Pose of the Week: Ardha Matsyendrasana

Ardha MatsyendrasanaArdha Matsyendrasana “Half Lord of the Fishes Pose”

Benefits: This pose is great for digestion, liver and kidney detoxification, great neck and shoulder stretch as well as energizes the spine!

Get twisted, add your personal expression/variation, snap a pic and upload to Instagram, include #playcarlsbad in the caption and we will repost your pic to our Instagram page! Shine on yogis!

You can find Erin, pictured here showing a variation of Ardha Matsyendrasana, on the schedule Wednesdays at 7:45pm and Thursdays at 6pm.

New Year, New PLAY and New You!

It’s taken blood, sweat and tears, but we made it.  We are so excited to welcome you into our new space!  We are thrilled to have almost double the space to be Jessyour home away from home.  We have custom built furniture from Brave Elements, Ian has created reclaimed wood sconces, bath lights and other fun pieces and what everyone is most excited about is the new bathrooms and showers!  Next time you are in for class, bring your clothes to put in our new lockers for a nice refreshing shower after class.

This new addition opens up so much opportunity for PLAY and the growth of our community!  We look forward to adding new workshops, and new classes to the schedule in the upcoming weeks and months.  We’re also very excited to be collaborating with local community to bring you music, food, cooking, nutrition, juicing, and all things that inspire well being, happiness, and play!

It seems almost too perfect that our ‘New’ was just in time for the ‘New Year.’  The New Year season is a time where we all step back and reflect, and cast our hopes and dreams for the upcoming year. Yoga is very similar in that your practice tends to show you your true self, giving you the opportunity to reflect on what means most to you every time you step on the mat or meditation cushion.  Lets keep the inspiration and excitement of the New Year alive each time you meet your practice all the way through 2015.

For 2015, PLAY hopes to have more opportunity to spend more time with each of you.  We dream of holding space for you to find your truest, happiest self.  And, lastly in 2015, we want to laugh, love and play!  What are you hoping for in 2015? IMG_1674

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Disasters, Delays and …Gratitude? by Jess McGimsey

Ian and JessWe all know that S**t happens, but in our case I wasn’t expecting that saying to be so literal.  Last week we encountered a problem with the plumbing that apparently had gone un-noticed for several years (the space that we are expanding into has been vacant for about 4 years).  When we started out work for the new bathrooms, we ended up with waste water basically going directly from the toilet in our space straight down into the unit below us! What a nightmare. The issue has been repaired and we are working to repair the damage done to our neighbor’s space.

So, why the gratitude? I’m sure some of you have seen, when things are in crisis some people around you really surprise you with how supportive and helpful they become.  Others, who have always been helpful go above and beyond.  Then of course there are those few who even though you’re in crisis, they still expect you to drop everything for them.  Last week, I encountered all three types of these people.  The one that really surprised me, was our contractor.  Contractors in general tend to have a bad rep for not showing up, not finishing things, and doing things much worse.  Our first contractor in our first buildout almost five years ago was terrible, and resulted in us firing him after demo.   When learning of the water issue last week I called our current contractor, and even though he’s working on several jobs, he dropped everything and was there before I could get there. He then stayed all day, and coordinated to have everything repaired, and replaced.  Since then, he’s stayed on top of the situation while continuing the work in our new space.

Most of you know Monique.  She teaches a rocking class, and she’s also the Assistant Manager here at PLAY.  When everything was falling apart, all it took was a phone call and she stepped in to run the studio and completely took over my daily studio tasks.  Without her taking things off my plate temporarily, I surly would have lost my head.

Now, I’m not saying that I dealt with this setback with total grace.  In fact, I did have a minor melt-down the second time this plumbing problem happened, and had to just walk away.  Then my husband Ian, left work to come and be ‘me’ on site at the studio to help take care of the issue. And while this construction process has required almost all of my attention lately, he has stepped in to manage most of my daily household duties, plus Wyatt duty and doing his best to keep me sane.

These people are definitely not the only people being supportive, and I could totally keep going, but then I’d start to sound like an academy award speech.  Thanks to the academy…

Even though we are a bit behind schedule, we are still moving forward and the new space is going to be amazing.  Things were bad for a moment but, they definitely could have been worse.  Most importantly, the people I have by my side are some of the best people that I could ever imagine.

“Be grateful for all the obstacles in your life, they have strengthened you as you continue with your journey.” – Unknown

Pose of the Week: Utthita Parsvakonasana

sideangleUtthita Parsvakonasana “Extended side angle pose”

Benefits: strengthens legs, knees, and ankles. Stretches groin, spine, waist, chest and lungs, and shoulders. Increase stamina.

Follow @playcarlsbad on Instagram and hashtag #playcarlsbad doing the pose of the week and we’ll give ya an asana shout out.

Distractions by Jess McGimsey

Jess and WyattHave you heard the banging and drilling next door? That’s the sound of progress! The contractor and his team are working very quickly, and if you take a peek next time your in, the space is already starting to transform. Demo and framing are done, and they’re now working on opening up the ceiling and getting ready for electrical. As exciting as this is for all of us, the sounds can be a bit distracting while you are trying to sweat away the day in your downward facing dog. When there’s a bang of the hammer, does it take you away from your breath and take you away from the present moment and into your head? This got me thinking, are these external distractions really what’s keeping you or me from being present? Or is it internal distractions?

On my mat I’ve noticed those days where I’m in my head, and for whatever reason can’t focus. I find every excuse to not be present. I pick lint off my mat, I drop down and adjust my pants, oh and now I need to redo my ponytail. I listen to the traffic going by, I check out that cute top on the girl in front of me… I wonder where she got that? I’m physically here, but I’m not presently here.

Then on the other hand there’s those days where I really could be the only one in class and I wouldn’t notice the difference. I walk out not having any idea of what poses or sequence we just did. I was fully present breathing with each pose of the moment. So, what’s the difference? Me.

I have the power to be present even if my mind doesn’t want to be, and so do you. I’m not saying the construction noise isn’t distracting, because it completely is. But what I am saying is, when the hammering stops, can we find peace in the present moment without focusing on another distraction? And not just on the yoga mat? How often do we distract ourselves from our true self, or from things that are really important? I’m totally guilty of this one. My distraction, I’ve realized is I have a tendency to check my phone constantly. Why? Is it because I’m waiting on an important email or call?… Nope. Whenever I get a little uneasy, bored, or for no reason at all, I check my phone. It’s like a tick. It’s easier to bury myself in my phone, then to be in a real situation. So, what’s the first step to letting go of unnecessary distractions? Realize them. For me, am I truly needing to check for an email, or am I finding an excuse to not be in the moment? Do I really need to redo my ponytail? Or am I just wanting to skip Vasistasana (side plank) because it pushes me?

Once we realize what is distracting us, we have the choice to either give attention to it or let it go. When we let go of things that don’t need our attention, that leaves us free to be completely present.

“If you must look back, do so forgivingly. If you must look forward, do so prayerfully. However, the wisest thing you can to do is be in the present…gratefully. “- Maya Angelou

Pose of the Week: Ustrasana

Ustrasana “Camel Pose”

Benefits: Maximum compression of spine, which stimulates nervous system. Improves flexibility of neck, spine, and shoulders. Stretches abdomals and throat. Opens heart chakra.

Follow @playcarlsbad on Instagram and hashtag #playcarlsbad doing the pose of the week and we’ll give ya an asana shout out.