How to kick ass in one easy step! By Rebecca Laser

We loved this recent post by Rebecca Laser on her blog stillplayinwithit.  We hope you enjoy it, and be sure to check out her blog! Rebecca Laser-Blog

I am sitting in a Starbucks on Sunset BLVD this am. To get here, I had to weave around the detour for a race happening on Hollywood BLVD. Apropos for today’s blog…

On your marks…Get set…GO!!!!

First thing that we encounter as we leave our mother’s body? Breath. Last thing we experience as we take off to our next space? Breath. And every moment in between? Breath.

But we must also believe in it’s power to support our goals and dreams. What I mean is this: Look at your breath as your building block. You want to increase your pace, speed or endurance in exercise, practice focusing on your breath. You want to decrease anxiety or stress levels, practice. You want to be more attentive in your meditation practice and enjoy deeper thoughts, practice connecting to your vitality, your breath. Like the one listed below… :)

Deep Thoughts By Jack Handey:
“If a kid asks where rain comes from, I think a cute thing to tell him is “God is crying.” And if he asks why God is crying, another cute thing to tell him is “Probably because of something you did.”

Step one: Breathe with intention.

What is intention? One view of intention: higher consciousness thought. When you hold an intention you actually call forth your conscious awareness at a present level.That is it. We, as humans, as spiritual beings, have the ability to find our present moment, our presence, in a breath. We have the POWER to calm our nerves through a breath. We have the ability to increase our heart rate at a pace that our breath can assist in reaching. We have the design to expand lung capacity and maintain a steady heart rate by…breathing.

Let’s try it together: (Come on. Just do it.) Inhale through your nose to a count of 10, or 11 or 50 for heavens sake…just pick a slow paced inhale… slowly, as slow as you possibly can. NOW STOP. Before you exhale, which we normally do quite quickly from this point, become exquisitely aware and now…exhale…AS slowly and consciously as you inhaled. Get grounded again before you inhale…now consciously inhale again, SLOWLY. Maybe give your breath a color. Visualize this colored air oxygenating your body from the base of your spine, up through each vertebrae, filling your lungs, enlarging your rib cage…this vibrant breath swirling around your heart space and moving up into your skull and swirling around that beautiful brain of yours…and out the crown of your head. Wow. Did you see that?

Someone once shared with me how he meditates and I really appreciated it (Thank you LS): As you exhale, visualize yourself squishing down to the smallest molecular form of you, like you were a speck of dust, a particle of sand, an electron, an atom, a quark! (yes, look that one up). Then as you inhale, imagine yourself expanding to a ginormous form of YOU. Like you could engulf all of Texas with your amazing mass. NOW HOLD IT. And consciously exhale as you transform this immensely sized being into the smallest, tiniest form of YOU. Breath in…lungs expand, oxygen increasing the expansiveness WE formulated with those moments that WE created. You did. You created that moment of intention of YOUR breath.

Do we have to focus on our breath? No. See, your ANS-Autonomic Nervous System- will continue to breath FOR you. Most ANS mechanisms are involuntary. The ANS acts as a “control system” that functions below the level of consciousness even. Beautifully and intricately formed in our being, the ANS assists us when we are unaware of our design. Thank you ANS! Sometimes I forget to breath…and am able to simply allow this visceral function to be. We can bring precision to this valuable force by utilizing our focus.

Spirituality of Breath: In most, dare I say all, traditions, spirit means breath. The spirit in us and the spirit through us is breath. Do you believe that you have the power to connect with your spirit through your breath? Again, maybe try that exercise a few more times really focusing on your spirit, god, God, whatever connects your spiritually to you. Pray as you practice this breath. Meditate as you breath with awareness. And gratitude. Let us be grateful for this tool in our belt.

PranaYAMA is prana-YUMMY!

Pranayama is a Sanskrit word meaning: extension of the prana or breath. Or extension of the life force. Breath equals life force. Therefore, that kick ass step I was selling you on in my title: Breath is life force. Breath is energy. Breath is our life. Breath is the key to awareness, presence and adaptation even to stress, yes? Breath is our fuel. (And a little plug for Yoga. Sometimes the only place in this world I can be present is on my mat…while I am focusing on the breath that centers my practice.)

I included a picture of myself from the 5k I ran last Sunday. Just a little 3.10686 mile run along the coast…I was inspired to riff about breath because of this race. The reason I crossed the finish line was because of my breath. My breath fueled me, increased my pace when needed and slowed my stride, too. My breath was with me the entire way. As well, breath is what linked me to the other stars racing that day. We all have breath, we all have life while we are still breathing, and this connects us as humans. From the beginning to the end. From the start to the finish line. This race…this pace. I’m ready to execute. Are you?

Our bodies, designed in greatness, will always hold our breath…so you don’t have to. Let it flow.

Step two: THERE AIN’T NO STEP TWO. Just breathe :)


Walk MS Donation Hot Flow

Walk MS DonationJoin Julia this Sunday, April 13th, at 9:30am for a 75min Donation Hot Flow.

Donations go to support Walk MS Pacific South Coast Chapter. Everyone is welcome even first-time yogis!

*Suggested donation $10*

The Pacific South Coast Chapter works to improve the quality of life for people affected by MS in San Diego, Orange, and Imperial counties, and the Hawaiian Islands, and raise funds for critical MS research.

Your donations help support the many programs and services provided by the National MS Society, as well as fund important research into the cause, treatments and a cure for MS.

-We will have donation receipts available for you to keep for your tax records-

Pose of the Week: Vrksasana

Tree PoseVrksasana “Tree Pose”

For all these beautiful spring days we’ve been having!

Benefits: Stretches groins, thighs, chest, and shoulders. Strengthens thighs, calves, ankles, and spine. Improves sense of balance. Reduces flat feet and relieves sciatica.

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

The Yogic Path and Destiny- by Catherine Mazur

As a yogi, I believe that destiny is not so unknowable. So many people wonder how their life is going to turn out.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Where am I going to end up?

Will I live a good life?

Will I be healthy?

Instead of asking from a disempowering place, as if we have no hand in our destiny, our yoga practice can empower us to see the choices we make that shape our lives. Some things, like fate, luck, or blessings can influence the course of our lives, it’s true. But I think most of our life — and where we’re going to end up in our lives — really comes down to three simple things. And that the first thing is deciding who you’re going to be.

The Yamas and Niyamas of yoga give us guidelines. Instead of just hoping to end up one day, a magnificent, strong, capable, kind, loving person, we should start living like that today so hopefully, we become that. Who we become is not an accident, but a purposeful intent. Just as we come to our mats purposefully to practice, we can also purposefully practice living compassionately and truthfully. Maybe we can’t always direct every circumstance of our life and can’t control everything, but we can certainly control our responses to them.

The other thing that helps people come into their power is discovering that each of our days is something that we can also design. We have to decide on our days. We have to design them, to wake up and decide what this day is going to be about. It is easy to get tripped up here. For example, by waking up and checking emails first thing, we can easily get sucked into other people’s agendas and lose the 30 minutes we intended to meditate or journal. Instead of letting our day transpire haphazardly, we need to decide what deserves our focus or who we will reach out to, instead of just responding to everybody else’s needs. Decide to schedule time for that which feeds your soul, like yoga and meditation, into your daily schedule and stick to it.

First, we have to decide who we’re going to be.

Second, we have to design our days.

Third, we have to deal with fate.

Fate is a real thing. We know that at some point fate is going to introduce us to struggle

and suffering. Things aren’t going to go well. We’ll have to go through things and times in our lives when we really are in a lot of pain and we have to suffer for a period of time. Time on the yoga mat, breathing through a sweaty, challenging asana practice or holding a warrior pose until your legs are shaking and arms about to fall off – that shapes our determination to be strong. Suffering is going to come and when it comes, who am I going to be and how, in those times, will I decide what my day will be?

Fate also brings us gifts and blessings. The more we can appreciate the gifts and blessings of life, the more we shape our lives into something to be thankful for. Just take stock and realize how lucky you are to be breathing, to be alive and have the gifts, opportunities and the strengths that you have. Choosing to share those blessings with the community, and your unique gifts with others, will bring more of it into your life – just as strengthening your strongest poses takes you into the realm of a more advanced practice.

How will we deal with fate when it brings us the good things?

The last character that fate continually brings into our life is love and loss. There are seven billion people on the planet and we get to connect with people, so we ought to think about the people in our life and reach out to them with appreciation, love and support. Put our hand on their shoulder, compliment and feel connected with them. Reach out instead of wondering why you feel ignored and alone. Take the first step and call them, send them a letter or email of love and support. Or maybe when you think of them send them a quick text and thank them for who they are and what they mean to you. I think this gift of love that fate keeps bringing back to us is one of our greatest gifts and blessings.

So these are the questions that help us decide our destiny:

What are you going to be about today?

What’s your day today, going to be designed as?

What are you going to focus on today, tomorrow, and the next time that fate turns its head either positively or negatively towards you – what are you going to do with it?

These are the questions of the consciously designed life.

Pose of the Week: Navasana

navasanaNavasana “Boat pose” or Paripurna Navasana “Full Boat Pose”

Benefits: Strengthens core, hip flexors, and spine. Stimulates kidneys, thyroid, and intestines. Improves digestion.

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

Yogi Spotlight- Rebecca Laser

Rebecca Laser is a jack of all trades at PLAY. Pilates teacher, deskie, yogi, and most of all a beautiful woman who inspires us Rebecca Laserall. We wanted to share her person with all of you so we sat down with Rebecca and asked her to tell us a little bit more about herself and her yoga journey.

1. What was your first introduction to yoga?

I took a few classes when I was 19 at Lane Community College back in 1997! But, I thought, “wow, they really breathe weird. So I didn’t really enjoy much yoga or truly appreciate and respect yoga till Jess and Ian opened PLAY.

2. What/who has made largest impact on your practice?

Catherine Mazur. Catherine’s love and passion for yoga has inspired me to tap into the different elements of myself, especially when I am on the mat. Thank you Catherine.

3. Favorite pose? Why?

Side Crow, because I CAN DO IT!

4. Most challenging pose? Why?

My darn hips are so tight so any hip openers are brutal, I mean…challenging.

5. What do you like most about Play?

I love the entire PLAY tribe, the employees and the other practitioners. What a wonderfully diverse group of people!

6. What is your role at PLAY?

I sub Pilates on occasion, I teach a Hoola Hoop workshop. SO MUCH FUN! I help Jess and Ian with any little things they need. I LOVE TO WASH THE TOWELS! And support them in any way I can.

7. What inspires you?

I am inspired by witnessing people discover their purpose, passion and inner strength. I am charged by watching people take a journey into themselves. I am inspired by people that will let go of the old stories they tell themselves or have heard about themselves and flow in the possibilities of creating our own desires!

8. What keeps you going?

My dog Neo. He is an angelic saint of a furry thing. Exercise and being active keeps me going. Being in the healing field of work keeps my momentum up and forging forward.

9. Outside of yoga and PLAY, Rebecca is a Wellness Guide and Coach.

I have always had a passion for holistic health. I have always believed and experienced true love and change when I worked on myself from a mind, body and spirit perspective.

After I received my Bachelors in Sociology in 2006, I decided to continue on with my education and was certified as a Pilates Instructor in 2007. I worked along side people working on balancing and aligning their physical bodies while becoming stronger. While working with people privately, I recognized my love for and ability connect with people on a deep level and be present with them while they processed their “stuff.” I decided to continue on further in my educational journey andI received my Masters Degree in Psychology, Marriage and Family Therapy in 2011. With everyone I teach, I incorporate all aspects of our inter-connected and powerful systems of energy. From my education background and most importantly my life experiences, I was inspired to start my company: Journey Into Yourself. I am a Wellness Guide and Coach supporting people in the self discovery of the most important person in their lives: Themselves!

I write a passionate, raw and authentic blog about my experiences, journey and love of life.  I would be honored to share my writing with the PLAY family: