The practice of yoga has a variety of benefits, from the physical to the spiritual. Kyle Miller started practicing yoga merely because she liked the exercise and the physical rush. Through learning the philosophy of yoga, Miller began to see yoga as a daily spiritual practice, rather than just exercise. Eventually she became interested in becoming a yoga teacher herself. Ms. Miller recently took some time to discuss the many spiritual, emotional and physical benefits of yoga.
The Benefits of Yoga
Love To Know (LTK): How did you become interested in yoga? How did this interest turn into private instruction?
Kyle Miller (KM): I became interested in yoga in high school, just as a way to exercise. When I moved to New York four years ago and took my first class at Jivamukti I started to learn about the ideology, the ancient teachings behind yoga, I got seriously interested in yoga. I don't have my own studio but I teach privately throughout the city and am currently doing an apprenticeship at Jivamukti under my beloved teacher, Rima.
LTK: Why would you recommend yoga to someone who isn't interested in its spiritual aspects?
KM: I recommend yoga to everyone. The physical practice is healing for the mind and body and has a calming effect on the nervous system and is both detoxifying and strengthening for the body. The physical practice is what first attracts everyone to yoga. The spiritual aspects are there and available too, but not necessary, especially for the beginner.
LTK: What are the specific health benefits of yoga for women?
KM: Women need yoga for the same reasons we all do, a moment for ourselves in our insane world. Yoga is doing yourself a favor, transforming yourself into a joyous, secure, healed person. Yoga also balances the hormonal system so its very valuable for women.
Taking Your First Yoga Class
LTK: What does formal yoga instruction offer that self-teaching does not?
KM: Yoga is passed on from teacher to student, so you really need a teacher! Nothing compares to the wisdom you get from a teacher, passed on from their teachers, and so on down the line.
LTK: What advice do you have for someone who wants to start practicing yoga?
KM: If you want to start practicing, don't be scared! People get so nervous before a new class, but it's so unnecessary. Yogis are accepting and non-judgmental if nothing else. Do your research, ask around, check out the studio's website and find something that seems like it resonates with you and take it! If you're still nervous, make a friend go with you.
Taking Your Practice to the Next Level
LTK: Please talk a little bit about your training in India.
KM: Training in yoga completely changed my life. It showed me that living yoga is possible, that living according to greatest potential is what you should be doing. I never believed in God until being in India and studying with my devoted and beautiful teacher, Senthil. India taught me to be grateful, and that practicing yoga starts with kindness and compassion towards all.
LTK: If someone wanted to teach yoga, what would the first steps be?
KM: The first steps if you want to become a yoga teacher is to have an established, daily practice and genuine love for yoga. After that, I would say to read The Yoga Sutras by Master Patanjali (I love Swami Satchitananda's translation, although all of the translations are good) and then if you are really loving what you are learning, start looking into teacher training programs. And always talk to your teacher and ask for guidance; yoga is passed on from teacher to student.
Kyle Miller teaches private yoga lessons in New York City. You can contact her through her website to set up lessons or with additional questions. She also keeps a blog on the site where you can read about yoga as a lifestyle and daily practice.