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Slatington yoga teacher drowns

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    A GoFundMe account has been set up for Surely Miller’s three children after she died in a swimming tragedy Tuesday in the Dominican Republic. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Published June 13. 2019 02:08PM

A GoFundMe account has been set up for the children of a Slatington area yoga instructor who died in a swimming tragedy Tuesday in the Dominican Republic.

Surely Miller, 40, died after being caught up in a rip current and swept away at a Dominican Republic beach. She left behind three sons, ages 15, 11 and 9.

Contributions toward the Support for Surely Miller’s children can be made at

At press time, $6,126 of a $100,000 goal had been raised.

According to Miller’s family, originator of the GoFundMe account, “Surely has blessed so many of us with her warm healing touch and the best thing we can do for her now is make sure her children are taken care of. Surely, along with their father, Donovan, have done a wonderful job raising these boys to this point.

“Let’s give back to Surely and help in a way she no longer can by ensuring the well-being of her children. Our goal is to provide financial support in whatever area they may need, especially their educational and spiritual development.”

Miller had a yoga studio in the 3000 block of Shady Nook Road, where she taught Ashtanga, hot yoga, and Vinyasa Flow styles.

To those who knew her, such as Maya Kowalcyk, Miller was beloved.

“She was an amazing person,” Kowalcyk said. “She was just so open and friendly and giving. You saw that immediately when you met her.”

Kowalcyk, owner of Jim Thorpe Yoga, said Miller visited her yoga studio and attended one of her yoga trainings.

“We ended up sitting together and we just really connected. That’s when we really became closer,” she said. “We wound up just telling each other our whole life stories. We had some things in common, events in our lives that were pretty traumatic and we connected on that level.

From that point on, I’ve just felt really connected to her.”

Kowalcyk said Miller held Native American sweat lodge healing ceremonies in her backyard.

It was at one of those ceremonies where Kowalcyk heard Miller chanting, “Love is always the answer.”

“It’s a very simple phrase, very meaningful,” she said. “I ended up getting a tattoo (of those words) on my arm.”

Kowalcyk said her reaction upon learning of Miller’s passing was “just shock.”

“You just don’t expect somebody so young to die,” she said. “At the same time, it’s pretty amazing how far-reaching her life and her personality was; she reached and affected a lot of people.”

Kowalcyk said the support Miller and her family have received in such a short time is a testament to the person she was.

“People are just outpouring their love and sadness all over social media,” she said.

“It’s pretty awesome to see that. Her kids can at least see that their mom was an amazing person and she helped so many people.”

Kowalcyk added that Miller “was a mentor for a lot of younger girls who looked up to her.”

“She welcomed everyone into her home with open arms,” she said. “She was just a super-loving person, and you just felt that when you met her.”

Kelley Andrade, a yoga instructor from Jim Thorpe, also shared her thoughts on Miller.

“She was a lovely person, great yoga teacher,” Andrade said. “She radiated such a peaceful and calm energy. It’s such a shame she is no longer with us.”

Kowalcyk said Miller previously lived in Slatington, but recently moved back within the last year to the Dominican Republic.

Miller is the second Lehigh Valley woman to die recently in the Dominican Republic.

On May 25, Miranda Schaup-Werner, 41, a psychotherapist from Whitehall Township, suffered a heart attack on a vacation in the Dominican Republic.

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