Some of us reach a challenging point in our life where we do not know where to turn. Some of us turn to a vice, while others turn to religion. Others, like Kyla and Alyson, turned to Kundalini yoga and found their home in the Kundalini community.
Kundalini Yoga Retreat in Costa Rica
Kyla Rose Maher and Alyson Simms are both bringing a group to Blue Osa through One Yoga Collective for a Kundalini yoga retreat.
When did you begin your kundalini yoga practice? (What or who made you step on your yoga mat the first time, and where were you?)
Kyla – I was going through a really dark time in my life, in 2008, struggling with addiction and an eating disorder. My awesome hippie yoga mom begged me to try yoga. I was too terrified to walk into a yoga class, so she set me up with some private Hatha lessons with a local teacher. I don’t know if I really loved the yoga – but I loved this teacher. I opened up to her a little, and she suggested that I try Kundalini Yoga. Once I finally felt comfortable enough to walk into a real class, and give Kundalini a try – it changed everything.
Alyson – I began my yoga practice in 2002. I remember walking into the studio and feeling like “I am home!”
How has yoga changed your life?
Kyla – Kundalini Yoga was the driving force behind my recovery from addiction. The practice allowed me to process a lot of issues I’d never faced and many emotions I’d never allowed myself to feel. Consequently, A LOT changed. The thoughts and emotions coming into my mind weren’t controlling my reaction to life anymore. I started to really feel and listen to my body. I finally was able to quit smoking and I began to eat foods that were nourishing and replenishing for my body. I began to develop a love and compassion for myself that in turn, changed my entire attitude towards life.
Alyson – Yoga brought me into my body since I had always been floating around throughout my life, somewhat purposeless. It also brought me back to me, meaning I really got to meet myself and find out what I am all about!
When did you realize you wanted to teach Kundalini yoga and lead a Kundalini yoga retreat?
Kyla – I don’t know if it was ever a realization I came to – it sort of just happened! I was mentored by a yoga studio owner, who had me teaching before I had even started teacher training. I learn so much by teaching. It’s part of the whole journey.
Alyson – I used to teach English as a Second Language and Art Education. Moving into teaching Yoga was a no-brainer for me because I know I am a teacher!
What is your favorite yoga pose currently?
Kyla – CAMEL. god it feels so good!
Alyson – Right now, I’m enjoying bridge pose. It is such a good heart opener, core strengthener, and most importantly, very calming and soothing to the nervous system.
What is one specific asana are you currently working towards?
Kyla – Well, Kundalini yoga is less about attaining a certain asana, and more about meditation, finding peace of mind, and waking up to your true self. I love this quote by a favorite teacher of mine, Gurmukh “Yoga is not about self-improvement. It’s about self-acceptance.”
Alyson – I am always working towards a deeper shivasana. Being the most important pose in a yoga practice, this is the one that ties all the work we’ve done in a class together. It integrates all the body systems, lets us recharge and rejuvenate. I am working to see how much deeper I can let go every time.
Do you have a favorite snack or smoothie for extra yoga energy?
Kyla – Does chocolate count?
Kyla – My favorite snack is making a cacao smoothie. I use hemp milk, one banana, chia seeds, and cacao. It’s simple and yummy!
Why did you decide on Blue Osa for your Kundalini yoga retreat?
Kyla – Because it’s GORGEOUS, inviting, accommodating, and right on the beach.
Alyson – We decided on Blue Osa for our Kundalini yoga retreat because of the location, farm to table meals, the adventures that can be taken from there, and also the beautiful ground for deeply relaxing.
April is Earth Month. What are some ways you help save the planet and practice being eco-friendly?
Kyla – I walk or ride my bike everywhere I can! Even during snowy Rhode Island winters (it’s exhilarating!) I’m also big into repurposing – I just read this great blog I’ll share: http://twistedsifter.com/2012/06/creative-ways-to-repurpose-reuse-and-upcycle-old-things/
Alyson – I always bring my bags to the store for any kind of shopping. But also started bringing my own containers for to-go food and drinks from restaurants!
Tell us a little about what we can expect from your upcoming retreat.
Kyla – You can expect to relax, do some powerful life-changing yoga, connect to your truth, nourish your body, and most of all, LAUGH and have FUN.
Alyson – You can expect a space created to relax into your body and soul. We will offer Hatha and kundalini, a great mix of body, mind, and spirit – the true meaning of Yoga. We’ll have one night of ecstatic dance for the playful side in all of us! We will offer daily self-inquiry for all participants – getting to the heart of being human on this earth at this time. Besides that, we encourage everyone to adventure or listen to the waves on the beach…it’s your retreat!
Who is this yoga retreat for?
Alyson – Anyone who wants a life changing experience by profound yoga techniques, communion with nature, and a whole bunch of sweet connections!
Kyla – Ditto what Alyson said!
How do you hope your students feel at the end of the retreat (takeaways)?
Kyla – Inspired, uplifted, rejuvenated, and clear.
Alyson – More connected to themselves, energized, and ready to live life more fully.
End with your favorite yoga (or random inspirational) quote or thought.
Kyla – Well I already dropped a Gurmukh quote above, so I’ll end by saying BIG LOVE to anyone who reads this! I hope you decide to join us on this epic 7-night yoga eco-retreat!
Alyson – “Courage is a love affair with the unknown.” Osho
Have you ever been on a Kundalini Yoga Retreat? Doesn’t a Kundalini Yoga Retreat with Kyla and Alyson sound fun! Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.
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About The Authors
Kyla Rose Maher (Geet Anand Kaur)
is the owner of Long Time Sun Apparel. Kyla graduated from Pepperdine University with a B.S. in Sports Medicine. She is a KRI Certified Instructor of Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan® having completed her 200-hour teacher training program at the Tenth Gate Center for Yoga and Meditation in Portsmouth, RI, and is certified in SuperHealth, a yogic therapeutic technology for addictive behavior. She has had the privilege of studying under many master teachers including Hari Kaur Khalsa, Mukta Kaur Khalsa, and Mahan Rishi Singh Khalsa. She runs Long Time Sun Apparel (www.longtimesunapparel.com) and been a contributing writer for the Spirit Voyage Blog and the Kundalini Yoga Boston Blog. She spent the summers of 2012-2013 teaching at the Ponderosa Tazland Festival in Germany and is currently enjoying spreading the teachings of Yogi Bhajan throughout New England and abroad.
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Alyson Simms (Shabad Atma)
is the owner of Atman’s Offerings. Alyson Simms (Shabad Atma, RYT 500) is a natural bridge between the earthly and Divine realms. Her teaching style brings an intensity of Spirit while enveloping you in grace and humor. Your body will tune, your mind will balance, your courage will be summoned, and most importantly, your soul will shine. She was drawn to her first yoga class in 2001 to live a deeper life. Her true-self was ignited and her life became one of devotion. Alyson has studied: Hatha, vinyasa, tantra, ashtanga, restorative, zen meditation, qi-gong, yoga nidra, trance dance, and some good old-fashioned sitting quietly on the floor. Kundalini Yoga became her first teaching platform and has taken her around the world to practice, study and teach. Alyson has always carried healing energy in her hands and has studied healing modalities with Liliana Barzola, Vanessa Stone, Francis the Healer, Guru Dev Singh, and Mother Nature herself. She has her Level 1 certification in Sat Nam Rasayan, the healing modality of Kundalini Yoga. Her passions include world travelling, ecstatic dance, contact improvisation, healing stones, photography, and creating community through business and healing groups.
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