Peri Miller, E-RYT® 200, YACEP®
I teach yoga because I love to share the transformational power of yoga. The connection with the breath, opening of the mind and body and tapping into the deep stream of peace and well-being in one’s soul.
In 2005, I attended Heidi’s, ‘Intro to Yoga’ at Desert Song Yoga in Phoenix, AZ. I was hooked after the first class! My friends and coworkers caught on to my enthusiasm and started asking me to teach them. I would say, ‘I am not a teacher yet.’ They would reply, ‘We don’t care!’ I idolized the YTT teacher trainers at that time. I counted down the months and days until the 2007 YTT Training that I would attend and did.
I’ve studied with many international teachers; Todd Norian, Anne Greene, Erich Schiffmann, Doug Keller, Rama Jyoti Vernon, Kamini Desai, John Friend, Amma, Menaka Desikachar and Dharma Mittra. Also, some wonderful, local teachers; Matthew Taylor, Kat Myers, Heidi Lichte, Meg Byerlein and Mary Beth Markus.
In 2010, Kat Myers taught Yamuna Body Rolling at a yoga festival in Bisbee, AZ. Body Rolling is a system to ease the muscles, connective tissue and fascia of the body with different massage balls. I took her class and found a lot of relief from this system. I studied with her for a while and then flew to Los Angeles in 2011 to do the first certification training for Yamuna. Every once in a while I use massage balls in my classes. Mostly, I use massage ball in my home practice when my body needs a little extra care.
In 2013, I attended Mary Glover’s Desert Song Kids Yoga Training. It opened up a window to how to teach kids of all ages. Since I enjoy spending time with children this was a big bonus to my life.
My most recent and spiritually deep training has been the Integrative Amrit Method of Yoga Nidra. I have attended the 1st and 2nd training that Kamini Desai offered at Desert Song. I enjoy being a facilitator or Yoga Nidra and practicing it.
I start each day with a yoga asana practice, letting my body guide me from pose to pose depending on how I feel when I wake up. Then finishing the practice with heart openers, standing and balance poses. I then do a Kriya Yoga meditation. These two practices align me with my ‘true self’ and further my ability to find stillness in my life by going inward.
My goal in each and every yoga class is for my students to reconnect with their inner joy. For this reason, my classes are playful and lighthearted. I teach alignment-based yoga with a focus on the breath and awareness of the sensations felt in the body. I help students gain and maintain their strength, flexibility and balance and open up tight places in their bodies. When students leave my classroom, they feel calm, yet energized. They are able to experience peace with themselves and the world.
I start most classes that I teach with a body sensing exercise. This will be done lying on the back or in a seated posture. I guide the students from toe to head mentioning different body parts; all they have to do is bring their mind’s eye to the region that is mentioned. Then the area will naturally relax when they focus on it. After the scan, it is a good time for a reading of a poem or a passage from a spiritual book.
My classes are tailored to who walks through the door that day. I want everyone to succeed and feel confident. I try to ease their pain, not add to it. For this reason I am not big on personal corrections of poses. Instead I prefer a group correction, in this way everyone has the opportunity to fine-tune and improve their pose. What I hope that the student gains from my class is a new awareness of who they are. That they are bigger than their collection of likes and dislikes, worries and past hurts. That these things are coverings of their true nature. That they can tap into their soul nature by spending more in the present moment and deep relaxation. That this is possible by taking time to pause, follow the breath and just be.
My personal attention for my classes is summed up in the first line of the of Prayer for All by St. Francis. ‘O Lord make me an instrument of thy peace.’ How can I serve my students? How can I meet their needs? In the beginning of the prenatal and the Sing and Play Yoga classes, each student tells the group what is happening in their lives. They have the opportunity to tell me what they are needing that day. I like this!
When I am not teaching or on the computer as a web and print designer I am seeking time outdoors. The ‘cathedral of the trees’ was my first church and I am always drawn back to the communion with the plant world.
Life is short, but as my fellow prenatal teacher and friend, Sarah Davis, told me the other day it is also ‘rich and rewarding’. I do believe by rolling out of bed every day, sitting on my yoga mat, meditating, spending time with spiritual teachers, teaching yoga, attending class at Desert Song and by being in good company my life is very full, rich and rewarding.