Sally Miller, E-RYT 500 is an international yin yoga teacher who lives in Doylestown, PA and specializes in transforming the body and mind through stillness. Sally trained with one of the founders of Yin Yoga, Sarah Powers, in 2008 and has been leading workshops, retreats and teacher trainings since 2010. Sally enjoys exploring the inner space of the body with tenderness and compassion, interweaving meditation instruction into all of the yin yoga postures. Her students find their time with her to be profoundly healing.
Here's what my students say:
Sally's voice conveys immense inner quietude and draws us into a place of deep rest, even during the most stressful times.
Here's more about my background and training:
I graduated magna cum laude from Villanova University in 2003 with a degree in Chemical Engineering and minors in Women's Studies and Chemistry. While in college, I started practicing yoga on a regular basis to help deal with stress. After college, I worked as a Chemical Engineer for a pharmaceutical company in Philadelphia for 3 years, and then quit to go study Ayurvedic Medicine with Dr. Vasant Lad in Albuquerque in 2006.
I did my first 200hr yoga teacher training while I was a chemical engineer at the age of 24. I had the great privilege of learning from Yogini Adept Parvathi Nanda Nath Saraswati. Parvathi had been meditating since the age of 12 and taught hatha/vinyasa yoga infused with classical and tantric yoga philosophy, mantras, and meditation. It was an amazing introduction into the world of deep, true, mindful yoga. While in Albuquerque, I also completed my second 200 hr yoga teacher training. This training was in AyurYoga, a kind of Ayurveda-infused hatha yoga that assesses someone's constitution before recommending therapeutic, personalized postures and practices.
I then went on to study Yin Yoga with Sarah Powers in 2008, which drastically changed my practice and my whole approach to teaching yoga. I decided to focus on teaching the slower, more inward aspects of yoga while simultaneously deepening my own meditation practice with a 2-year advanced Tantric Meditation training (facilitated by my first teacher, Parvathi).
After the birth of my son in 2015, I started studying with Reggie Ray, a Buddhist Teacher in the lineage of Chogyam Trungpa. It was through Reggie's teachings that I fell in love with somatic meditation. His books Awakening the Body and Touching Enlightenment helped me learn how to let go of perfectionism and actually enjoy my meditation practice, rather than consider it a chore.
I have been teaching yoga and meditation full-time for the past 15 years. I enjoy integrating everything I learned from my various teachers along the way. My greatest joy is simplifying these practices so that others can benefit from them without feeling overwhelmed or confused.
Why I do what I do
I tear up every time I talk to a mom, or a business woman, or a college student, who tells me she’s exhausted and has no time to herself.
First, I want to cry, then I get really really angry.
It makes me SO angry that as women we feel pressure to give all our energy outward - to work, home, relationships, etc - and as a result have very little time for self care.
I am committed to sharing what I’ve learned about the value of meditation because it has changed my life in countless beneficial ways.
I want to shout about meditation from the rooftops of all the busy towns in the world (not really, my voice is pretty quiet;).
But seriously, I am so passionate about somatic meditation and I really I hope you give it a try.
It doesn’t take hours. It takes 20 minutes a day. And when we make friends with our body, everything changes for the better - work, home, relationships included.
I have seen thousands of women go from being self-critical to being self-assured, all with just a little encouragement and a whole lot of practice.
When I first started meditating…
I’ll never forget the depth of my loneliness as I tried to fall asleep under my strangely small and slightly smelly duvet in a new country, miles away from my friends and family. I was only 18 and I was studying abroad in Birmingham, England, trying to get a taste for other cultures while simultaneously getting credits for my chemical engineering degree at Villanova.
I wrote in my journal a lot that semester. I baked like crazy. I went to pubs and drank beer. But I also found a Tibetan Buddhist center, and began learning about meditation from some of the most kind and openhearted people I have ever met.
I remember the monks teaching me walking meditation. That was my first practice. And I remember having tea with them. The warm, sweet milky tea was my favorite part.
What kept me going
After my semester in England, I spent a summer in Africa. My whole world turned upside down. The people were so poor, and yet so happy. How could that be?
When I got back to the States, I sought out a new yoga teacher. The male teacher I had started with in the beginning of my college career just didn’t seem to cut it anymore. Down dog, some chanting, but lots of patriarchy… I had had enough and I could see through the bullshit. I wanted a female teacher, and I knew having a “perfect posture” wasn’t going to make me happy or do much good for anyone else.
Then I found Parvathi. To say I am lucky to have found her wouldn’t do it justice. I am so fortunate to have lived in a place where a true, female yogic master was offering regular teachings. For over a decade, I would study with her. At first, driving an hour from Philadelphia to New Hope, PA to take her classes after work and on the weekends. And then, I would move 5 minutes away from her studio, so I could be there as much as possible.
Parvathi was born in India and started meditating when she was 12. She had an exceptional depth of knowledge, and vast personal experience.
I took vinyasa teacher training with her, and then advanced meditation training with her. She changed my life, for the better, in so many ways.
When everything changed
But then, at age 34, I got pregnant. Having a child changed my life in more ways than I could have ever expected. Gone were the days when I could get up early and practice for 2 hours by myself. Gone were the days when I had even enough energy for 30 minutes of seated meditation.
Sleep took over as my number one priority in terms of self care, and I started to feel lost.
Who was I if I didn’t do yoga every day?
How could I be a good mother and also a regular meditation practitioner?
I really struggled those first two years of motherhood. Part of me wanted to give up, but part of me knew there was no going back.
One day, I walked into my local bookshop and found a little yellow book called “Awakening the Body.” To my surprise, the teacher Reggie Ray, suggested meditating on your back.
Meditate on your back?
Isn’t that cheating?
I was enchanted. So I bought the book, which came with 6 audio recordings of guided meditations - to be specifically practiced on your back - and I loved it.
I could practice on my back SO MUCH easier than sitting up.
I felt my energy come back. I felt a sense of hope - I could do this. I could lie down for 30 or 40 or sometimes even 60 minutes and wake up completely relaxed and refreshed.
What it’s like now
These days my son is 6. His Dad and I split up, and I have more time for myself. I can devote 20 minutes a day to my personal practice, or 2 hours, depending on my schedule.
I feel so much more myself, and I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter what my practice looks like day-to-day. The most important thing seems to be to love myself no matter what, and be gentle.