Name: Ashley Renee Miller
Hometown: Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
When you started BY: April, 2006
First experience of Bikram yoga: I had been trying a yoga class at my local gym for about 3 weeks before I found my home studio in Sandy, Utah and never went back after taking my first BY class. I was in ok shape, but definitely not where I wanted to be. Always tired and stressed out. It took loads of time to get to like it! I loved the way I felt AFTER class, but it was a long while before I actually enjoyed the heat. I had to make peace with it first:)
What motivated you to try the BY? I was planning my wedding and was SUPER stressed. Also, I had heard a lot about this “hot yoga thing” and how good it was for managing stress
Have you over come any major challenges with the help of BY? Many! The top 2 were my divorce and Ulcerative Colitis(a form of inflammatory bowel disease), which caused me to endure 3 major surgeries over 11 months to save my life. I lost my colon, but gained my life back. I had to improvise my practice for over a year and practice the pregnancy series just to be in the hot room. BY kept me sane in the darkest time of my life and I say thanks every day. So when in doubt, sweat it out!
Why did you decide to become a teacher? To share our yoga with the world and see the world while doing it. Followed my heart and my dreams making it all the way to Ireland! Plus the incredible benefits I was having during and every class. Better digestive system, managing life situations, managing stress and anxiety, sleeping better, the list goes on and on!
What advice do you have for people struggling in their practice? One breath at a time. Not even one class at a time, but one breath. Learn to be present and more aware each and every day (after 9 years I am STILL working on this!)
Do you ever get bored? Honestly, I used to, but now I walk into the room with an open mind and an open, grateful heart and pretend like it’s my first day on my mat. Fake it til we make it, right? Step outside of the box, every class, every day. It will become a boring and complacent practice IF you allow that. Create new challenges for yourself, no fidgeting, more focus, move only when I hear the words, water only when needed,etc. There are so many ways to keep you challenged.
Has your approach to your practice changed over the years of teaching and practicing? I went from being a “You have to do it all and kill, kill, kill yourself every class” to stepping back and being a beginner again, over and over, to remember WHY I kept coming back and to learn to have compassion for myself as well as my students. Humor and smiling helps too:) and of course practice what I preach.
What are the biggest mistakes you see people making in class? Being too eager to do everything before they are ready. Sacrificing form and alignment just to kick out and do it all today, which in turn loses the benefits. We have to build the foundation before we can build the roof. It’s a practice, never a perfect.
Biggest challenge on the mat? Accepting where I am, today, in this moment. Even if it means taking one or two steps back.
Biggest challenge off the mat? Reacting to things that really don’t matter. Sweating the small, unimportant things. I like to ask myself, “Will this really matter in 5 years?” 99.99999% of the time the answer is, “Hell NO!”
Favourite thing about doing BY? Breathing in the room and outside of the room. Not letting people’s negativity affect my inner peace. Bikram said in training, “If you allow anyone to steal your peace, you are the loser.” That stuck with me.
Do you like, Cork? I do, when I am in the hot room haha it’s cold (says the broken record) but the sunshine has been fabulous and the people here are lovely. I am so grateful to have made it here during my travels and meet such wonderful peeps.
Where are you off to next? Croatia and London, then who knows!! I am going with the flow and it feels gooooooooood.
Thanks Ash, its fantastic to have such your fun high energy classes at BYC to guide us through the challenge.