Students of Miami Life Center, and their thoughts on yoga 


Johnny Benavente

“Growing up I had always struggled with severe anxiety. I would have panic attacks all of the time, and I was always sick with nausea and throwing up constantly everyday . Life wasn’t fun because I felt so horrible in my own body and mind and I didn’t know what to do to feel better. I learned to cope and live like that for a long time.
Grace showed itself in the form of my aunt who began to introduce me to different practices, traditions, and teachings and it set my healing in motion. When I found ashtanga yoga at MLC every fiber in my being told me to stick with this. I got chills the first time I heard the opening mantra. Afters years of practice it feels like I wouldn’t be who I am today without it. I can trace back one of my most important moments of my life to being that day I walked into Kino’s intro to yoga class four years ago not having a clue what I was signing up for and how much healing I would be receiving. I thank god all the time that he led me into that class. Practice can change your life and how lucky are we to have it”


Lia Janoff

“I didn’t like ashtanga yoga on the first try, or the second, or the third; until I came to Miami Life Center. and now, I can’t imagine doing any other practice. Like most good things in life, it takes time. Ashtanga yoga definitely isn’t the yoga of instant gratification. With my amazing teachers, the journey has been unimaginable and the rewards trickle down well beyond the physical layer of the self”






Elizabeth Daly-Wallace

“Before I came to MLC, Ashtanga yoga seemed out of reach. It looked like a practice for athletes and dancers. I am neither.

Initially, many of the fundamental poses were simply impossible. But in the space that MLC provided for me to learn and practice I saw incremental, tiny but undeniable steps forward. These progressions added together over time transformed the impossible to possible.
It took six or seven months to get my legs into lotus. Now I do it everyday with ease. And so it was with many of the more advanced postures.
By consistently showing up and putting in effort over time Ashtanga yoga has transformed my life. It’s effects on the body are so profound as to have instilled a deep faith in the system. And the body is only the beginning- it’s just the way in.”



Elimia Arenas

“Either if this life is a chapter of an endless book, or if we are just a ray of a huge star and if this body is a dress that we change countless times, my yoga has taught me that the present moment is all we have and the breath and body are gifts we have received to change the course of our lives… we use asana to unlock different places in our physical and subtle bodies and the breath works to unlock the doors of hidden emotions… the awareness that yoga gives us helps us to transform those emotions into positive actions that not only gracefully affect ourselves but also the people around us”






Gabriella Meszaros

Why yoga?
“Because I have never seen an unbeautiful yoga practitioner!
Body mind and spirit in union!
Connection, God, perfection, alignment, correction, self control, discipline, flexibility, balance, strength, cleanliness, energy, rest, humbleness, beauty, righteousness.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”



Gina Martin & James Carolton

“Sharing my practice with my partner is a gift. The hard earned triumphs and failures we share daily side by side in the Mysore room bond us in a unique way. Ashtanga has turned my joy into bliss and a once guarded trust into honest surrender. This practice continues to reinforce my commitment to the compassion that grows inside my heart.”
“Life’s journey is more resolute and joyful with a partner. Gina introduced me to Ashtanga and Miami Life Center. I flew to meet her in Mysore after my first month in the studio and we started practicing together there. Now, our daily yoga union ritual rewards our relationship with a steady stream of unexpected breakthroughs and cheerful surprises.”


Nicole Janoff

“I love yoga because it makes me feel so happy. After class I feel better, I feel calm. We do poses that Monica thinks make us comfortable. My favorite pose are back bends and uplutihi”








Mark Linksman

“I wake up each morning with a warm feeling about going to Miami Life Center to practice Ashtanga Yoga.
Alexandra and all her instructors have a sincere love for Ashtanga Yoga. Their kindness and sincere wish to help everyone creates an atmosphere of people working together to spread positivity. Plus practicing with all the students that go there is a fantastic way to start each day.
Tim and Kino have created a special place. My heart felt thanks to all”.






Bryan Palmer

“Yoga has been described as a panacea for all of life’s challenges. While this may seem like an exaggeration, there is truth to the statement. Yoga/Ashtanga has enhanced and deepened my program of recovery. The commonality is practice. 12 step programs demand that first complete the 12 steps and then practice them in all our affairs. We progress towards perfection but rarely attain it. And that’s ok because we learn and maintain sobriety along the way. Yoga too demands practice, yet unlike a 12 step program sometimes what feels like perfection is found”






Joseph Armstrong 

“Stuck in deeply held patterns, my struggle with addiction lasted for what seemed like lifetimes. Things got so bad that I found myself in jails, institutions and very near death. I tried everything to recover, but only half heartedly. The rehabs I went through never took. So I thought an escape to India might be the cure. But I just ended up in dark Indian bars drinking alone. Eventually things came together in such a way that I found a strong sponsor in recovery AND amazing Ashtanga yoga teachers. Simultaneously. It was magic. My sponsor was my guide in critical thinking. Yoga though was the fire that burned away my habitual self destruction. I would never have recovered without both in my life. I’m sure of it. Without this special combination I’d be just a sad memory today. But instead I thrive.”




Kelly Hogan

“Ashtanga yoga is the dance of my body and my soul. When I am practicing, I am allowing my soul to move me, and in that space I am liberated and free. My practice has been tested by various Life events, and has not only survived, but now under the careful guidance of Emilia is completely thriving. I love a serious sweaty practice, but I also find joy in falling down and laughing at myself :)”






Solana Corradi

“I was introduced to the tradition of Ashtanga by a dear friend in 2007 and soon after began practicing at Miami Life Center, where my life would change forever… Through all the ebbs and flows, Ashtanga has been my therapy, where I can always find my breath again, settle with my thoughts, and take a moment to honor myself.
After finally getting surgery on an old injury in my shoulder, I was filled with excitement at the thought of getting back on my mat.. With the love and support of Eddy Rivero and Alexandra Santos before, during and after my surgery, 4 days later I was back in the Shala, smiling at the familiar faces, and reuniting with the sound of my breath. I am so grateful.”






Ben Miller

“Because of the nature of yoga and how it’s perceived within our culture, I didn’t think it would be right for me. The ‘Lipstick Yoga’ I came across at first seemed to only fit a certain kind of person. But now I’m realizing there’s so much more to it, so much depth to discover and benefits to gain. It sounds so cliché but i don’t know how I ever lived without yoga.”







Michelle Tewel
Michelle found healing in beach yoga three years ago and only recently picked up an ashtanga Mysore style practice.
“Through the discipline and daily practice required I’ve felt my body expand and change every day. Its empowering to have a moment when I finally bind or find a new space in a pose I’ve been working on since the beginning. There are average days and then there are days when you get to witness the fruits of your labor. Its like a blossoming. There are little steps, and the more consistent I am, the more I’ve been able to experience those moments.
As a beginner in ashtanga, its been a new relationship with myself to discover within the breath and the awareness cultivated. Here is where I’ve found the greatest growth”





Kim Lopez

“My friend bought me a one month package. I had no choice but to finally give this yoga a try, despite my preconceived ideas that yoga was only for the flexible.
The first time I went into a mysore class, I had no idea what mysore, ashtanga, or sun salutations were. I didnt know why I was there. Emilia gave me one pose at a time. As I waited for her next instruction and she gave other students in the room her attention, I took in what was going on around me. There were students of all levels, and instead of being intimidated by the more advanced practitioners, I was motivated. During those first classes was when I realized – this is what yoga is. It was nothing like I thought it would be, only doing nice poses. I never thought people would actually get into a practice. I saw all the people that came here and how it becomes more of a lifestyle than anything else. They keep going, they keep progressing.
After that one month, I knew I wanted more. Doors had opened up to this world I wanted to be a part of”


Mika O’Toole

Mika started practicing yoga when she was experiencing early signs Rheumatoid Arthritis. She explains it as waking up and feeling her body was a plank of wood.

A yoga instructor asked her to join a class, and feeling compelled she dove right into her first yoga class. It was challenging no doubt. But there was a sense of satisfaction she felt, she felt good. Her body instantly felt lighter and she noticed a confidence starting to sprout from deep within. Despite being so new to this practice, that was enough to keep her coming back for more.
10 years later, she’s happy strong and a genuine pleasure to have in the mysore room, which she describes as “magic that makes the impossible, possible”
Her advice to beginners… “everyone is so absorbed in their own practice to judge or criticize. Everyone is there to work on themselves, its not about the competition, its just you and what is inside you. Just come. And if you think you’ll look ridiculous, that’ll be a great way to bring some laughter into it. We could all use some laughter because life can be too serious sometimes”

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