Terry Miffleton, 63, emergency room nurse, MCV Hospital, currently working in bed management
First Bikram yoga class: April 2011
“Yoga is the only thing I do that makes me feel like I’ve run 10 miles.”
In a nutshell, what is your life story?
Terry was born in Richmond, went to Lakeside Elementary School and graduated in 1969 from Hermitage High School. She says she wasn’t on any teams, didn’t play any sports and wasn’t a cheerleader. “I have the hand-eye coordination of a snail,” she says. But she has always had lots of energy: “As a kid, I was outside all the time playing.” She married her high school sweetheart, Chuck. They have two grown sons and four grandchildren (two boys and two girls).
Right out of high school, Terry decided on a career in nursing and completed her training 1972. In 1988 she received a BS in nursing from George Mason University. Since then she has worked continuously at MCV Hospital, and for the past 12 years she has worked in the emergency room there. “You see a part of the world that most people don’t see,” she says of her experience in the ER. When someone picks up a weapon to solve a problem, “people get hurt really badly,” she says.
When a co-worker asked her to run a mile for the Run for the Heart race in the 1980s, Terry became hooked on running and racing. In 1980 she ran a half-marathon in Richmond’s marathon, when it was unusual for women to compete in races. During the next 30 years she completed 73 marathons.
Her goal is to complete 75 marathons, but she says she may “just have to walk them” because her knees “don’t have much cartilage left.”
How did you first learn about BIkram yoga?
Terry says when her knees began to trouble her, she sought healing at Bikram Yoga Richmond.
“Laurie Miller had to hog-tie me into coming to my first class,” she says. “I knew I wouldn’t be very good in yoga … but I feel so good afterwards. I can see so many improvements. It has really helped loosen my knees, hips and pelvis.”
Surprised by the results, she started doing yoga three times a week.
What do you do when you’re not doing yoga?
Terry is an avid reader and gardener, and she loves entertaining. But her passion is competition. Through the years she has competed in one Iron Man triathlon (“I never trained so hard!”) and countless sprint triathlons, half-marathons and 10K and 5K races.
Her greatest moment was in 2010 when she competed in a duathlon in Scotland and came in third in the world in her age class (55-59).
“I still love running,” she says. “I just wish I didn’t love it so much!”
In June she underwent arthroscopic knee surgery and is gradually working her way back to her routine of running, biking and swimming–along with yoga, of course.
How has Bikram yoga changed your life?
“It’s hard to grasp yoga. So much of it is trust and faith in what you are doing. It takes patience,” Terry says. “Yoga makes you happy and peaceful. It gives you an afterglow. It lifts your spirits.”
Especially following her surgery, Terry says, “yoga has kept me from going insane. I’ve been athletic … training every day, two workouts a day. For me, it’s like brushing your teeth. I swim and run, or bike and run every day. With the knee injuries, I was not able to do too much, and yoga kept me from losing my mind.”
Now she is thinking about how she can get better in yoga.
“With biking and running on the open road there are many dangers. In the yoga, you meditate, you focus on the words and your body. It’s less stressful. If you start doing this yoga once a week and take a day off from other sports, it’s preventive medicine. I wish I had known about it when I was younger. It would have kept me more supple.”