YD recently had a chat with Yoga Tune Up® creator and YogaDork Ed faculty expert, Jill Miller, on her favorite and not-so-favorite poses, post-yoga snacks and after 25 years of practice what makes her a yogadork. Read on!
YD: What was one pose you were originally not so fond of but have now grown to love? And vice versa?
JM: Ugh. There were soooo many poses that completely stymied me. Sometimes it was a lack of flexibility in a certain joint that created an obstacle to the “aesthetic” of the pose. Other times it was strength…other times it was an inability to perceive a certain tissue in a pose. Other times it was a proportion issue…my leg bone is too short, or my arm bone is too long…yada yada. Parivrtta Parsvakonasana, “Twisted Side Angle Pose” was one of those poses that I was sloppy in. I would just sort of crowbar myself into it, and hope that my teacher would not demand more “consciousness” from me.
After telling me it was “pathetic” one too many times ( in his most loving way!), I decided to give myself one year to master that pose. I disassembled all the components of the pose, the way you’d break down a car, and greased every maneuver that the pose requires. Joint-by-joint and tissue-by-tissue until that pose fit me like a glove, and I learned what it required of me to embody it. My whole Yoga Tune Up® methodology is built on that approach. Quite often the COMPONENTS of a pose are more valuable to master than the whole pose enchilada. I used to LOVE Salamba Sarvangasana, “shoulderstand,” but grew to dislike it because of the terrible things it can do to a person’s body who does not have the joint mechanics, strength, proportion or proprioceptive ability to do it safely. It is not a pose I teach to new students. But I adore it in my own practice.
YD: What’s one yoga book you couldn’t live without?
JM: There are 2:
1) A Systematic Course in the Ancient Tantric Techniques of Yoga and Kriya by Swami Satyanada Saraswati – His teachings walk off the page and slip into your body in the richest way possible. I slept next to it for 5 years…could not travel without it (the book is 900 pages long, and weighs about 5 pounds). It is my yogic “security blanket.” That particular edition is now out of print. The Bihar School of Yoga has now shortened the title, and shortened the book a bit. I have it too!
2) Kinesiology by Joseph Muscolino – This book answers nearly every question my students have about human movement. It is a great resource that infuses my Yoga Tune Up® Integrated Embodied Anatomy Courses. All the facts are there, the new science, and great “discussion boxes.” I really appreciate that he details the complexity of anatomy in a way that a non-clinician can absorb. Whenever any of my YTU Anatomy team is stumped on an anatomical conundrum, we refer to “Uncle Joe’s Bible.”
YD: What’s your favorite post yoga snack?
JM: Dark Chocolate Quinoa Crunch Bar and a can of Solixir “Restore.” You said “snack” not meal…
YD: Who’s one celebrity you’d love to see start practicing yoga?
JM: Jonah Hill. I think I could really help him tune up his back, neck and core…I’ve noticed a few postural issues with him when he’s walking around on-screen. He is one of my favorite young comedians, and I’d like to see him live a long and healthy life so he can keep us laughing longer!
YD: What gives you inspiration?
JM: My mother would never call herself a yogini, but she actually took classes in college in New Orleans. The reason I started practicing was her fault. She brought home the Jane Fonda Workout and Raquel Welch Yoga videos when I was 11 years old. We practiced together until she grew bored while I grew OBSESSED. Last year, I made my newest video for her after she had her entire knee joint replaced, it’s called Yoga Tune Up® KneeHab. And she currently takes YTU lessons with our New Orleans based YTU Teacher, Claiborne Davis!