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The Illuminating Yogi: Kia Miller

The kindness and depth of Kia Miller’s heart shines through her infectious smile — she’s a true light beam and you can feel it in her presence. As a certified Ashtanga Vinyasa Flow and Kundalini Yoga instructor as well as the founder of Radiant Body Yoga, Kia imparts her radiant spirit and joy for life through classes, workshops, retreats and teacher training around the world.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I was born in the Falkland Islands, 300 miles off the SE Coast of Argentina. I was raised on a small settlement of around 8 houses, there were perhaps 30 people total including children, and I learned early on to get along with everyone. We were interdependent. In many ways it ran much like a commune — everyone had their job, no money exchanged hands and anything bought from the tiny store was docked from wages. We all had organic gardens, milked cows and tended the 110,000 acre farm as a collective. We raised sheep for wool, and until I was 7, my mother was my teacher. My fondest early memories are of sheering time, working in the sheep shed, learning to grade wool, and jumping in the wool bins during breaks! Nature was my happy place. I spent hours every day on my own, riding my horses over the wild land, racing along the pure white sand beach, communing with penguins and gathering mushrooms in my saddlebag. When I was 13, war came to my country — It changed the entire course of my life. Shortly after that, I moved to England and then finally found my way to Los Angles via a 12 year career in Europe as a fashion model. When I arrived in California, it was as though Spirit had called me there. I knew it I was where I was supposed to live.

When did you first discover yoga?

I discovered yoga when I was 15 in a Raquel Welch book on beauty! I remember thinking “if it’s good enough for Raquel, it’s good enough for me!” I used to wrap my body into strange shapes in front of an old oblong mirror. I loved it immediately!

“Live in service to the truth within you and
serve others from that place”

Did you choose a path to making a career as a yoga teacher early on or did it come later in life?

I practiced through my whole modeling career. It kept me sane, and was an impetus to not burn the candle too hard with the lively night life in London, Paris and Milan. It was when I moved to the U.S. and started practicing at Yogaworks in Santa Monica that I started to feel the urge to study in more depth.

What part of the philosophies of yoga, Hinduism, and Vedic studies resonated for you the most?

All of it. Yoga is a science of living optimally, it is a philosophy and practice that covers all bases: how to build vitality, live in balance, transmute old unhelpful patterns, live with more love and joy, re-pattern the brain for success — it’s all there, shared in the most ancient texts known to us. It reveals wisdom in the form of mantra, poetry and sutras (small aphorisms) — some easy to understand, some needing a master teacher to unlock. It has been a fascinating journey for me, especially traveling to India for many months a year, studying and leading training there. I love the Indian culture, especially those people connected to their yogic roots. Their natural devotion and respect for the sacred moves me.

Kia is wearing the Salem Sweats in Sky Kia is wearing the Salem Sweats in Sky Blue

You’ve been teaching now for decades, how would you describe your personal yoga methodology?

The best way I can describe what I teach is that it’s a blend of vinyasa and kundalini. I love the full body workout of vinyasa yoga and the transformational power of Kundalini breathwork, kriya and mantra. Recently I am enjoying sharing powerful breathwork sequences that help people go beyond their mind and into their heart. We build coherence between the heart and mind, we learn how to access the flow state and the inner source of inspiration and knowledge. I live, breathe, and share yogic wisdom as the practices have been my own source of healing and integration.

What are some of the principles and teachings that you share with your students?

Practice radical self-honesty. Live with reverence and respect for all. Cultivate your ability to self-reflect and self-correct. Learn how to master your mind. Practice meditation every day. Live in service to the Truth within you and serve others from that place.

“Practice radical self honesty”

Can you explain the significance of the “Sun Salutation” sequence and what that does for you?

One of my all-time favorite practices. It is a ritual for me: Turning to face the rising sun, giving reverence to the outer light of the sun that reflects our own inner light. Moving my body with the breath synched to each movement, both forward bend and backbends. The sequence opens up and warms the entire body, both muscles and joints. It increases blood flow, energizes the prana (life force) and balances the nervous system — so many great things! There are a few different variations that offer a slightly different flavor. I love them all.

What is your daily practice?

It begins with breathwork and then meditation, chanting, then yoga practice — it varies from day to day, but always breath and meditation.

With this type of discipline, do you still find yourself getting knocked off center from time to time?

Yes, however my capacity to catch myself and self-correct is much quicker now.

What do you usually do and recommend to get back to yourself in those moments?

Become present in your body. Feel your feet or whatever is touching the earth. Breathe into your solar plexus and breathe into your heart center. Tune into the present moment through your senses and lengthen your exhale. Within just three minutes of this, you’ll start to re-create coherence between the heart and mind which allows a different perspective on your situation. You can shift from fight or flight to a problem solving state.

What are some of your favorite hobbies outside of your practice that bring you joy?

Traveling and exploring new places, hiking, making great food, gardening, landscaping and spending time in nature.

How do you Honor Mother Earth?

Wow, huge question. I honor her in my heart, she is me and I am her — we are all one. I enjoy every one of her miraculous creations: the birds, the bees, the trees, the animals — she is the matrix from which all forms within this three dimensional reality are born. On a more practical level, I support sustainable farming and regenerative soil projects as well as organizations that buy and protect land. I am in awe of Mother Nature, the creative power she expresses, her capacity for growth, sustenance, death and renewal.