Kyla Maher is the Owner of Long Time Sun Apparel, whose flagship store is located at 198 Thames Street, in Newport, Rhode Island. Long Time Sun is a boutique (physical and virtual) that began with the intention of selling high vibrational clothing and has since grown into a yogic paradise. The items for sale at Long Time Sun are pieces that celebrate our connection to our inner radiance (and possible fashionistas) and actually bring us closer to something greater than the cloth itself. Kyla has curated and manicured a collection at Long Time Sun that makes your heart sing. Her inspiration? Kundalini Yoga. An ancient yogic practice that has changed her life, chanting included.
Kyla teaches a Kundalini class once a week, out of her versatile shop, on Tuesday nights at 6p.m. If you’re an advanced yoga practitioner, a beginner, or are just interested in some beautiful threads, take a moment to visit Long Time Sun and see the powerful life force that Kyla is spreading.
Q: You were born and raised on the island, correct?
A: “I grew up in Portsmouth on a horse farm where we raised about fifty horses.”
Kyla laughs and she isn’t boasting, for (and on) the record.
“I’m a nationally ranked horseback rider, thank you very much…it’s very expensive, I probably couldn’t afford to ride horses if it wasn’t my family’s business. Much like I probably wouldn’t be able to afford yoga if I didn’t own a yoga studio.”
Q: Who is Yogi Bhajan(Buh-gin)? I see a lot of quotes by him on your website.
A: “Yogi Bjahan is a famous yogi from India. He became a master of Kundalini Yoga at age sixteen, he’s also a master at Hatha Yoga. In the early 70’s he came over to the states and saw what was going on [in LA] which was basically a lot of young people partying and he explained that what these people were looking for, they weren’t going to find through drugs. He told them that all they had to do was this yoga [Kundalini] and it would get them just as high and they would find what they’re looking for! So, that’s sort of how Kundalini Yoga started, in California, Yogi Bhajan started teaching all these hippies and they just kind of followed him and it grew from there.”
Q: What is Kundalini?
A: “A very sacred yoga in India, very secret. You had to master other types of yoga before you even could learn a small piece of Kundalini Yoga. In India, they thought that if it got into the wrong hands, because it is so powerful, there could be a corruption of power. But, Yogi Bhajan felt like this was something people could handle, that everyone needed to wake up and it was time for them to wake up. He was really looked down upon for spreading the love to the U.S.”
I segued to ask if Yogi Bhajan was exiled from India because of his unlawful sharing of Kundalini. Kyla wasn’t completely sure, and I am still not completely sure but it looks like I have some research to do.
“Kundalini is a type of yoga that balances the nervous and glandular system and it works in the subconscious mind.”
Q: Why Kundalini?
A: “I started with Power Yoga, Liz Dufresne was my first yoga teacher. I love her. Ironically we are now teaching a teacher training together. Liz is very intuitive and I started doing private lessons with her and she recommended that I try Kundalini Yoga. When I finally did try it, it was super healing for me and I started to notice that I was reacting to things differently. Things that used to trigger me stopped triggering me. Opportunities started to flow, life got easier and I got more comfortable with myself.”
Q: Is there any aspect of Kundalini that you have not always enjoyed or resonated with?
A: “Yes. I, now, completely respect all aspects of Kundalini Yoga. If there is any part of it that doesn’t resonate with me now I am open to it resonating with me later because I am open to that experience. It was very foreign to me and some things were very off-putting to me when I started and I didn’t understand. I mean, you’ve got a teacher with their head covered, all in white, up on a platform and you’re chanting. It’s out there, it’s weird. That part of it can be off-putting to people for a number of reasons…
…my goal is to teach Kundalini and make it accessible and fun and to explain the weird parts of it. I want people understand there is a meaning to all the things that we do, because it is life changing. The teachings are always here, it is just how people may interpret the teachings where the message gets skewed. It is like any other spiritual path, the teachings are always pure and true, I just may not understand them right now.”
Q: Speaking of, why do you wear a turban?
A: “Well, I like to wear an ‘urban turban’ first of all. It’s very cute and I look really hot in it.”
If you haven’t understood until this point that Kyla is not only spiritually enlightened but also funny then I probably haven’t done the greatest job in transcribing her interview.
“The technology of covering your head – I wrote a whole blog on it called ‘What’s with the Turban’. It keeps the energy contained and your experience more potent. I recommend that students try meditating with their head covered and without their head covered. If they find a difference with their head covered I would also recommend that they continue to do it, if they don’t, that’s ok. It is more just to help you concentrate and help you focus more deeply in your meditation.”
Q: All of this is melding together, but, what’s up with wearing all white? I read about it on your website but …
A: “The way that I think about a lot of these practices is that we all have an energy field. Your body is a chemical process that has an electromagnetic field, that is just a fact. You have energy around you, that’s just science. You can feel someone who someone is standing behind you, you can just feel them. That energy field gets stronger and more vibrant but it also can get weaker. Your aura, or electromagnetic field is constantly changing, up and down, there are things that strengthen your aura and brighten your aura which would be: hanging out with someone you love, doing something awesome, exercising, doing Kundalini yoga, wearing white. It is a big vibrational color, high vibrational colors strengthen your aura.”
Kyla is doing all of these funky hand motions that I wish everyone reading could see, somewhat like a mix between sign language and interpretive dance.
“So, we have this constant flow but we have a baseline. So if you practice strengthening your energy enough, you actually raise your baseline. Wear white once a week when you come to Kundalini Yoga, and you’ll feel different. Just in general, you do things you love more. Meditate more, connect with your higher self more, you will raise your vibration. It’s also a practice of being conscious. You’re wearing white, everyone is looking at you.”
Q: Do you have to be a certain fitness level to practice Kundalini?
A: “No, Kundalini Yoga is for everybody. If you can breathe, you can do Kundalini Yoga.”
Q: What would be your advice for a beginner?
A: “Just show up, come with an open mind. Most of it is done with eyes closed so it helps students stay at their own pace. There is a less of a competitive nature than in other types of yoga.”
Q: What types of products do you sell at Long Time Sun?
A: “We carrying imports from Thailand, India, Peru. We also carry locally sourced goods from nearby entrepreneurs. I like to say, things from far away and things from our neighbors. I recently have started selling designer yoga clothes too. You kind of get a little bit of everything at the store.”
Q: How do you chose the products that you sell? Is the process of curating ethical, local, or a little bit of both?
A: “I curate based on the students needs and wants, coupled with conscious consumerism. Yogi’s tend to be more careful about what they’re buying. We want to support the yogic lifestyle and support their [Yogis] spiritual practice.”
If you have any interest in joining a Kundalini class (which I am sure you do), or participating in Kyla’s upcoming teacher training you can visit her Facebook Page, her website, or watch this awesome promotional video. Thank you, Kyla, I definitely felt my energy field vibrating at at higher frequency after we met event though I was wearing all black.
All of the photos used in this post (with the exception of the Yogi Bhajan selfie) were taken by Jennifer Manville of Jennifer Manville Photography.