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  • Writer's pictureChristina V. Mills

Transformation at Miami Life Center | The Crown Issue

Featured in the Crown Issue of Liveology Yoga Magazine.

2 Month Ashtanga Training Students at Miami Life Center
Photo by Miami Life Center

I was elated to be accepted to Miami Life Center's 2 month Ashtanga Training (a 300 hour Yoga Alliance approved Yoga Teacher Training) led by Kino MacGregor and Tim Feldmann. As usual, I shared my life experiences on Instagram as I was going through the training and was totally surprised by the level of transformation that I experienced. In real time, my friends witnessed me gain increasing levels of inner peace, shave my head, and come back in some ways a different person, or so I'm told. Now that I have had a moment to digest all of the experiences I had, a couple months after the training is over, I would love to debrief with you all what I learned and why this program was so transformative for me.

Some Backstory

I have been practicing Ashtanga yoga since April 2017. The whole story is in my bio, but the short version is that I was in a car accident in the fall of 2016 that caused both physical injury and significant mental disturbance. I sought relief initially through Buddhist style meditation, but found meditation to be extremely difficult at the time because my mind was all over the place. Eventually, I came across Kino MacGregor's YouTube channel. I first practiced to her 20-minute beginner videos and soon found her Ashtanga Primary Series and tutorials. I was absolutely amazed by what she could do and by the improvement I was gaining in such a short time by following her videos. Soon, I committed to practicing almost every day.

I was so taken with the practice that I watched endless videos, many from other Ashtangis like Laruga Glaser, from Purple Valley, and many of Kino's talks about Ashtanga and the yogi life. My favorite video that I watched over and over again, and still watch to this day for inspiration is called Be Stronger where Kino talks about her personal journey of becoming the strong and balanced person she is today through Ashtanga yoga.

By December 2021, when I applied for Miami Life Center's 300 hour Ashtanga Training, I was still practicing and had a physical studio in downtown Atlanta. I realized I needed more training and I had been looking for the right program for awhile. When I saw this one at Miami Life Center, I applied on the spot. This was a diamond! I couldn't imagine anything better. I wasn't sure how my studio would run without me, but I knew I needed to at least try. Within days, I was elated to be accepted!

Bienvenido a Miami

Tim Feldmann teaching anatomy as Arbely Rubalcava models with the skeleton. Photo by Christina Mills.

I entered Miami Life Center, super excited and super nervous. After all these years, I got to finally meet Kino! I was totally a fan, but the Ashtangi in me tried to keep it cool, though I don't think I was very effective at hiding my total geekdom. There were people from all over the world. My classmates had flown in from China, Brazil, Argentina, Germany, Romania, Norway, France, Italy, Canada, and of 15 of us, only a few were from across the United States.

We had daily Ashtanga Mysore-style practice. Kino and Tim offered individualized suggestions for many of us to improve the imbalances in our bodies. Personally, I came to the program with a great deal of physical pain caused by dysfunction and rotation remaining in my hips and spine. This was extremely frustrating to me as I had been trying to relieve this suffering for a number of years through practice. Though there had been significant improvement over the years, one of the deeper reasons I came to the program was because I wanted to be totally healed, believing I had finally found the people who could help me get there. I was immediately relieved and grateful that my teachers were responsive and compassionate. I was assigned a couple of things to do prior to formal Ashtanga practice to help create the alignment I was seeking, and found both relief and improvement - as did others.

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