Let’s Give a Little Background, Shall We?
When I got orders to Monterey, California in 2013 at the Naval Postgraduate School, I never thought I’d find myself impacted spiritually so greatly (directly and indirectly) by any of my coworkers. I was serving as an enlisted mass communications specialist and Nikki had a civilian role which included lots of independent work. You might say it was kismet that we met.
Nikki was working full-time, finishing up her degree, committed to her yoga practice and dedicated to a cause that was set up to impact a great deal of children over 8,000 mi across the world. I was inspired by Nikki’s selfless spirit, especially as I was in the middle of great depths of depression and feelings of isolation. Nikki always came to work with a carefree energy that permeated beyond her office and throughout the cubicle-laden shared space us blue-collar enlisted grunts were banished to.
Nikki was actively saving for an extended trip to Tonk Rajasthan, India, in support of a non-profit school of more than 250 students traveling from rural towns for access to a free education. She’d been finding ways to raise money to equip the school with Internet capable computers to aide the students in their pursuit of higher education, jobs and information to share with their families. Nikki gathered funds online, hosted charity events, and tabled every weekend at a local market to gather funds in support of the cause. She, alongside a couple of her friends, was able to collect all of the funds needed to provide the school with four computers and access to the Internet for a full year on their dime.
After graduating from undergrad and with all of the funds she needed to make her trip, Nikki set out on her journey to India where she taught and studied yoga while giving to a community worlds away from home. We kept in touch, digitally, as we both progressed and grew in our truths. She told me that she’s further along her journey than she’d ever imagined and after opening her own yoga practice and other spiritual awareness community initiatives, Nikki is setting out on a new journey to integrate in her yoga practice. She’s embarking on mastering one of the world’s oldest holistic medical practices: Ayurveda. I interviewed her to learn all about her practice and why she was inspired to pursue this healing system. Let’s take a brief guided-yoga intermission, led by Nikki. Following, I’ll share all the deets if you want to learn more. Leave a comment and tell us what you think!
Home Yoga Practice With Nikki Miller
Interview: Nikki Miller’s Journey to Mastering Ayurvedic Medicine
Q1. How did you get involved in your practice?
It was kind of by accident. Most people are encouraged to go to yoga by a friend. I was working for a gym in sales and I needed to know what the classes were like so that I’d be able to describe it to potential members. So I took the class from that perspective and the practice was so profound for me. I meditated for the first time during the savasana (The final pose of any yoga class is one of deep restoration) and I got out of my mind for probably the first time in my life. I wanted to learn more about the practice and luckily that teacher was an incredible teacher. She was very descriptive and helpful for all of the asanas (poses), but she also brought this spiritual undertone that I didn’t even know as yoga. I got really lucky. It was really magical.
Q2. When did you decide that you wanted to share the practice with others?
I got certified in 2014 at the Seaside Yoga Sanctuary and I practiced pretty actively over the years. The owner of the studio I certified with really inspired me to pursue my own practice. Laura McKinnon just really is someone who brings such a magical energy to the practice that literally changed my life. At the end of every shivasana she’ll say a quote and honestly I just felt like she was giving me a direct message from God straight to my heart every single time. I wanted to do that for other people. I wanted to remind people that they’re more than just this matter, they’re divine.
Q3. What is savasana? Why is it an integral part of the practice?
Savasana is the point of the practice where you return to yourself. From a scientific perspective, it is the time where your parasympathetic nervous system activates and restoration begins. The cells, the breath, the body is carrying out all of the processes it needs to start restoring itself. We spend so much time in our lives feelings stressed, savasana is the opportunity for you to feel yourself experiencing the opposite of stress.
Q4. What is Ayurvedic medicine? How did the practice come about?
The practice is based on the vedas and Ayurveda means, “the study of the vedas.” The vedas are ancient yoga conspiritual texts that have informed us of clues for how we can live in our bodies. It’s getting back to how our ancient ancestors knew how to live well.
Q5. How does Ayurvedic medicine play into your practice?
I am going to pursue a master’s degree in maharishi Ayurveda and integrated medicine. After the three-year program, I’ll be able to consult with people as a maharishi Ayurveda wellness consultant and make recommendations based on their imbalances that will help their bodies be naturally align itself into health. The body is always trying to move itself towards the perfect state of health. If we give it the nutrition, the lifestyle habits and the mental, emotional and spiritual aspects it needs, then the body can be happy, healthy and functioning for us the way it’s supposed to.
Q6. Why were you inspired to master the Ayurvedic practice and science?
I believe in spirituality. I believe we have to connect to something beyond ourselves and that is truly a part of wellness. On the other had, I believe we are biological matter and we should study that aspect of who we are as well. The way we live in society today—the way we’re breaking down mother nature and putting toxins into the environment, we overlook that we are a part of the environment. To me, the study of science, is realizing that fact—that symbiotic relationship that we need to develop with nature around us. Wellness becomes how to live your life in a way that’s conducive to promoting the earth. It really comes down to that. It’s not some hippie way of looking at it; if you take care of the earth, it comes back to you. The earth will nourish you as you nourish it. When we eat organic, we promote the earth by expelling the way of life that we’ve grown accustomed to: pesticides and practices that ruin ecosystems and disrupt nature. That is science. What we are experiencing politically is a burnout and it’s forcing us to see that the way that we have been looking at things does not work from a scientific perspective.
Q7. If you could leave readers with one takeaway, what would it be?
I’m really appreciative of the opportunity to share. One thing I’d like to leave with as a capstone is: I think the reason that we have to have scientific words for spiritual concepts is because when you down the path, the mind will try to take you off the path. If the mind understands why you’re doing what you’re doing from a scientific perspective, you bring it back a lot quicker. It’s about bringing both the right and left brains together in healing for people. The creative, ethereal, spiritual aspect of who we are above and also the tangible, biological, scientific, hard fact reality of our daily lives and how do they mesh and collide. That’s important to healing.
Want More From Nikki?
Follow Her On Instagram
She'll be creating more informational videos as she pursues her studies. Don't get left out of the loop.
POWERED BY CAMARILLA COMPLEX + MAGIAZINE
- @Cam_arilla was created to connect movers and shakers. We’re here to help savvy hustlers work smarter.
Facilitating meaningful connections, business and personal alike, we hack creativity, business and life together. Join + share your #CheatCodez on the blog.
- Magiazine is a digital platform + organization created by @brujamoney to celebrate the magic of & increase visibility/possibilities for creatives of color.
magiazine produces ‘zine fairs, quarterly ‘zines + a gamut of experimental art functions intended to connect artists with the resources + tools they need to produce.