Category Archives: Films

Interviews with producers, cinematographers, actors, etc.

behind the making of yoga-inspired films

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February 20, 2013

This week’s topic: Behind the Making of Yoga-Inspired Films

Interviews:
Catherine Hollander, editor of “When the Iron Bird Flies”
Gotham Chopra, filmmaker of “Decoding Deepak”
Vikram Gandhi, director of “Kumare”

Featured Music:
Electric Gypsy, Govinda
Witness, Travis Callison
Jai Shri Kumare, Laurel Devi
The Highest Pass, Michael Mollura feat. Jon Anderson

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senior moments

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January 30, 2013

This week’s topic: Senior Moments

Interviews:
Connie Corley, professor and host of “Experience Talks”
Elyse Briggs, yoga instructor and owner of Yoga at the Village
Nadine Diaz, Recruitment and Retention Coordinator at USC Memory and Aging Center

Featured Music:
Hara Hara Mahaadeva, Krishna Das
Hari Guna Gao, Jai Uttal
Shree Ram/Om, Wah!
Gayatri Mantra, Deva Premal

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staying healthy through the holidays

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November 28, 2012

This week’s topic: Staying Healthy Through the Holidays

until i can figure out how to embed the podomatic player, click here to listen to the podcast.

Interviews:
Andrea Marcum, yoga instructor and owner of UStudio Yoga
Jacki Carr, Recruitment Manager at lululemon athletica
Dr. Pedram Shojai, founder of well.org and producer/director of “Vitality”

Featured Music:
Om Mani Padme Hum, Mercedes Bahleda
Om Mozart, Dave Eggar Quartet
Sat Narayan Wahe Guru, Dev Suroop Kaur
Carry Me, Peter Kater & Snatam Kaur

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http://shechive.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/holiday-treat-24.jpg

i had originally planned to call the episode: “surviving the holidays”, then realized that it had a somewhat negative connotation — like the holiday season is something we should dread. while it should be a time of visiting with friends and family, exchanging of gifts and warm wishes, and partaking of delicious food and drink, there’s a chance we’ll be trying to figure out how to squeeze all those visitors into a tiny one-bedroom apartment, squeeze the parties, shopping, and work into a few short weeks, and sadly, squeeze ourselves into our jeans once the merrymaking is all over. see what i mean?

trying to put a more positive spin on it, i decided to call on some friends to talk about their tips on minimizing stress during the holidays.

andrea marcum is a yoga teacher and owner of U studio yoga in LA. she’s written a number of articles for various websites, with her most recent one about santosha, or contentment, at greenster.comSecret Santa-tosha: Finding Peace for the Holidays

during the course of our conversation, i mentioned to andrea that i had just found out that the flight i was booked on to visit my family in the philippines was going to take a whopping 30 HOURS when it usually should take almost half the time (i should mention that it was booked using airline miles, so it ended up being the maximum inconvenience for the minimum cost)! she then shared her tips on surviving a long plane flight (there’s that word “survive” again) and later sent me the article she wrote about it, also on greenster: Return to Your Upright Position – Yoga Takes Flight

jacki carr has worked with lululemon athletica for a number of years now and has moved up in the ranks from sales associate to recruitment manager. she travels a lot for her job and has moved from one city to another a few times since i first met her. jacki also leads workshops on goal-setting at yoga conferences, so having her on the show to share her experiences seemed like a perfect fit.

on the show, jacki and i talked about making realistic plans and about how trying to aim for goals that initially seem out of reach may not necessarily be a bad idea. by the way, contrary to what i said on the show, jacki IS back in LA. i keep forgetting that she lives just a few miles from me because i rarely see her… and we’ve vowed to fix that 🙂

dr. pedram shojai is the founder of well.org and the producer/director of a new documentary on living well called “vitality“. i had heard about him when yogaworks screened his film earlier this month at their main street studio. “vitality” talks about the current healthcare system, which focuses on treating diseases rather than preventing them. so i invited pedram to talk about his thoughts on health and vitality, and later in the conversation, we found ourselves talking about the depression that’s sometimes triggered during the holidays.

all the music on the show were new “gifts” that i’m sharing with all — either from demo CDs or free downloads from websites, thanks to white swan records and spirit voyage:

– “path to bliss: chants of tibetan heart yoga” by mercedes bahleda

– “meditative massage music: healing instrumentals for peace & quiet” by various artists

– “essence” by dev suroop kaur

– “heart of the universe” by peter kater & snatam kaur

 

let the holiday merrymaking begin!

empowered women

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October 24, 2012

This week’s topic: Empowered Women

until i can figure out how to embed the podomatic player, click here to listen to the podcast.

Interviews:
Kate McIntyre Clere, producer/director of “Yogawoman”
Susan Nichols, founder of Yogitoes
Jo Tastula, yoga instructor and creator of “High Vibrations Yoga”

Featured Music:
Lokah Samastah (Sean Dinsmore’s Happy Free Mix), Sharon Gannon
Grandmother Moon, Sacred Earth
Better For It, Lisbeth Scott
Where, Lisbeth Scott

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i’m not sure if i should blame today’s technical difficulties on the upcoming mercury retrograde, or on the fact that i ran into the studio at the stroke of 1pm and didn’t get a chance to get settled down before going live.

or that right as i was trying to get used to the mic and mic stand that someone had left by the soundboard (the one i usually use was moved to the other side of the room and i didn’t have time to swap them), i heard a strange noise coming from the stack of fruit boxes on the table next to me… and realized something was MOVING in one of those boxes! oh my god. was it a small dog? or a rat? WHAT THE HECK WAS IT??

just then, another DJ walked into the room and started moving the boxes around while i was interviewing my first guest. it turned out that he had brought over his pets because his apartment was being fumigated. and right as he was about to walk out of the studio to grab lunch, he introduced me to the rest of his family: auggie, the red boa constrictor, and sam and ellis, the turtles.

just great. he left me alone with a gigantic snake and assured me that he wouldn’t bite.  even more reason why i didn’t venture to the other side of the room to swap microphones!

which was quite ironic, considering how the show was about empowered women and i was feeling totally powerless, at least at the start.

speaking of empowered women, i had a fun time talking with my empowered female guests:

kate mcintyre clere, one of the producer/directors of the new “yogawoman” film, opening here in LA on october 26th (it opened in NYC last week and will be opening across the country later this year).

susan nichols, founder and CEO of yogitoes, who will be hosting the “divine female” beauty event at their new rexperience lab on october 25th-28th; it’s also a fundraiser for breast cancer awareness.

jo tastula, a yoga teacher here in LA who’s produced a yoga and meditation DVD, “high vibrations yoga”, complete with stunning scenery and perfectly matched music composed by lisbeth scott.

musical interludes on the show came from the yet-to-be-released soundtrack from “yogawoman” as well as a track from “om sweet om“, lisbeth scott’s companion CD to jo’s DVD. i also added a track that was a free download on lisbeth scott’s website. much appreciated!

here’s the trailer for “yogawoman”:

after the show, i found out that the recording i’d made had all kinds of sound issues – not only was the mic input less than desirable, but the music feed was equally distorted. arghhhhhhh! but thanks to audio edit tools, i replaced the corrupted music sections with the pristine versions, which should make listening to this episode a lot more palatable.

by the way, jo was right about the snake. here’s what i found under “18 omens of good fortune” on the world of feng shui website:

Meeting Up With A Snake

Is another sign of good fortune. Whether in your garden, inside the home, or out trekking, if you meet up with a snake, it means something or someone important is coming into your life. Never ever try to harm or kill a snake when confronted with one. The more poisonous the snake, the better is the good fortune. The king cobra is described as a snake of extreme good fortune. Whatever you do, never kill a snake as they are also associated with some spiritual presence.

so there you go.  i’ll be waiting for that stroke of good fortune to come my way… soon, i hope!

be the change

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October 3, 2012

This week’s topic: Be the Change

until i can figure out how to embed the podomatic player, click here to listen to the podcast.

Interviews:
Jocelyn Kay Lee, creator, director, and performer at “Wee Yogis Play”
Thea Mercouffer, filmmaker of “Rock the Boat – Saving America’s Wildest River”
Aaron Paley, co-founder and Executive Producer of CicLAvia

Featured Music:
Be the Change (The Story of Mahatma Gandhi), MC Yogi (audio from YouTube video)
Just Believe, Kaylee Smiles
Namaste, Kaylee Smiles
One River, Benjy Wertheimer & John de Kadt
Let’s Talk About Occupation (We Are The 99%) Official Music Video, Guido Corleone (audio from YouTube video)

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it’s now october, national yoga month is over, and after five weeks of nothing but interviews about yoga, my initial thought was to have guests who were involved with anything other than yoga on the show…

so i searched my email inbox as well as my facebook feed for ideas. but since half of my messages/feed are about yoga and the other half are about everything else, it was almost inevitable that i’d find something yoga-related that i REALLY wanted to mention. and, in this case, it was 143rd anniversary of mahatma gandhi’s birthday on october 2nd and the gandhi-inspired “be the change” video that MC yogi had just released.

speaking of anniversaries and change, the first anniversary of the occupy LA movement was on october 1st, so i also wanted to share the video guido corleone (and yes, it’s a pseudonym) posted in honor of the occasion.

there was an email i’d received from george wolfe of LA river expeditions that said: “This Thursday, October 4th, is the LA Premiere of an awesome new documentary— all about the LA River and its revitalization, as well as other important issues related to how we use our steadily shrinking water resources…” since i was fortunate enough to have actually paddled a kayak up and down a section of the river with george’s expedition group, i reached out to him, and he put me in touch with the filmmaker of “rock the boat“, thea mercouffer. who also happens to be his wife.

i knew that i was going to be riding my bike at cicLAvia this coming sunday, october 7th, and i knew that many of my westside friends still had NO idea what this uber-awesome bike/walk/dance/play event was all about. so i contacted the cicLAvia PR people and they set me up with aaron paley, one of the original people responsible for making it happen in the first place.

with the conscious life expo opening near LAX this weekend for a three-day run, i reached out to the organizers for an interview; unfortunately, they were in the midst of event prep work and had to decline my request. but as if divine intervention were looking out for me, a message landed in my inbox about “wee yogis play“, the first-ever yoga musical for kids. it turned out that a good number of the performers in the musical are yoga teachers i know and/or have heard about, so i immediately contacted them and got jocelyn kay lee on the show.

i added some music from “wee yogis play” and the title track from benjy wertheimer and john de kadt’s  “one river” album, and boom — we have a show!

of course, i didn’t count on the killradio.org website being down while my show was supposed to air live. so the only person on the show who knew what was going on was yours truly. i suppose worse things could’ve happened.

as for the show IOU’s, i.e., the links to ticket purchase sites, here they are:

“wee yogis play” at the magicopolis theatre on saturday and sunday, oct 13th-14th 5pm: indiegogo

“rock the boat” at the downtown independent theater on thursday, oct 4th 7pm: brown paper tickets

and here’s the link to the “hungry for change” film: FREE online screener

i also mentioned the wrong url for my podcast site. it’s ayogist.podomatic.com NOT podcast.podomatic.com — you’d think i’d be able to say it in my sleep by now!

finally, i searched the internet and found out there was no one named guido corleone in “the godfather”. shows you how bad i am with movie trivia… which is why this show is called “yoga chat” and not “movie chat” 🙂

capturing the essence of yoga on film

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September 5, 2012

This week’s topic: Capturing the Essence of Yoga on Film

until i can figure out how to embed the podomatic player, click here to listen to the podcast.

Interviews:
Ron Fricke, director of ‘Samsara’
Mark Magidson, producer of ‘Samsara’
Jahnava Hausner, producer of ‘Women of Bhakti’
Pete Hoffman, winemaker at Aum Wine Cellars and featured in ‘Aum: You Are What You Drink’

Featured Music:
Cebu, Michael Stearns
Modern Life, Michael Stearns
Devaki, Karnamrita Dasi
My Body is a Temple (Krishna Murari), Gaura Vani & As Kindred Spirits

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happy september! happy yoga month!

i don’t know if it’s just me, but there seems to be an abundance of yoga-themed documentaries catering to the growing yoga market these days. so i decided to highlight a few of those films in this week’s episode, preferably those just hitting the market. i started scouring the internet for these new releases.

while listening to KCRW last month, i’d heard that a meditation-inspired release, ‘samsara‘, had been selected for the august screening of matt’s movies, a film series curated for an indie film-loving crowd. at that point, i knew i just HAD to feature it on the show. luckily, it was also reviewed in the september issue of LA yoga magazine, so i had the article’s author put me in touch with the filmmakers, ron fricke and mark magidson. and the rest, as they say, is history.

at around the same time, a local yoga studio hosted a screening of ‘women of bhakti‘ (which, unfortunately, i couldn’t make), so i sent a request to the filmmakers via the film’s website, and soon after, producer jahnava hausner sent a message back and said she’d be happy to talk about the film.

still in search of a third film to round out the show line-up, i happened upon a film-in-process about yoga and wine called ‘aum: you are what you drink‘ and through a combination of social media tweeting, facebooking, and emailing, i got in touch with the film production person who put me in touch with pete hoffman, the winemaker from aum wine cellars who was featured in the documentary.

the guest line-up was pretty much in place two weeks before air date, so i half expected that after i’d finalized the music (from the films’ soundtracks), it would be nothing but clear sailing from that point on.

of course, right as i was about to cue up the opening track, i discovered that the CD player was emitting strange clicking sounds. and right as i was about to switch CD players, the phone rang. my first guests were calling in while i was in mid-transfer. while i was broadcasting nothing but dead air. and in that brief moment of madness, i completely forgot what i had planned to ask them. perfect.

there was another technical glitch later on that only those listening live would’ve heard: i thought i was playing music from my laptop but all that was coming out was dead silence. and just as i was about to troubleshoot the cause of the problem, my next guests called in on a conference call… and their phone connection was likewise problematic! thank god for lewis victor, another DJ who happened to be in the studio at the time; he figured out the solution to the sound problem while i tried to resolve the phone problem. and thank god for audio editing tools, because none of that ended up on the podcast! my apologies, though, to brandon ross, one of the producers of  ‘aum‘, who had to drop off the conference call just so pete hoffman and i could hear each other well enough for the interview.

and in one last instance of where-did-i-leave-my-brain-today, i forgot to intro the closing track of the show, which came from the soundtrack to ‘women of bhakti’. so here it is, belatedly — it’s ‘my body is a temple’ by gaura vani & as kindred spirits.

to give you a better idea of the films themselves, here are links to their trailers…

‘samsara’ – produced by mark magidson, directed by ron fricke, musical direction by michael stearns and mark magidson

‘women of bhakti’ – written and produced by jahnava hausner, cinematography by hillary tapper

‘aum: you are what you drink’ – produced by reading in the dark productions

taking it on the road

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July 25, 2012

This week’s topic: Taking It On the Road

until i can figure out how to embed the podomatic player, click here to listen to the podcast.

Interviews:
Krishna Prem, author of “Gee You Are You”
Robert Galinsky, Vice-President of Social Marketing at Terra Fossil Wines
Sara Landas, co-director of “The Goddess Project”
Holli Thomas, co-director of “The Goddess Project”

Featured Music:
So Alive, Wade Imre Morissette
Barrelman, Brian Chartrand
Rise in Me (C.K. Remix), Suzanne Sterling
This is the Day, Jaya Lakshmi

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sometimes you have to trust that the universe is going to give you exactly what you need when you need it.

at a kirtan a few months ago, my friend darshana thacker introduced me to krishna prem, an osho follower just like herself. he was a very gregarious guy and had just published his book “Gee yoU aRe yoU” (it spells GURU – get it?). darshana thought he’d make a great guest on the show, so we exchanged information and i told him i’d touch base with him the next time he was in town. and as what usually happens when i have too many things on the brain, i forgot all about him… until i spotted his book sitting in a stack by my computer.  i reached out to him, and luckily for me, he happened to be in town and was available for a guest spot. whew!

with KP on the guest list, i thought it’d be nice to have a book-centric show, so i contacted other authors (including one “celebrity” vegan cookbook author who never seems to have time for me; so be it), but nothing panned out. i also contacted maria santoferraro to make good on my promise to have her on the show for an update on the ongoing yoga book club. unfortunately, she had just returned from a family vacation and needed time to decompress. she did tweetroduce me (is there such a word?) to sara landas and holli thomas, two women traveling the country in a vegetable oil-powered schoolbus in search of goddesses with stories to tell. they were excited to share their own story about the goddess project and i was excited to have them!

while checking my email inbox for responses to the inquiries i sent out, i came across a message from NYC-based robert galinsky about an upcoming happy hour mixer in burbank which will feature terra fossil wines and an eclectic list of speakers. one of them is a kundalini yoga teacher who does health consulting and the others are involved in social media and filmmaking. not only did it hint at stimulating conversation, but it was also FREE. i was definitely on board!

i seemed to find myself sitting on a wealth of new music — a mantra dance CD that was gifted to me by wade imre morissette, as well as some newly-downloaded playlists from yogitunes and white swan / black swan records — so i spent a quiet tuesday night listening to some 40 tracks and picked four to feature on the show.

did i mention that we finally have a new sound board at the studio that actually works? which means i’ll probably spend less time editing the sound levels on my podcasts! awesome.

here’s the video of the goddess gals on their indiegogo website:

here’s the link to the eventbrite ticket site for the the panel of new ideas happy hour in burbank on wednesday, august 1st at 7pm.

and here’s the exclusive online discount code for tickets to next weekend’s moksha festival in santa monica on august 4th and 5th: JYUNG

i hope to see you at either or both of those events!