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I HAVE A CONFESSION TO MAKE...

 

I am a bad yogi. I don’t yoga nor meditate everyday. I have not been to India; I’m not vegan. I hate chai tea and I drink alcohol on special occasions. I’m not very flexible. I’m the girl who still looks around in class sometimes, wondering if I'm doing "it" right. I can't do a handstand (yet) and my crow is still work-in-progress. I hate knees-chest-chin because it hurts my neck. I don’t have a six-pack abs. I am afraid of frogs, and snakes and fishes. I am afraid of getting things wrong. I am always seeking approval. I love chanting OM; I’m not spiritual nor religious.
 
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Hi my name is Sophie Sanders, but you might also know me as Sophie Kassim.


I was born in 1977 in Singapore as Shariffah Binte Kassim, and to be honest, the real reason I changed my name is because I hated my given name, and that’s mainly because I was made fun of when I was younger due my mispronouncing of the letter R, with my lisp and so-called short tongue. I kept it as my middle name though as it is my culture and it’s the name I was born with. Now you know.

My dad is 2nd generation Boyanese and my maternal granddad was a Bugis and lived in Pulau Bukom before moving to Singapore. I have 4 sisters, and I am the second child, and the joke was that my dad kept on trying for a boy, and gave up at girl no. 5. When I was younger, I I wished I had a brother, but right now I wouldn’t exchange my sisters for the world.

We lived in Bedok South Road till the age of 12 before moving to Pasir Ris, and that is where my family reside till today, and where you can find me almost every Sunday.

I’ve always felt like the black sheep of my family, the one who don’t belong. And there was a time when I entertained the thought that I was adopted because I felt different. And so I’ve done things totally opposite to what I should have done like I did a banking degree, instead of an accounting degree (like my dad wanted me to); I chose a school furthest from my home, I moved out when I was 22, I  dated non-muslims and I didn’t make my husband convert to Islam.

 

 

My parents are not perfect but they made me who I am today. My dad worked 2 jobs to get all his daughters to university. My mum is a housewife who cooked, cleaned and took care of us the best she can. My very wise husband said this -  they raised 5 strong-willed and independent women into this world, whether they liked it or not, and that is no mean feat. And for that I am grateful.

When I found yoga I had no idea how much my life would change. I don’t have a typical yoga teacher experience where *poof* I fell in love with yoga right away. It was no big secret that yoga was “haram” back then. The first yoga class I tried was when I was 21, it was so uncomfortably slow. And back then - Dancing Queen was my jam; and I was love working out at the gym.

So before yoga, I was very much into dancing; hiphop, jazz, contemporary, salsa, exotic dance, pole dancing.

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MY YOGA JOURNEY AND HOW IT STARTED ...


My journey began when my then boyfriend (now husband) bought me a membership at Pure Yoga in 2011, and yes, I was that girl who took that mat in the corner, in the last row, feeling scared before the class, refusing to make eye contact; and I kept looking around during class, wondering if I am doing the right thing PLUS I was worried about what other people may think of me.

It didn’t help that I also felt frustrated after every class;

my wrist hurts;

my heels are not touching the ground in my downward dog

I can’t do a crow.

Physically, I loved that I sweated buckets and my body ached in the right places but mentally I wasn’t feeling it.

Is this all there is to yoga? When is it going to be easy? Why don’t I look like everyone else? Why am I not flexible? What’s wrong with my body?

Then I found Baptiste Yoga - my first experience of it was the 40 days to Personal Revolution in 2012 -  40 days of leaving work on time, 90 mins classes, inquiry work and sharing (WHAT!!??)… I was pushed past my edge, and I did survive and I knew something needs to change for me.

 

 

 

The change wasn’t instantaneous , it was after 4 years of doing the work, my 200 hours teacher training, my Baptiste Level 1 and 2 training that gave me access to new possibilities in my practice, my teaching and my life.

The old me believed a story she has been telling herself in her subconscious mind  that she is a bad girl. And she is ashamed, has guilt and feels she is not unworthy of love or attention. She has fear of being judged, being a disappointment and a failure.

The New me now knows that that story is something she made up to mean something about herself and it’s not true. It’s a lie. The lie will keep coming up though because it is her limiting core belief. And it's ok because the new me is now aware and acknowledge that the story is a Lie.

Right now, my new way of being is of LOVE, COURAGE & POSSIBILITIES, and the hiding I give up is my sadness. I am on a journey of being in love with myself every single day and I’m in the practice of giving up my guilt and shame and being a yes to forgiveness and kindness.

So that’s my (real) story so far.

 

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I want to live in a world where there are no frogs and hugs in abundant supply!


I’m a simple girl really, loyal, stubborn and a rebel at heart; I love the good things in life, I hate confrontations, I’m a worrier and I’m not very good with change - all the traits of a Taurean.
Being in the sun makes me really happy. I love anything to do with Marvel comics, love reading maps and I’m otherwise known as the human tom tom.
I love to dance. I love making people laugh. I love to sleep a lot. I love my nespresso machine. I love helping other people shine. I’m a secret homebody (yes I love staying at home).

WHAT I TEACH

I teach mainly Baptiste Power Vinyasa with a sprinkle of yin yoga and pilates. Sometimes I do get the occasional calls to teach a lap dance class. I write about yoga, and mostly  not about yoga, more about my life experiences, my motivations and inspirations.

MY PASSION

I’m passionate about leaving this world and people a little happier than how I found it. My dream is share my teaching and my writings to everyone all over the world. I want to build a connected community without walls, where we are unafraid to stand in our own being of power. I want to empower others to to find their own pockets of joyfulness, cultivate balance and create a life they love.

 

Questions? ➤  sophie@amipoweryoga.com.
I would absolutely love to connect with you.

Namaste, Sophie. X