Please join me in welcoming Whole Life Yogi Laura Miller to the Whole Life Blog this month. I’ve been honored to have Laura in my teacher training this past year, and she’s been kind enough to answer a few questions for me today. You can reach Laura at firstname.lastname@example.org and on her Facebook page. Laura, take it away!
Why and when did you start practicing yoga?
I remember being a little girl and when you would walk out of the grocery store there were these little small books about everything from dieting and recipes to different kinds of exercise. This would’ve been back in the 1960s. And I remember asking my mom if I could get one little book and it was about yoga.
Now I didn’t understand the concept behind it but I really enjoyed doing it, practicing those poses in that little book. Yoga still was not something that I knew much about really until I was a teenager but in grade school I sure enjoyed paging through that cute little book and practicing the yoga positions.
What made you decide to take a teacher training program?
Even though I’ve been taking a variety of types of yoga classes throughout probably the past 30 years, I felt that at this stage in my life I wanted to know yoga far better than I already did.
I wanted to be able to immerse myself in a program that I really believed in, not just to perhaps help others especially my massage therapy clients, but to be able to have a yoga foundation that would last me for the rest of my life especially as I am now approaching 60 years old. To be able to keep my flexibility, balance, and strength is extremely important to me.
Knowing that Yoga encompasses so many facets other than just asana, the ability to practice breathing techniques and meditation and calming the monkey mind, are all so beneficial to anyone at any stage but I felt such a need to just understand it all deeper and to know the background and the heritage.
Finding Viniyoga, and this was the first school I had even gone to inquire about the teacher training, and I was not familiar with this type of yoga, and yet it certainly spoke to me and I knew that it’s therapeutic nature would benefit me the rest of my own life much less the people that I would be teaching it to.
What population do you most enjoy teaching?
I am happy teaching any age group from children all the way on up through seniors, but I would say that given my own age that being able to work with seniors and helping them to have a basic practice is one of the most helpful things anyone can do to aid the aging process and keep it as graceful as possible.
I’m also very interesting it in designing a program for doing yoga outdoors, and also incorporating yoga with hiking. Definitely a passion of mine that I will be working on this summer.
What is the worst thing about yoga in America?
This is an easy one for me, I think the worst thing is that unlike a country like India, we don’t teach children yoga at an extremely young age whether it’s at home or in school. To have a yoga practice starting early in life, the health benefits alone would be tremendous. I certainly wish for myself to have had a foundation like this, and I would love to see yoga integrated into schools and into more park and rec programs for children. And then that reaches out to the far end of the age spectrum as we become seniors, to include more yoga classes in senior centers and nursing homes, to help bring some peace and calm and gentle movement as we age.
What non-yoga thing are you very passionate about?
I am extremely passionate about animals, all animals but dogs in particular because that is what I am able to fill my home with! We volunteer for a local dog rescue organization, that takes in blind dogs and any with medical issues. We have fostered and also adopted some of our foster dogs, and being an advocate for those who cannot speak for themselves is extremely important to me.
As a society, ensuring that all creatures are respected and well taken care of I believe it’s something that should just automatically happen but it doesn’t. There is a lot of work to be done in the area of animal rescue and I’m happy that were able to do our small part.
I love dogs, too! And I think what you and your partner Patrick do for special needs dogs is simply astounding. Now, here’s an offbeat question for you: Yoga pants, Fashion statement or work of the devil!
I think that yoga pants are extremely comfortable and I definitely wear them a lot. I think for movement whether it’s yoga or other forms of exercise, they are about the best thing out there for working out. Now I’ve seen some amazing styles and colors, but I’m kind of a neutral black yoga pants kind of gal! But there are some amazing fashion statement outfits out there for yoga,
What is the best thing about yoga in America?
Well I probably should say yoga pants, ha ha! But I would say the best thing is that we’re seeing it more and more often, at health clubs and park and rec centers, yoga studios are popping up all over the place. At least it gets more exposure for yoga and then hopefully people will find what type of yoga works best for them.
What is your favorite yoga pose and why?
At first thought I would say child’s pose, it’s relaxing and a wonderful transition between other poses. But I guess really mountain pose or savasana also jump out at me because they are more difficult to keep the monkey mind and focus in check. Balance poses are also a favorite because of the concentration level to maintain the pose. Being able to calm the mind and focus on one thing is probably one of the most rewarding things about yoga to me, in my own personal practice.
Who is your yoga hero?
I would say that my yoga hero is Tracy Weber. And the reasons why, she’s not only able to take and articulate the vastness of this lineage to her students, she also walks the walk and talks the talk. She lives her life, from my perspective, in a way that touches others in such a positive manner, through the teachings of the yoga sutras and because that’s just her personality, she is someone to aspire to in all of our teaching experiences. To be able to eventually instruct a yoga class even half as well as Tracy does, then I will have felt like I accomplished the highest goal I have for my teaching ability.
Now you’re making me blush. 😉 Here’s a final question: What do you most appreciate about Viniyoga?
It is therapeutic, it can be very gentle or you can also make it pretty kick butt if you want to! It’s key differentiators make it unique and applicable to everyone. Function over form, the use of movement and stay, linking your movement with your breath, sequencing, and adaptation. I believe that anyone can learn and use Viniyoga in their lives.
Thanks for coming to chat with us today, Laura. Having you on the blog was almost as great as having you in class. Make me proud!
About Laura Miller: I was born and raised in Seattle although I’ve had the opportunity to live a number of other places in our beautiful country. I am a licensed massage practitioner and a nail technician, and a yoga instructor! Along with my partner Patrick, we have 6 adorable dogs, one feisty cockatiel, and a very mellow bearded dragon. We love hiking, traveling, and hanging out with our fur babies. I have 5 beautiful grandchildren and they are the lights of my life! Namaste
Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, learn about our Yoga Alliance Registered yoga teacher training program, and check out Tracy Weber’s author page for information about the Downward Dog Mysteries series.