Kia Miller is one of the most knowledgeable and influential yoga instructors I have had the privilege to practice with. Her radiant energy and unique teaching style brings together students from all over the world. She started practicing at 15 years old, which she describes as a love affair from day one; where she felt like she finally came home to something that felt right. She has graced the cover of Yoga Journal, leads retreats, cleanses and trainings all over the world, and continues teaching at her home studio Yogaworks when she is home in Los Angeles. Kia has a rich history in Ashtanga and Kundalini yoga–The brain child of her learnings and passions is her personal method of instruction: Radiant Body Yoga. Read on to understand how Kia found her yogic path and continues to uplift herself and everyone around her:
Q: Where are you from originally?
A: I was born and raised on a farm/ranch called Port San Carlos in the Falkland Islands. They are small British Islands in the South Atlantic Ocean, off the SE coast of Argentina.
Q: How many years have you been practicing yoga? Ashtanga, Kundalini?
A: I have been practicing yoga since I was 15. My first love affair was with Ashtanga – through this practice I moved from a stiff and inflexible body to an open and comfortable one. This was a miracle for me! I learned to love the 6 day/week discipline. I found Kundalini yoga when I was around 27 and living in Los Angeles. At first I did not ‘get’ Kundalini yoga as I was used to a very physical and different practice, however I stuck it out until one day I had an ‘experience’ that shifted my perspective – I literally felt like I came home to myself, my mind went quiet and I felt an enormous power that I had not experienced before. This feeling has never left, it was an awakening into a deeper dimension of experience and subtlety, my perception of who I am and my relationship to others shifted. From that moment, I knew that there was way more to the Kundalini practice than meets the eye. It gave me enough courage to look into the more esoteric and ‘weird’ aspects of the practice. Funny how they are now the practices that I gravitate towards!
Q: When did you start moving deeper into the spiritual practice versus the physical?
A: I started with the physical practice. After reading Autobiography of A Yogi and studying with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in India, I knew there was so much more – I fell in love with the spiritual side and have been immersed in it every since.
Q: What would you say is the #1 thing that has changed within you, once you started a daily yoga practice?
A: I have become more aware of myself: my thoughts, my actions and my interactions with others. I have developed and continue to develop more awareness of myself. This is an ever-deepening journey which requires that I try to show up to each and every moment with my full attention, willing to meet challenges and joys as equal companions. It is truly a delight to have a 24-hour practice that keeps me accountable off and on the mat. 🙂
Q: If you could describe kundalini in three words, what would they be?
A: Awareness, Vitality (Prana), Divine Connection
Q: How has the Kundalini practice helped you connect to yourself more spiritually?
A: Through the practices of kriya, pranayama and meditation I have come to recognize the deeper levels of my being. I have glimpsed the eternal nature of my soul. I have learned to look at life from the place of witness, to attempt to maintain equanimity toward all my experiences within and without. The practice has caused me to reach INTO my own strengths, to trust my intuition, and to be prepared to confront, and drop my limiting beliefs so that I may reach greater states of awareness and connection. I am humbled every day by these great and powerful teachings that lead us from the darkness of ignorant behavior to the light of pure awareness.
Q: There are so many emotions that come up during our practice, sometimes even angry or sad. How do you try and deal with these emotions and learn from them simultaneously?
A: Yoga is a practice of UNION, of bringing together all the disparate parts of ourselves. Within the practice we cultivate the ability to witness physical sensations, to observe emotions that may arise, and to watch the fluctuations of our thoughts. Unprocessed emotions and thoughts find their way into the tissues of the body. For example, tension and stress tighten parts of the body, when we release those muscles, the emotions flow; in a sense we get to ‘re-live’ the experience. The work is to feel the emotion, but not to attach a story to it, to let it pass through. Perhaps you feel anger or sadness rising as you are in a deep hip opening posture, the temptation is to ruminate on its cause, but the great teaching of yoga is to observe it and let it pass through. The lesson is to be calm in the presence of potentially disturbing emotions, to breath through them. This gives us excellent tools for everyday situations. If we can be compassionate to our self and our own emotional release on the mat, chances are we can do that in our daily life with our self and others too.
Q: What are your best tips for staying healthy and balanced while you travel?
A: The key products that I do not travel without are chlorella and spirulina to keep my system in good acid/alkaline balance, and as a food supplement. I also always have lavender oil to rub on my palms when on a plane or any time I want to sanitize them.
Q: If you could visit any place in the world for one day, where would you go?
A: My mind free from all distraction 🙂
Q: Do you vary your exercise routine with anything besides yoga?
A: I love to hike and ride my bike.
Q: What are the first three things you do when you wake up?
A: Wash teeth, make tea and then do my pranayama and meditation practice.
Q: What is your go-to breakfast?
A: Chia seeds, fresh almond milk, blueberries and Lydia’s Berry Good cereal.
Q: Do you have a long time quote or mantra that you always go back to?
A: How may I serve.
Q: Can you share one of your simple, healthy recipes with us?
A: Yes! Here is my favorite Raw Super Food Soup: 5 cucumbers, 2 lemons, 2 pieces of fresh turmeric, small piece of ginger, juice from one coconut, 2 bunches of watercress, 1/3 cup of olive oil, salt and curry powder! Add superfood powder of your choice (maca is a good option). Just juice the cucumbers, lemon, turmeric and ginger–then blend all of the ingredients together.
Visit Kia’s website for information on her teaching schedule and Radiant Body Yoga.