What is your “Yoga Story”?
Lori: My yoga story is different from Thom’s… I began “doing” yoga about 25 years ago with Cindy Dollar at a studio where I taught step aerobics and body sculpt called Sport Dance. I decided to give it a try because I felt so tight and inflexible from weight training… the moment I tried it, I was hooked for good! I have to admit that at first it was a physical thing, and I was a bit competitive with it, but as some years passed, I came to realize that it benefited me way beyond the physical… it vastly opened up my heart and soul! In 1997, a friend introduced me to Asheville Yoga Center. I became a student of Stephanie’s. Her class was energizing and challenging, but not quite like her current Ashtanga Mix. Stephanie was a rubber band back then, too. Shala was a student in Stephanie’s class, so we are talking way back! Thom would join me for classes at AYC, but his knees began to pain him around 2005 and yoga was just not possible. It wasn’t until 2014, when he had a double knee replacement, that he was able to become my yoga companion again, and lately we have been fortunate enough to be able to attend every class together.
After a yoga practice we feel a sense of peace and connectivity. Our hearts open along with our bodies, and our minds become serene. We feel in harmony. Yoga has helped us to navigate through this mysterious vast ocean of life. So far we’ve been able to weather the huge, crashing waves of the storms and then settle back in to the calm aiming for appreciation, gratitude, and contentment. For this, and so many other benefits, we are thankful that yoga is a path we have chosen.
What is your favorite pose at the moment?
Lori: If I had to choose a favorite yoga pose, it would have to be WILD THING! Back bends are difficult for me and so Camatkarasana enables me to be filled with a sense of freedom and release! Another favorite is HORSE POSE or Vatayanasana. This pose really aligns my back!
Thom: I don’t have a favorite pose but I like the progress I am making with Pigeon pose because it has increased my flexibility in my knees and hips.
What is your most challenging pose?
Lori: Full Wheel (Urdvah Dhanurasana) has been my nemesis since I began my yoga journey. Stephanie once figured out why for me, and since then I have accepted that my physical body has limits! This was when I decided to just BE on my mat and to accept what I was given.
Thom: My most challenging poses are any standing balance poses because of my knee surgery.
Describe yourself in three words:
Thom: Grateful, Caring, and Centered…and Lori agrees on that!
What is your favorite/ most inspiring quote?
Lori: I have so many favorite quotes. I love how Ram Dass expresses his thoughts. Here is one…..“If I can’t stop thinking, maybe I can just let my thoughts go by without getting all caught up in them. Feel the breeze on your face or your neck? See how it’s going by? You’re not all hung up with it. You don’t have to see where each breeze goes. You don’t have to look quickly to see if it hit those trees over there. It’s breezes, and they’re just going by. Make your thoughts like those breezes, those little breezes just passing by…”
Another favorite quote by Pema Chodron is….“The path is unchartered. It comes into existence moment by moment and at the same time, drops away behind us. It’s like riding in a train sitting backward. We can’t see where we’re headed, only where we’ve been.”
And lastly, this quote is lovely….“Just as the sun shines despite the clouds, so all beings are enlightened despite their issues.”
Thom: My favorite quote is from Omar Khayyam….“Be happy for this moment, this moment is your life!”
What are you reading right now? (or your favorite book)
Lori: Buddha’s Brain is one of my favorite books that was recommended by Michael Johnson during his ten month Classics of Yoga course. I had a lot of aha moments while reading this book in discovering that I can actually sculpt my brain to benefit my life by rewiring my neurons. I am a true testament that this works! I am presently reading “Autobiography of a Yogi”, it’s taking me a long time to get through, but it appears to be well worth it!
Thom: Another recommended book by Michael that I thoroughly enjoyed is Abundance because it is an optimistic view of mankind”s future. I have suggested it to many people to read.
What are some favorite songs on your playlist?
Lori: It would be difficult for me to pinpoint a favorite song out of the gazillion that are out there but I am especially drawn to Kirtan… it’s so nourishing and grounding to me! Thom and I sing quite a bit of Kirtan together. I have a harmonium in our meditation room and Thom and I sing together sometimes.
What inspires you?
There is so much that inspires us… but what immediately enters our minds are what people and animals endure in life. We admire those that face their adversities and move onward. Our youngest son has been through a tremendous amount in his short life and we admire him with his ability to face difficulties and challenges while maintaining his humor.
– LORI & THOM MILLER
(grateful, caring & centered)