How do you start your day?
I start my day by cleansing myself (shower, teeth clean etc). Then I make myself a cup of tea and sit for 30 minutes reading something inspiring while sipping tea and slowly waking up. This is by far my favorite time of the day. It is quiet (5am) and the world around me has not woken yet! Then I sit for 45 – 60 mins to do some pranayama and meditation, sometime longer depending on how full my day is. This morning ritual allows me to feel connected to stillness and presence before the activity of the day.
What do you do when you are overwhelmed or stressed?
When overwhelmed and stressed I have to take a step back, and consciously choose to disengage from that which is triggering me. The most stressful thing in my life is keeping up with the sheer amount of emails and questions I receive on a daily basis. If I let things slip for a few days it can feel overwhelming and then I start to avoid it rather than facing it head on. Stepping back allows me to prioritize and make decisions from a neutral rather than a reactive place. Stepping back to me means sitting quietly, doing a yoga practice, perhaps eating, so I feel nourished, then step by step facing that which had appeared overwhelming!
What gives you the feeling of true bliss within?
Without a doubt practicing Kundalini yoga connects me with a feeling of true bliss. The practice has a way of cutting through the busyness of my mind and elevating my energy to a place beyond conflict, where I feel the interconnected nature of life, where I feel the sheer joy of being alive and the freedom of letting go of whatever attachment or aversion had been quietly draining my energy. Spending time in nature has the same effect, the more time I spend in nature, the more I am gently drawn into her rhythm, a rhythm that feels nourishing and invites a quiet space of awareness.
What are you currently reading?
I am a yoga nerd and usually have a few books on the go at any moment! I am currently reading a book called Bhutta Shuddhi by Swami Satyasangananda, it is a full explanation of one of the most powerful purifying Tantric practices and a surprisingly easy read :) I am also reading The Secret of the Yoga Sutra by living master Pandit Rajmani Tigunait. This is by far the most illuminating translation of this classical yogic text that I have read.
What are you listening to right now?
My favorite album of the moment is by Ajeet Kaur, called “At The Temple Door”—Ajeet is one of the great artists at this time. Her music comes from a deep place of devotion and clarity and she takes me to that same place within me. My other favorites are Aykanna and Jaya Laxshmi and Ananda—their music perfectly supports the practice of yoga and mantra.
What is your go-to simple recipe?
Salad, avacado, nuts, seeds and tahini dressing—works every time. On the run it is a smoothie with almond milk, chia seeds, raw protein powder and maca!
What are some simple things you do for self-care?
Sit quietly with a cup of tea. Bath with bath salts and lavender oil. Time with my husband. Yoga and meditation practice. Time with my girl friends. Massage…
What does nourishment look like to you?
True nourishment to me happens on three levels: body, emotions and spirit. On the physical level it is high quality organic healthful food. On the emotional level it is clear, honest and loving communication with those close to me, and not over committing myself which can lead to stress. On the spiritual level it is time relating to the inner world, time spent in reflection and Self absorption. Sometimes this one can be left out in our busy world, but if the spirit is happy then I find everything else falls into place. Hence taking time first thing in the morning to connect to spirit through yoga and mediation.
How do you make space for play?
My husband is the driving force behind space for play. I am grateful to him for that. We take time when there is nothing but us and what we spontaneously are drawn to in the moment: sometimes a movie, or hike, or even a meditation session. Having said that I think one of the strengths of our relationship is that we are constantly playful with each other. We can make even the most serious situations hilarious, and I find that the best medicine!
What are some favorite mantras you cling to?
My all time favorite is Ek Ong Kar Sat Nam Siri Wahe Guru—there is one creative consciousness manifesting through all things. This is our true identity. Wow! The bliss of moving from darkness to light. I have a long love affair with this mantra. Another favorite is Ong Sohung—I am that I am. Another is simply “By Thy Grace”—when I remember this, it takes the resistance out of my body and life. I remember that this life, this moment is only happening because of the Grace of existence. I am a small player in a huge orchestration. It keeps my ego in check and also my self-doubt. “By Thy Grace” reminds me that there is a bigger force working through us. My job is to show up in the moment with an open heart and mind, and to have trust that what is unfolding is exactly right on point and to meet it with the grace of a queen!
Please share some words of wisdom you’ve learned as a direct result of soulful and embodied living.
The Aquarian Sutras sum it up for me beautifully. Meditate on them yourself and see what comes to light:
- Recognize the other person is you. We can waste so much time in comparison, in competition, in complaining. One of the biggest awakenings for me is this idea of seeing the Divine in each and every soul, in seeing a reflection of yourself in another, in recognizing that we are all one. As Yogi Bhajan said “if you don’t see God in all, you don’t see God at all.” How can I be envious or hateful to another person if I am in remembrance of this essential teaching.
- There is a way through every block. Often problems can seem insurmountable, or we feel stuck in our current situation, without hope for things to change. This sutra speaks to the idea that every challenge contains a solution. I worked in TV and documentary production for many years. As a producer you have to find a way to a solution no matter what. My husband would often jokingly say to me “you are a producer, produce!” Sometimes this involves backing off and learning to see things from different perspectives. What first appears like a brick in front of you can often simply be nudging you to shift your perspective so you can view it and the challenge from a different place. The practice of yoga offers us the opportunity to do just this. To gain altitude and shift our attitude – this is often what is needed to dissolve blocks.
- When the time is upon you, start and the pressure will be off. My old mode of operation when presented with change, or a new project was procrastination, putting things off for a future time. Wow! How draining this can become. There is a little piece of you caught up in the energy of “I should be doing such and such right now,” it prevents us from being fully present in the moment and perpetuates an inner feeling of dread. There is such freedom in simply starting the task, and indeed the pressure is relieved!
- Understand through compassion or you will misunderstand the times. This is by no means a ‘perfect’ world, there are many challenging situations and wounded people that we come upon. We can be triggered or witness other people who are triggered and respond from a place of judgement or blame. This sutra asks us to cultivate the ability to meet life with our hearts open and an ability to be sensitive and tolerant of one another.
- Vibrate the cosmos and the cosmos shall clear the path. We are what we vibrate. It is that simple. If we are operating at a low vibration: depressed, angry etc then we must use yogic and other spiritual tools to lift ourselves up, to shift our frequency. Like attracts like. Often we can feel a victim, like life is dealing us one bad hand after another, yet, as yogis we know that we have tools that can elevate and shift our frequency so that we can start to attract different opportunities into our life. The challenge comes in having the discipline and knowledge of what tools to use. A simple one is sound and mantra. Sound affects our frequency immediately, if we sing and chant, we uplift ourselves. This is one of the reasons why mantra is considered the master key that opens all locks :) Try it yourself next time you are in a funk. Put on your favorite uplifting music or mantra and sing along!
About Kia Miller
One of the most well-known Kundalini teachers in the West, Kia has an ability to translate the subtle teachings of Kundalini Yoga in a highly accessible way. Kia's study of yoga began when she was 15. She is certified in both Hatha and Kundalini Yoga and teaches workshops, retreats and teacher trainings throughout the world. Kia's passion is to share the Kundalini tradition infused with Bhakti. Kia's classes are a powerful mix of Asana, breath, meditation and chanting that will leave you feeling uplifted and empowered. Read more at KiaMiller.com.