Yoga Wisdom of The Day

by Stephanie on September 19, 2014

Happiness is inward, and not outward; and so, it does not depend on what we have, but on what we are” ~ Henry Van Dyke

Stephanie Spence, Encinitas, CA Stephanie Spence, Encinitas, CA

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Kia Miller ~ Q&A with Yoga Teacher Kia Miller

by Stephanie on September 17, 2014

Kia MillerReally excited to introduce you to Kia Miller. I met Kia at Bhakti Fest, September 2014. One of the most well-known Kundalini teachers in the West, Kia has an ability to translate the subtle teachings of Kundalini Yoga in a highly accessible way. Kia’s study of yoga began when she was 15. She is certified in both Hatha and Kundalini and teaches workshops, retreats and teacher trainings throughout the world. Kia’s passion is to share the Kundalini tradition infused with Bhakti. Kia’s classes are a powerful mix of asana, breath, meditation and chanting that will leave you uplifted and empowered. Enjoy her Q&A.

1. How did you find/begin your yoga journey? What put you on this path?
I began my yoga journey when I picked up a Rachel Welch book on beauty when I was 15. She had 26 postures in the book that captured my imagination and I practiced them at home for 2 years. My thought was “if it is good enough for Rachel then it is good enough for me!” Later, when I moved to London I began practicing at the Life Center with Godfrey Duffroux and others. I was modeling at the time and although I was used to everyone judging me by how I looked, I had no real connection to my body and felt disconnected on many levels. Yoga became a haven of self exploration, a time to connect to the possiblities of my body. I entered the practice barely able to touch my toes. The amount of flexibility I have now is a miracle considering where I came from. I am a living example of what a regular yoga practice can do for you.

2. How do you use yoga to overcome challenges?
The practice of yoga occurs on many levels: physical, emotional, mental. Through my own commitment on my mat to stay in a challenging pose, or concentrate on a breath pattern, or mantra I have made great progress in strengthening myself so that I can stay calm in face of a storm. I have learned to take pause before acting and to allow a little space when I get agitated or upset so I can process feelings before acting on them. I have also learned about the patterns of my mind and can see when I am in a negative spin and turn myself around. This is the greatest gift of yoga – freedom in my mind, or at least the opportunity and knowledge of how to change my way of thinking to support the kind of growth, happiness and opportunity I call into my life.

3. What are a personal goal(s)/ambition(s) you would like to share.
I love to share the wisdom of yoga because I believe that is a pathway to wholeness and inner peace. I have studied extensively for the last 20 years. My greatest joy is to share what has moved me, what has worked for me and my students. My next goal is to offer more teacher trainings, this has two aspects – on one level I will begin to offer 60 hour modules of in-depth study of different yogic topics like: mantra, pranayama, kriya, meditation etc. The other part of it is to maintain balance with my personal life: time for retreat, my husband, friends etc. I find it a fine art to balance action and stillness in my life. Something I cam continually working on!

4. What advice would you give to a young teacher who looks up to you for inspiration?
I was just asked by someone is it worth becoming a yoga teacher in what appears to be a saturated market. Here is my response:
I understand your concerns about there being a lot of yoga teachers in your area. There are also a lot here in Los Angeles, particularly in Santa Monica and Venice as you can imagine. I find that there is work enough for all. There are those whose personality and charisma make it very quickly with classes and privates, and then there are those for whom it takes a little longer to cultivate just the right niche. What I see is that all those completely dedicated to the path are able to make it work. It is not a career that brings in finances quickly, so many people need to keep their ‘day job’ for the first 2-3 years and teach on the side (a couple of classes a week) – this helps new teachers to build confidence and to hone their skills without the pressure of needing it to be their source of income. I myself did this for two years before I took the leap to just teach yoga. In the transition period getting private clients are good as that is where a teacher can make more money per class.
The key to staying ahead in the game is to be a well educated and resourceful teacher, one who develops the ability to meet the student where they are and translate the teachings into a palatable way that is inspiring for the student to keep coming.
Beginning teachers cannot be fussy about what they teach, if someone wants to work out with yoga, then provide them that, if you are lucky you will also get students who are interested in the deeper experience. The key is to serve who comes without judgement or preference. If you have a deep calling to become a teacher then follow that call and see what it opens up for you.

5. What words of wisdom can you share with someone who has not yet tried yoga. (SS: I have heard recently that there are people who are still very intimidated by trying – I would like to reach out to them.)
I understand there is intimidation when it comes to trying yoga. One of the often spoken comments I get is “Oh I am too stiff to do yoga!” to which I reply “that is exactly why you need to do yoga!” However these people see yoga ads with slender people in advanced poses and feel that it is not for them. Also it can be intimidating stepping into a studio and choosing a class. What I have found works for many people is to go on a friends recommendation, or call a studio, explain your background and ask them which classes they recommend. I also advice that people do not stop at one class, as another comment I get is “Oh, I tried yoga, it wasn’t for me” – when I dig deeper I find that the class was too hard, or they did not resonate with the teacher, or they felt out of place. It is important to keep trying classes until you find a teacher that inspires you to want to keep coming. Once you have found a class, then introduce yourself to fellow class mates. Often I go to class simply because I want to be in the community. It starts to feel like a second home, and certainly a place that I can go to be restored and have time for myself.
There is a yoga style and practice out there for everyone, big, small, stiff, flexible, injured etc. Yoga is an evolving tradition. Part of what makes it so exciting to me is that these ancient practices are being molded by master teachers to meet the student where they are at. Some like sweaty challenging classes, others like to be still and savor each position and develop their ability to calm their mind, still others like a fun teacher who plays music, or blends yoga with some other fitness regime. There is truly something for everyone and once you find a practice that resonates, that is the doorway in to a whole world of exploration. I started with a very physical practice, then became interested in the philosophy, which inspired me to try pranayama and meditation. I have now developed a deep love for all aspects of yoga.

Closing thoughts: 
“I am grateful to all the sages and teachers of the past who laid down the pathways for us to follow. I have found my strength, my sense of self and purpose through yoga. I have learned how to create a happy and fulfilled life. Yoga looks at the whole person: our body, our diet and vitality, the way we think, our relationships, and our purpose. This is why it is a vital practice in a world where we desperately need to learn how to live in balance with ourselves, the earth and each other.” Kia Miller

~

UPCOMING EVENTS WITH KIA
RADIANT BODY YOGA 200 HOUR TEACHER TRAINING, RISHIKESH, INDIA
March 8 April 2nd
Radiant Body is a holistic approach to yoga, which has its roots in both the Hatha and Kundalini traditions.
The Radiant Body Yoga teacher training combines the technical precision of Ashtanga and Iyengar with the subtle dimensions of Kundalini. The training is a comprehensive, life reaffirming process that explores the healing and transformational aspects of yoga. Radiant Body Yoga is a powerful pathway to personal empowerment and excellence as a teacher. The foundational (200-hour) program includes, asana practice, anatomy, philosophy, and the 8 limbed path, the subtle body and the art of teaching. This training is ideal for serious students and aspiring teachers. YOGA-ALLIANCE CERTIFIED

Click here for other upcoming events with Kia

Join Kia on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram

Please share on your social media too! I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to practice with Kia. Looking forward to your thoughts. Drop me a note.

Namaste ~

Stephanie

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Mas Vidal ~ Yoga Teacher Interview

September 13, 2014

As an ongoing tribute to all the great teachers that I have practiced with and all of the beautiful wisdom and love they have shared with me, I’m thrilled to introduce you to Mas Vidal. I recently had the great pleasure of practicing under him at Bhakti Fest.

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The Art of Fearless Storytelling: 10 Tips to Become a Better Writer

September 12, 2014

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August 21, 2014

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11 Life Lessons I Learned From Yoga

July 28, 2014

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July 15, 2014

  A strong and flexible body, glowing beautiful skin, peaceful mind, good health – whatever you may be looking for, yoga can help you achieve that. However, very often, yoga is only partially understood as being limited to asanas (yoga poses). As such, its benefits are only perceived to be at the body level and […]

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July 9, 2014

From beginner to advanced, yogis from all over the world will be at Yoga Journal Live here in San Diego. Hope to see you there!   Relax and let go. As soon as you leave home, determine to put all problems out of your mind. Tell yourself the more you allow your mind to focus on […]

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Yogis Over 50

June 9, 2014

I love that technology has the capacity to connect, educate and enrich our lives. This tool has given me the opportunity to stay connected to family and friends ~ and to learn more about them too. Technology makes my life simpler. It also alerts to me to surprises and gifts.   What an amazing surprise […]

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Save on Yoga Journal Live Conference in San Diego, California

June 2, 2014

So excited to share a great deal with you – I’m working at the upcoming Yoga Journal Events YJLive in San Diego July 10-14 – use my private promo code : STEPH Register with my promo code, STEPH , to receive 20% off All Day Intensives, Weekend and Full Event Passes for YJLIVE! Visit www.yjevents.com. The conference is […]

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