Paula Tillen
May 21, 2021


Musician and yogi, Paula Tillen became interested in yoga as a child in the 1960’s and loved to flop down in front of the TV to watch and do the moves with Kathleen Hitchcock, the lady who first brought yoga to the attention of Milwaukee Public Television viewers with her show Hatha Yoga. Paula practiced off and on throughout her life, until 2012 when her husband Bob sustained a spinal injury in a car accident.

Since that injury and the subsequent journey through the bowels of the American health care system, Bob found that a consistent Yin yoga practice is the most effective way to manage his chronic pain. This was the inspiration for Paula to become a serious practitioner, and then a teacher of yoga.

After over 40 years as a professional freelance musician, singer, pianist, conductor, teacher, and composer, Paula became a RYT (registered yoga teacher) in 2014, and in 2017, received an additional specialized certification in Yin Yoga from Bernie Clark, one of the originators of Yin Yoga. She is also certified as a meditation teacher and is a level 3 Reiki master practitioner.

While continuing to be in much demand on the Milwaukee music and theatre scene, Paula has also been active as a yoga instructor throughout the Milwaukee area, as well as leading workshops in Yoga for Singers at Carroll University and other locations.

Paula is a great believer in the power of yoga to heal and maintain health and mobility for all people. Yoga is for EVERY BODY! 

Paula holds a bachelor’s degree from Carroll College in piano performance.

Q&A with Paula Tillen

Q. How long have you been a yoga teacher?
A. I have been a teacher my entire life. I started teaching private piano lessons at age 14, and taught high school music for many years. I have been teaching yoga since 2014.

Q. What areas do you specialize in?
A. I consider my special area of expertise to be gentle yoga practice for seniors, incorporating elements of Yin, Restorative, and Pranayama.

Q. What brought you to your current style of practice?
A. Age.

Q. What can a new student expect?
A. A new student can expect to be welcomed into class, supplied with mat and props they will need, and to receive as much instruction as needed to feel that the first class and subsequent classes are successful and enjoyable. You are always encouraged to try every pose and body shape to the extent that feels right for you.

Q. What recent industry trends have you found noteworthy? I find the current trend toward inclusion of all body types, including differently-abled people and people of size, as modeled by the teaching and writing of Anna Guest-Jelley, Dianne Bondy, Jessamyn Stanley, and others, to be quite encouraging. I hope to emulate such yogis in making classes welcoming to all shapes and sizes, and knowing how to modify to make every pose accessible to every practitioner.

Q. What are your current wellness goals and how are you addressing them?
A. My ongoing wellness goal is to make healthy nutritional choices every day and work a little bit more cardio into my fitness regime. (More walking!)

Q. What is your favorite beautiful spot in Milwaukee?
A. Saint John Cathedral, All Saints Cathedral, Milwaukee Art Museum.

Q. What is your favorite place to eat in Milwaukee?
A. Il Mito Enoteca, Sala Di Pranza, or anywhere that has good sushi and sashimi.

Q. What are your top three favorite things to do/hobbies?
A. I love to design and make jewelry, read good fiction, and work in my garden.

Q. What do you do to de-stress?
A. See above, also spend time with my husband and cats.