Cover Story | Fitness

The Spiritual Gangster

Hone your body, mind and spirit for optimal physical and emotional health.

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If you understand the dedication and discipline of a solid exercise routine, but require an extra level of healing on a more transcendent level, you, my friend, are The Spiritual Gangster. Your need to open your heart rivals the need to open your hips. Kyla Rose Maher, founder of spiritual boutique and yoga and meditation center, Long Time Sun Apparel of Newport, remembers the first time she did yoga in her early 20s.

“I was going through a tough time and I needed something to get me out of the dark place I was in. I became interested in Kundalini Yoga, which is very physical but also has a strong mental and spiritual component. I felt so high after my first class. This practice was so unbelievably healing, that it ended up changing my life.” She went on to study under many master teachers, obtain specific practice certifications, and teach around the world – which all led her to her brick and mortar Newport studio, where she continues to share the knowledge and benefits she has practiced for years.

Kyla explains that yoga, on so many levels, contributes to overall wellbeing and the benefits are endless, but when it comes to its contribution to fitness, two big rewards are increased flexibility and building of muscular strength. She firmly believes that anyone wanting to try any practice of yoga for the first time simply needs to just show up. “Yoga is not a competition. No matter the level you work at, you will reap the benefits.”

Practicing yoga, in any of its forms, will give you optimal physical and emotional health. In fact, I’m sure that regardless of your fitness personality, you would be remiss in letting this workout slide from your weekly schedule.

Classes You'll Enjoy:

  • A 5,000 year-old system of yogic exercises and meditation, Kundalini Yoga at Long Time Sun Apparel is the place to be for a hands-on experience of your highest consciousness. Combining postures, breathing and mantra (sound), you’ll leave this class with increased wellbeing, vitality and connectedness to life. 198 Thames Street, Newport. 401-619-8666, www.LongTimeSunApparelnNewport.com
  • If your flexibility mimics that of a steel rod, Restorative Yoga at Shanti Yoga is the next stop on your list.  A slow-paced class focused on using breathing techniques to go deeper into poses, restorative yoga increases flexibility and deepens mind-body connection, to help create the space for increased range of motion. 183 Winthrop Street, Rehoboth. 508-269-7812, www.ShantiYogaRehoboth.com
  • If you like the heat, get into the Bikram Yoga room. A therapeutic style of hot yoga (100-105 degrees with 30-50% humidity), Bikram moves through 26 postures and two breathing exercises, with loads of body benefits, from healing of chronic pain, to reduction of tension and a promotion of overall health and wellbeing. 36 Gooding Avenue, Bristol. 401-217-9010, www.EastBayBikramYoga.com
  • If you’re in need of some major deep healing relaxation, a guided restorative session of Yoga Nidra at Thames Street Yoga is the class for you. Break free from stress, noise and restlessness while your cells find complete peace and balance. 198 Thames Street, Newport. 401-374-2553, www.ThamesStreetYoga.com
  • Translating to “Curing something hidden below the surface,” Buti (yoga) digs deep to bring your inner female prowess out in this sweaty and satisfying form of high-energy tribal dance, soulful power yoga and plyometrics. 315 Main Road, Tiverton. 401-624-2966, www.DanceFusionRI.com