How Kyle Miller and Sian Gordon Are Changing LA's Yoga Landscape
There is a good percentage of the world that believes yoga and Los Angeles are practically synonymous, and to be fair, that stereotype has some truth to it. The concept of Angelenos sipping green juice, avoiding gluten, and toting their eco-friendly mats to Vinyasa class is actually not far off from the reality of many. But despite the fact that the ancient Indian practice seems to have become so ubiquitous in this city, we are still learning new facets of it all the time.
Enter Love Yoga's studios, founded by Kyle Miller and Sian Gordon, two New York yoga vets who connected over their mutual desire to move to the West Coast and fill a void in the market by creating a practice focused on longevity and sparking joy, rather than a means of achieving a physical ideal. Miller was beloved by those who took her class at the popular Yoga Vida studio near NYU, and Gordon opened the first Love Yoga along with her best friend Jeff Schwarz (who is their third partner) in Montauk. By relocating Love to Venice, whether they knew it or not, they were changing the landscape of yoga in Los Angeles.
Love is rooted in Taoist theory and Sacred Geometry of Katonah Yoga. In a typical class you'll find yourself using any number of props, creating fire in the body with breath work, and challenged to the point of breaking a sweat — without ever feeling intimidated or our of your league, no matter your experience level. The atmosphere, while decidedly Instagram-worthy (bright turquoise floors, stylized murals, a smattering of plants) is shockingly non-competitive. In fact, there are no mirrors, you won't find your neighbor attempting drop-backs or advanced inversions, and the instructors happily offer everyone hands-on adjustments. Essentially, it's nirvana — so much so that we were compelled to learn more about Kyle and Sian, including how their love of yoga began, what other wellness practices keep them sane, and why they consider themselves twins.
How did each of you first fall in love with yoga?
Kyle: My mom never did yoga before or after I was born, but did prenatal with me inside. So she has a lot to do with everything. When I moved to New York after college yoga became the most important thing in my life. I went to Jivamukti, this very curry-flavored, spiritual bhakti, kind of hardcore studio and I fell in love with it. I quit my job after having it for about nine months and funneled all my attention into yoga. I knew that if I kept studying and pouring my energy into it that things would start to happen.
Sian: I’ve actually never done yoga before. I am an engineer [laughing]. No, my parents were yogis; I’ve been doing yoga pretty much my whole life. Since I could walk I’ve been dragged to yoga so I’d just sit there and try to do it, which is pretty much how it is now. I never wanted to be a yoga teacher, it never occurred to me to do that for work. I had an intellectual chip on my shoulder. Political philosophy is my undergrad and I have a masters in educational psychology and by the time I was 27 and graduated, I realized working in a clinic or sitting in an office for 12 hours a day wasn't what I wanted. I did a complete 180 and moved to Montauk and opened a yoga studio with my best friend. I lived in the sticks and ran this yoga studio until I couldn’t live in the sticks anymore.
How did you connect over what Love’s style of practice would be?
Kyle: It’s crazy because now that we’re working together, we have the same teachers and are interested in the same material and it’s very clear what our purpose or mission statement is. Even from the beginning we had the same idea because there was this void in the marketplace and we both didn’t want this competitive, core power, yoga-to-have-a-good-body, vinyasa soldier vibe.
Sian: We’re like two twins separated at birth. There’s no discord. Everything we want is the same.
How would you describe Love to someone who’s never been before?
Kyle: We would say it’s inclusive and that it’s a longevity practice. It’s a maintenance practice designed for you to be able to participate in regularly and the whole point of having a practice and practicing here is to make your life better. To learn techniques, to participate in community, to gain the tools to be able to shape your own perspective. We don’t always deliver but we sure try to uplift and help people feel stable, able.
What other wellness practices do you have for your own sanity?
Kyle: Something we’ve learned from our teachers is to ‘set the condition for joy.’ It doesn’t mean relying on the external world for joy, but set the stage and you’re more likely to be happy and I’ve really figured out what it takes for me and it means going to Malibu. It means walking my dog on the beach. If I go a couple of days and haven’t gotten to watch the sunset at the beach, I start losing my grip and losing my perspective.
Sian: I give Kyle a daily enema. It’s a thing we like to do [laughing]. I'm kidding, though we actually do love colonics. But seriously, being in the ocean as much as possible keeps me happy and sane. It makes me feel like everything I’m working for is worth it.
You can visit Love Yoga at 835 Lincoln Blvd in Venice, CA or 2110 Sunset Blvd, Suite O in Echo Park.