#ODDlight Teacher Feature: Arielle Miller
Each month we will be bringing a teacher into the #ODDlight and illuminating their interests, practices, and who they are. There is a real person behind those teachers and it’s their knowledge filtered through their own experiences that make them that person that pulls you into class. This month, we are featuring our favorite girl with the purple hair, Arielle Miller!
Arielle Miller, soon-to-be Cohen!
Ari but once married, call me AC. Kinda like AC Slater but better because I have purple hair.
I grew up going to sleep away camp and some of my fondest memories of my childhood reside nestled within the majestic beauty of the Berkshires. Sitting on by the lake in Copake, NY at dusk.
What’s your sign?
Fun Fact most wouldn’t know about you?
I am a Buti certified instructor
Fun Fact most wouldn’t know about you?
I was awarded Teacher of the Year in 2010-2011. And by Teacher of the Year, I mean for my teaching English literature to the urban children in LAUSD ☺
Fun Fact most wouldn’t know about you?
I have classical fine arts training and was [initially] a Fashion Design major
When you aren’t at the studio where can you be found (favorite past time)?
When I’m not at ODD you can find me teaching America’s finest urban youth at Fairfax High School in West Hollywood. You can also find me teaching indoor cycling and working out. I LOVE working out and I am not just saying that. The harder, the sweatier, the better! Aside from being a teacher to children, or a fitness instructor, one of my absolute favorite ways to spend quite moments is at home writing for my blog www.thegirlwithpurplehair.com.
How do you define yoga?
I define yoga as an outward expression of inward reflection. Yoga is movement and movement is life. To me, yoga nourishes ones soul in any capacity in which someone is searching. Whether someone is looking for a kick-ass workout or to obtain some clarity; yoga is always there to build you up or in some cases, break you down so you can take a hard, honest look at oneself and grow.
Why do you teach? What brought you to become an instructor?
I teach yoga to heal and empower others. I teach yoga to share its gifts, joys, and empower others to look inward without fear. I teach yoga because I believe this sacred kind of magic needs to be treated with care and deserves to be upheld in the most noble of ways. I teach because without yoga, I do not know where I would be today.
Yoga found me and saved me from myself. I was depressed, very, very, very depressed and I was angry. I blamed the world for slighting me and being out to get me. I was urged to take yoga classes by my doctor and I fought it. I refused to go under the misguided perception that I’d be sitting on a dirty floor, chanting shit that meant nothing to me, and that just didn’t resonate with me. I am very Type A, always moving and I thought yoga was going to be hell on earth so NO THANK YOU.
And then one day, I just went to yoga. As simple as that, I went to yoga.
I woke up and said, “Today, I am going to try yoga.” From the minute I walked into the studio, I relished the ritual of taking off my shoes, carefully unrolling my mat, and how the yoga made me feel. There was this instantaneous deep connection with my feminism and beauty. This outward expression of moving my body made me feel strong, celebrated, and above all beautiful. Yoga made me feel like I was the only person in the room and that I was of boundless strength. As my practice started to evolve, the initial attraction of yoga’s athleticism progressed into something so much larger than myself filled with trainings, Sanskrit, and even chanting. My body yearned [and still does] for this ancient traditional practice and I was hooked. In darkness, yoga showed me the light but more importantly yoga built me up to find the light—Yoga showed me that I was the light.
So why did I become an instructor?
I wanted to show people that by being nothing other than real and authentic you are capable of anything. I wanted to show people that while we all walk in darkness there is always light. It is my hope that through arming people with the confidence to find themselves on their mat that an ember may burn within to help them shine bright beyond the yoga room.
What is your favorite song to play in class?
I go through so many phases of favorite songs that I get hooked on and obsessed with putting them on every playlist, for every class for weeks on end. That said I typically align myself with a savasana song and stick to it for a couple of weeks, sometimes even months. Though many savor the stillness and silence of savasana, I prefer to play a meaningful and intentionally selected song.
My students know that when they hear our ‘savasana song’ that final rest and release is upon us. Since we are all familiar with our final song, it signals a total letting go and the permission to really do so. Right now, I have been super inspired by Daniela Andrande’s cover of ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’. It is familiar but more than that, this acoustic version is introspective and haunting, giving us the freedom to gaze inward without judgment while surrendering.
What is your favorite pose or flow? Why?
It’s so hard to pick an absolute favorite pose or sequence, but what I can say is that there are poses that I re-fall in love with over and over again. Poses that I forgot about or shied away from until one day in class, an instructor guides me through a flow or pose. I would have to say that Happy Baby is a pose that I cue in virtually every class for the simple fact that it just feel so good. For me as both an instructor and student, yoga is about challenging myself but also about digging into my physical-self and feeling sooooooo gooooooooooooddddd.
As far as discovering a pose I have forgotten or abandoned, after shying away from Upward Facing Floor Bow due to lumbar spine narrowing (aka arthritis in my L4 and L5); an instructor and friend prepped the class for it…without hesitation after years of just chilling with my knees bent I decided that I was going to reclaim this pose and I did. It has been weeks since my initial victory in this pose and I have re-introduced it into my classes to share the joys it has recently brought to my life. And for me folks, that is the essence and splendor of yoga: Just when you least expect it, or don’t think you need or want something—yoga knows what you need.
Memorable yoga moment?
One of my most memorable yoga moments was relatively early into my teaching career when I was smack in the middle of a flow in a packed class and I litearally couldn’t remember what pose came next. I drew a complete blank and couldn’t remember the flow at all! Horrified, I racked my brain for what came next as yogis are just chilling and I had ZERO clue what we had done on the other side! I was terrified and remember vividly the heat washing into my face when I finally said to the class, “So, I’ve got to be honest here guys…this has never happened to me but I completely forgot the flow!” Everyone in class laughed and together we just started again and smiled because to be human means to be imperfect.
What is your favorite yogi prop or piece to wear or use?
The Manduka CORK block.
I love it’s stability, texture, and density. The block is firm and keeps me grounded, supported and elevated at the same time. The texture of the cork feelingly connects me to my sense of touch. But what’s also so great about these blocks is that in the Sweat class I love that these blocks provide that little extra edge of resistance and serve as almost a weight, really taking our practice to a whole new deliciously sweaty level!
What can we share in promoting you, your business, or your projects?
FB: Arielle Miller and Fitness with Arielle
www.thegirlwithpurplehair.com (MY BLOG!!!!!)
Hashtags: #FitnesswithAC #thepaleoyogi #thegirlwithpurplehair #FitnesswithArielle
Stay tuned for some big shit I am going to be launching this summer, so subscribe to my blog, follow me on facebook and insta!