment ?
I am deep in the process of developing a school for Temple Body Arts, an online and in-person certification program to train women in the work I have developed over the last fifteen years.
This work is a culmination of tantra yoga, expressive healing arts, guided movement journeys, womb activation, meditation and mindset practices created for women to recognize their body as a Temple, connect to their creative power and shine their brilliance as the Goddess they were born to BE.
As I said the Awakening Durga mix is part of the Temple Body Awakening Course which I offer online and in person. This course is a 25 hour prerequisite to the Temple Body Arts certification program launching next year.
I offer the 25 hour Temple Body Awakening Course as an online self-paced video course or an in person experience as part of the women’s 200 HR Yoga Teacher Trainings I co-lead at my retreat center.
For more info: http://templebodyawakening.com
Where and when did you first become interested in yoga – what was it that fired your creative spark in this direction ?
I have always been a dancer and loved moving my body. So it was natural for me to try yoga and to fuse my yoga practice with my love for dance. I took my first yoga class in Eugene, Oregon in University when I was 19. It wasn’t until I was in India when I was 24 I really got into yoga and created my own practice.
This is a big question as the path that led me to create Danyasa is my life’s journey. You can read more about my journey in my featured chapter in the book, The Path of the Priestess. I was 29 when I met Brendan at our friends’ wedding in California. I had been training, teaching and practicing the healing arts already for 15 years and had lived in many healing arts hubs like Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Boulder. Brendan had been living in Costa Rica for 20 years. After visiting him there several times, he offered to build us a movement studio and home from shipping containers on his land, which became Danyasa Eco-Retreat over time. We have had Danyasa for nine years now and it continues to grow organically as we add more shipping container rooms to accommodate the growing number of guests, retreats, and trainings each year.
We offer a sanctuary for living artfully in harmony and in touch with nature and in a truly eco-friendly situation. We refurbish and repurpose old shipping containers (essentially trash) into our beautiful luxurious rooms. We offer daily classes from top quality teachers and we also offer custom yoga and surf retreats. I curate the teaching and we have excellent facilitators who take our guests on a journey to connect with their bodies and nature in a new way.
We have a variety of unique retreats and trainings, many focused on feminine empowerment through Leadership Yoga Teacher Trainings, Exotic Pole and Sacred Movement Retreats, Goddess Gatherings and workshops, Sup Yoga Teacher Trainings and Aerial yoga retreats.
A number of places lay claim to the word “eco”- what does Danyasa do that would appeal to travelers who want to leave a smaller footprint ?
We go far beyond the usual “We don’t wash your towel unless it’s on the floor” attitude towards eco-sustainability (although we do have that towel policy). As I mentioned our rooms are created from refurbished containers, which have a shelf life and after a certain time essentially become trash. We repurpose these containers in a very sustainable way to become living spaces. We also use a lot of bamboo, particularly in our studio and furnishings. Bamboo is a sustainable resource that unlike wood, doesn’t kill the plant and doesn’t lead to erosion or damage to the watershed. We compost all our organics and recycle batteries, plastic, glass and aluminum. All our cleaning products and soaps used at our retreat are of the highest quality in terms of being environmentally friendly and are locally made. We use LED lighting and state of the art efficient appliances to minimize our carbon footprint. We have left the natural landscape mostly untouched by building 2 meters off the ground. We don’t use weed whackers or use any 2 stroke engines. We also work with a local organization called Carbon Community trees and for every guest in our trainings or retreats, we sponsor a tree to offset the carbon footprint.
In your view, what qualities should a good yoga teacher bring to their practice?
Presence, embodiment, walking their talk. Living their yoga.
How do you see the connection between music and yoga ?what works for you?
Music creates the tapestry and platform in which to flow to.
Being a dancer first, music is an integral part of what I offer when I teach and practice.
What are your top 5 albums on YogiTunes and why ?
First of all, this is hard one, as there is so much to choose from!
I still have so much to discover in your deep libraries!
Here are 5 of my top choices!
Deya and I are actually members of the same global spiritual organization and recently had the pleasure of reconnecting after 10 years. I feel her vocals and music deep in my soul and recommend any and all of her albums.
I love Niyaz’s voice and sound, fusing middle eastern sounds with melodic beats.
“Downtemple Dub: Roots” by Desert Dwellers
I can easily teach an entire class with all tracks by Desert Dwellers, I think I have over 20 of their albums!I also perform with them at many festivals and find dancing to their sound effortless as grace moves through my temple body.
“Firedance” by Kaya Project
I recently got turned onto this album by Andrew here at Yogitunes and love the tapestry of sounds, flowingmelodic beats great for dancing.
A beautiful collaboration of friends. I love Ixchel’s voice, so enchanting and deep as the music inspires self-inquiry and going within.
What workshop that you’ve attended has inspired you the most ?
I would have to say I am most inspired by the 13 Moon Mystery lineage. This year I just became an initiate of the 13 Moon Mystery School with Sarah Uma Kane, and highly recommend for anyone called to the priestess yogini path.
As a dancer and performer can you let us know a few highlights; a time when everything just came together to create the perfect moment ? – location, people, production, performance…
mmm… I can actually say there have been so many magical moments.One highlight that stands out is a few years ago at Lightning in a Bottle, I was performing with two of my favorite artists back to back. It was Saturday afternoon on the main stage and I danced with Desert Dwellers and then with Random Rab as the sun set. It was truly magical to be there with my friends all creating our art together as I looked out into the eyes of so many people dancing ecstatically present, receiving the magic as they offered themselves through the dance.
Another epic moment was on a blue moon on my 36th birthday on the playa at Burning Man 2012, my friends had created Fractal Nation camp and I got to dance with Emancipator for the first time, a dream come true on a blue moon.
Dominical is a great place and a number of people have had the fortune to travel there to go to the Envision Festival- can you tell us a bit about how this festival got off the ground and what the highlights have been for you ?
Yes, one of our intentions with Envision was to put Dominical more on the map and it’s certainly done that!
The seed for Envision was actually sparked from our wedding. We had a mini-festival for our wedding in 2010 with Beats Antique, Marty Party, Rena Jones, Govinda, Lady Rizo, Michael Kang and others playing. It was a truly magical gathering. Josh, our neighbor in Costa Rica, attended our wedding and when a few friends met Josh and shared how they wanted to do a music festival in Costa Rica, he suggested bringing my husband and me into this project to make it happen.
Envision grew from 800 people in our back yard in 2011 to quadrupling in 2012 and now in its seventh year it sells out at 6,000.
One of the highlights was the opening ceremony on our land in 2011, holding hands with a few hundred people, watching the sun go down as we all came together in that moment to focus on what we wanted to envision and create in our lives. I invited everyone to use this time to dance their dream seeds into being and the power and seed that was birthed that first weekend had a force and movement of its own that has carried it through all of these years.
When we visited Dominical with our kids we loved Playa Ventanas because of the lack of rip tides -what are your favorite beaches in the area, or is that locals only secret ?
We love Ventanas as well!There are so many bays and coves starting at Dominical and heading south, as the Mountains rise right out of the sea which makes for widely varied landscape and too many different beaches to count in just a half hour drive. There are definitely some secret beaches, but for a more calm beach, Dominicalito is a great option just a few minutes from us. The Whale’s Tail beach at Marino Ballena Park is stunning and the park entry fee also helps protect sea life in the area. If you want to surf, Dominical and Playa Hermosa are great choices.
What would be your advice to someone just starting out on the path of teacher training?
Your first 200 HR YTT is just the beginning of your journey as a teacher.
I personally teach in my trainings that it’s vital for yoga teachers to live their yoga off the mat and to truly understand the philosophy of Yoga. Find what most inspires you to live your yoga and to live your YES. Create your own niche, your own expression from what deeply moves you. Continue to do online courses and create daily practices to fill you up so that you don’t get burned out from teaching 10-20 classes a week!Self Love is the key!Have your own practice and teach from your own life experience.
If you desire to participate in my upcoming YTT, click here.
All of the greatest adventures in life start with the word “Yes” – and I’ve noticed you encouraging people to “live your yes” – can you let us know a little what you mean by that and how you see this as a way of unlocking potential ?
YES! I guide people into discovering their highest desire for their life and recognizing the creative power within to bring their desires into being through their thoughts, beliefs, and actions. When we feel a YES rise up in our bodies, when every cell of our body says YES there is a frequency which vibrates in our bodies, the more we align with this frequency of YES, the more we attract what we are truly desiring in our lives.
YES is the frequency of our creative power giving rise.
Are you ready to access your inner warrior Goddess and awaken your fire for transformation? Flow with this 90 mix through a powerful yoga flow or dance journey to awaken Durga (hindu warrior Goddess) Connect to your inner sword of protection and strength and ride the waves of your breath as you flow to these rhythmic beats. “Om dum durgaye namaha” (I bow to the feminine energy that will protect me from all negativity)
Sofiah Thom lives to dance. Through sacred movement and creative expression, Sofiah exudes embodied wisdom that effortlessly inspires others to connect with their deepest purpose.
She teaches and performs in person around the globe. Driven by her lifelong passion for dance, creative expression and tantra yoga, Sofiah creates a safe container for personal empowerment, through guided movement journeys and inner exploration.
Named after the Greek goddess of wisdom and creativity, Sofiah dedicates her life’s work to teaching embodied wisdom through Yoga Teacher Trainings and Expressive Healing Arts.
Sofiah is the founder of Temple Body Arts™ offering in-depth immersions, on-line and in person to help women access their creative potential and Live their YES.
Sofiah is the co-author of The Path of the Priestess Book; Discover Your Divine Purpose.
Alongside her husband Brendan, Sofiah co-founded the Envision Festival in Costa Rica, a conscious festival celebrating music, art and sacred movement. Together, they co-founded Danyasa Eco-Retreat in the beautiful beach town of Dominical, Costa Rica.
Join Sofiah in Paradise live for one of her transformational Yoga Teacher Trainings or Live Your YES Quests.