Media Reviews: Film PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Felicia M. Tomasko, Melissa Chua, & Carrie Searles   

Suncookers: Earth Cinema Circle

People chop wood and carry water in order to cook, yet worldwide both fuel and water are becoming increasingly scarce, particularly in East African countries such as Kenya. According to the short documentary Suncookers, deforestation increases soil degradation
and in Kenya only 3% of the forest cover remains and the destruction is accelerating.Some areas that were once shady acacia forests are now bare refugee camps. Catherine Scott's film, Suncookers, shot in Nairobi and the Kakuma Refugee Camp, spotlights a solution: “Firewood is in short supply, but sunlight is abundant.”

In this upbeat story, we follow Solar Cookers International community educator Margaret Owino as she teaches people how to harness the free energy of the sun with a solar cooker to cook their food and sterilize their water and through this, change their lives. Following Margaret through her day singing about solar cooking, teaching the procedure for using the ovens and inspiring tens of thousands of families to begin using the energy of the sun to prepare their food is nothing short of inspiring. The people making the switch to solar have reaped the benefit, and more than one goat, cow, chicken or other animal is named after Margaret, or a solar cooker, since money diverted from firewood purchases can now be used more productively. Watching the film gave me hope that we can, indeed, change our world and make a difference…and still eat freshly baked cake, cooked in a solar oven.

Suncookers is one of the selections in the Earth Cinema Circle collection, to join visit: For more information on solar Cookers International, visit: –– Felicia Marie Tomasko, RN

Overcoming Obstacles
Overcoming Obstacles
Overcoming Obstacles: The Secret to Success by Kimberly Fowler, YAS

Kimberly Fowler's Overcoming Obstacles: The Secret to Success chronicles Fowler's compelling journey enduring near-death experiences and surviving undeniable hurdles to achieve her dream of becoming the "Martha Stewart of fitness." While interacting with a live audience, Fowler shares her success story as the entrepreneur spearheading the rapidly expanding YAS (Yoga and Spinning) Fitness Centers, beginning with her thriving Venice Beach location. She talks about overcoming a fatal brain tumor and facing serious injuries, only to lose everything in the stock market crash.

What's her secret? This is just what she wants to share, and she does: five principles that have helped this powerhouse overcome her obstacles are Just Jump, Power Focus, Dig Deep, Uncomfortable Zone and Self Belief. Fowler also emphasizes empowering mantras that helped her conquer her demons, such as "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger," and "You can really do anything, if you set your mind to it."

Overcoming Obstacles aims to inspire people trying to overcome difficulty in their own lives, and it does just that. Fowler's personal connection with those watching is heartfelt and sincere as she encourages them to strive to make their dreams a reality no matter what obstacles they encounter along the way. Her unwavering search for happiness and success is contagious.

For more information or to order visit: or

Melissa Chua is a recent graduate from Cal-State Northridge’s journalism program and an editorial intern at LA YOGA who is learning to overcome her own obstacles. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Special Needs Yoga with Bea Ammidown
Special Needs Yoga with Bea Ammidown
Special Needs Yoga with Bea Ammidown: The YogAbility Institute

The deep love and joy that Bea has for people with special needs can be felt instantly when viewing this video. It shows the beauty of yoga that is created when a connection is made between a student and teacher filled with love. In Special Needs Yoga Ammidown works with two of her students, a 25-year-old woman with cerebral palsy and an 82-year-old man who has survived a stroke. Ammidown leads the two of them through a seated sequence, then a floor sequence with the young woman and a standing sequence with the gentleman. Conversations with caregivers and interviews with medical professionals are also included.

Special Needs Yoga is inspiring to watch if you want to observe a beautiful student/teacher dynamic. Ammidown provides ideas and instruction on how caregivers and yoga teachers can creatively instruct students who are in wheelchairs or have very limited mobility. This is more useful as an informative watch than to follow along with for a home practice. Since the audibility of Ammidown’s voice fluctuates, it is helpful to have the remote nearby. The strengths of Special Needs Yoga are in the experience
and heart Ammidown brings to this most important work of making yoga accessible to all, and finding the healing power in the practice for those with special needs and their often worn-out caregivers.

For more information on Bea Ammidown’s work through the nonprofit Yogability Institute, or to order the DVD, visit:

Carrie Searles E-RYT 500, MA, is a certified Ayurvedic consultant and is also certified in Structural Yoga Therapy under the teachings of Mukunda Stiles. She is currently living in Littleton, Colorado and is getting an MBA at the University of Denver.


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