Lili was born in Bannockburn, Scotland, a site of the famous battle where the Scots won a landmark victory over the English in 1314, as Lili proudly slipped into the conversation. She studied Film and Communications in Edinburgh, before moving down to London. It went like that:
“My brother lent me his kit bag, I got a train to London and found a place in Brixton, which was a cheap area to live in after the riots of 1985.”
Lili got a job with the Red Wedge, a collective of musicians and artists, working to engage young people in politics and to support the Labour Party. Lili made banners and posters, met lots of interesting activists and took part in political marches, her own heart synchronised with the quick pulse of London.
In the following years Lili dedicated herself to art. She did a foundation course at Central Saint Martins and kept studying art until she joined a bespoke furniture making workshop.
Her next reincarnation, if you permit me to borrow this theological term, was becoming a booker in the entertainment industry. Lili lived on a boat in Chiswick, booked stylists and make-up artists for commercial fashion shoots and roamed around Soho.
At some point she discovered yoga, visited and fell in love with India and did a yoga teacher training course. I met Lili in 2005, when I was just trying out different styles of ancient discipline and different teachers. I knew I had to look no more. I thought Lili had been practising yoga for decades, and at the same time she was trying out new postures and breathing exercises, experimenting and challenging her class, which is what I liked.
“I see yoga as a craft. I never stop learning it, and I soak up inspiration from my students.”
Lili has now been teaching yoga for 15 years but she cannot help but keep reinventing herself. Over the last few years she fell in love with cycling and indoor spinning. She now specialises in personal training both on a bike and on a mat, putting together rehabilitation programmes for clients, overcoming sport injuries.
Over the last few months Lili and her business partner have been working on a new project and have come up with a range of underwear for female urban cyclists. In Lili’s own words, Bike Nicks are sporty, but nice. Lili has also designed unisex bags for yoga mats.
“Yoga is my path but I like to keep challenging myself. I’ll never stop.”
At that point my jaw dropped because Lili is showed me her foil – that’s right – she is currently studying fencing.
“Fencing is so graceful, I love the fluidity of it and you’ve got to stay focussed all the time. Lots of Russians and Eastern Europeans are doing it – you should try it.”
As soon as Lili finished talking about the differences between foil and sabre, she launched into filling me in on her longer-term plans. In no particular order, they include travelling the Amazon, crossing Siberia and taking part in the Burning Man.
“Women are just not pushing themselves enough. Don’t let your fears stop you!”
That was Lili Millar, a Lady Who Impresses.
If you like to connect with Lili, please have a look at her blog.