Kia Miller is a world renowned teacher and devoted Yogini, who imparts her wonderful passion for life and well-being in her teaching. Her style pulls from multiple yogic disciplines, and she is especially known for making Kundalini Yoga - that somewhat mysterious practice meant to awaken the soul's purpose - accessible. This July, she will be teaching at Wanderlust in Squaw Valley in a series of workshops, including a collaborative workshop with Wanderlust founder, Schuyler Grant. We couldn't be more excited to practice with her. SF Yoga Mag caught up with her, read our interview below!
You began in Hatha and finally moved toward Kundalini Yoga and integrating it with other forms we often practice in the West. What originally drew you to Kundalini?
My life has transformed since I began practicing and teaching Kundalini Yoga. I knew it was special even before I took my first class. I just had to look at the radiance of my two friends who practiced to know that they were getting something that I wanted. One of those friends took me to my first class with the luminous Guru Singh. I didn’t get it at first, I felt it was a little weird and esoteric. However, I kept going and after a few months I was in a class where we did a strong navel set that literally blew my mind. There was a break between exercises where I was lying on my back and became aware of an awesome power and presence in my navel. My usually busy mind fell silent. My awareness expanded and for the first time I could remember I had a strong sense of who I am beyond all the masks and personas I presented to the world. This moment was to become the beginning of a new life that continues to evolve to this day. That is why Kundalini Yoga is so special to me.
How did your style of Radiant Body Yoga (a blend of Hatha, Vinyasa, & Kundalini) come about?
I have a deep love of Hatha Yoga. It was the first level of healing for me, learning to be in my body, learning to breathe properly, to release tension patterns and ultimately become a lot more flexible, both in my body and in my mind and attitude. I consider Ashtanga to be my first love. Then Kundalini came along and swept me off my feet, offering such profound experiences that my whole life and way of being transformed. Old unresolved emotions began to be cleared out, I started to feel more confident, and developed a much deeper understanding of myself as a human being, an energetic being, a mental being, and a spiritual being.
Radiant Body Yoga is my way of bringing together these two loves. The Vinyasa/Hatha blend helps to keep the body in tune, strong and flexible. The Kundalini tunes us into the subtle levels of our being, offers practices to build vitality and to focus and purify the mind. Together they offer a holistic package that covers all bases. I find this the perfect blend for modern yogis to address all aspects of their being in one practice.
You're one of the few teachers who seem to make the components of Kundalini yoga approachable to a wide variety of students. Tell us your secret!
My mission is to bring the subtle teachings of Kundalini Yoga to a wider audience, to take the ‘weirdness’ out of it so that there is less barrier to entry. Once people understand WHY we do certain things like chant, or breath of fire, or Sat Kriya, then they are willing to open their mind and simply to have the experience. Most people who give the practice a chance feel enough of a change in their energy that they want to know more. They become willing to try things they would not have otherwise. This is one reason the practice is so special, right from the beginning we are being asked to stretch, to grow, to be open to a new perspective. The moment we do this, we are in the process of evolution that most of us are really craving. What often blocks our growth is that we get comfortable with a certain way of being, even if we know inside that there is something more extraordinary available. Kundalini Yoga opens us up to greater awareness, a deeper knowing of who we are and helps us to come into alignment with ourselves at the highest level. I teach it because I believe in it and have seen the transformation in thousands of students all over the world.
Photo: courtesy of Kia Miller/FluidFrame
Post written for SFYogaMag.com