Teacher Highlight- Meet Ana!

Ana Mateljan PicJoin us in welcoming Ana to our Kids Yoga teaching staff! Ana is a mom to 2 beautiful little girls, yogi, and NGY Kids Yoga teacher! Welcome Ana, we are thrilled to have you :)

What was your first introduction to yoga?
It was almost 6 years ago at PLAY. I registered to take Pre-natal yoga classes. It was a wonderful experience. It was my first “baby and me” class and it gave me gift of relaxation in a time when so many things seemed uncertain and new.

At what point did you decide you wanted to teach?
When I had my second daughter. She is a natural yogini; She challenges herself every day to get better at what she does and she immensely enjoys stretching, reaching, bending and twisting. I knew right there that I had to better my own practice and then go the extra mile: teach her.

How would you characterize your style of yoga?
I like the challenge of bending deeper, reaching higher and twisting further with each breath. For myself, my style is challenging. Now, when it comes to yoginis I want to watch them enjoy, smile, sing, and have fun with every stretch and every pose. My style for the yoginis is: Integrative.

What/Who has made the most impact in your practice?
Garry Alesio and Catherine Mazur.

What’s on your playlist?
Colbie Caillat, Christina Perry, The Band Perry, Passenger

Your favorite pose?
Crow Pose (Bakasana) and headstand (Sirsasana). They both require me to be so focused that it forces me to block everything outside the hot room and completely synchronize my mind and body.

Your most challenging pose? Why?
Mermaid Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana). I still can’t get the full pose but I’m surely working on it.

Best Yoga moment/accomplishment/memory?
When I was able to finally balance on Bakasana without falling!

Favorite snack before you take/teach a class?
Peaches, grapes or yogurt…

Favorite quotes
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. George Santayana.
“You’re off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So… get on your way!”. Dr. Seuss

Any book recommendations?
The kite runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns. Marvelous stories of bravery, strength and persistence.

Top three tips for someone first getting into yoga:
Enjoy this time to yourself, clear your mind.
Don’t worry about others’ practice; everyone’s practice is at a different level, this is non-competitive.
Don’t forget about your breath.

What do you like the most about PLAY?
Its teachers. I’ve found great guidance in all of them, each with their unique style but all with their incredible ability to guide us through a flawless flow. I just love the place, there’s something about it that makes me feel safe and at peace when I cross the door.

What else inspires you? Keeps you going?
My two daughters. They are the bright light in my days. I love to hear them have “serious” conversations between them and agree to disagree on almost everything. They are my fuel. Their baby kisses, hugs, thoughts and kid-logic make my heart smile.

Thanks for sharing Ana!

Ana teaches NGY Kids Yoga for 2-4 yr olds Wednesdays at 10 AM. Learn more about Ana here.

New! Chair Yoga for Multiple Sclerosis Fridays at 11:45am

By Julia Chen

Hi PLAY family! Most of you know me as a PLAY teacher and fellow yogi. You may not know I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2002 and once I began teaching again wanted to get a class started to bring the benefits of yoga to the MS community. PLAY generously agreed to support this class and has hosted Adaptive Yoga for Multiple Sclerosis classes since March 2014.

Chair Yoga with Julia ChenThe class has been steadily growing this past year but in order to make the class accessible to more people we have changed it to chair yoga. This means the entire class will be done from a seated position. Thanks PLAY for bringing in chairs for us to use!

The class is all levels and no experience needed. Although the class is designed for persons with MS, friends and family are welcome to attend as well. Cost is $8 per person.

We are also on Instagram and for the month of May are posting a different chair yoga pose each day. Chair Yoga is great for everyone!

For more information on Adaptive Yoga for Multiple Sclerosis visit our website.

Questions? Contact me at [email protected]

Yogi Spotlight- Elizabeth Alvillar

ElizabethWe are very excited to introduce you to one of our favorite yoginis!

Elizabeth Alvillar is an avid yogini, beautiful soul, and a genuine friend to all those she meets. She stepped back on her mat at PLAY, a little less than a year ago and the growth in her practice has been trememendous.

We sat down with Elizabeth and asked her to share a little bit about herself and her yoga journey.

Tell us a little bit about yourself….

My name is Elizabeth Alvillar but my childhood friends call me Liz. I grew up here in Carlsbad, but left for the Bay area to emerge myself in Natural Health and Beauty during my thirties and early forties.
What sparks you…what motivates you?

Anything to do with improving the Earth and the way we live, fuels my fire. I have a tremendous passion for health that includes body, mind and spirit. I spend most of my free time in my organic garden, surfing or paddling in the Pacific or turning trash into treasures, up cycling.

How do you spend your time…

I formulate and hand craft organic body care products through my company Isvara Organics. My path of yoga brought me to this place. I began my career as a cosmetologist almost 30 years ago.logo

Why Yoga…

Yoga has been such an incredible tool for me. It started as a physical practice in my mid twenties, but within a few years it began to transcend into the practice that allowed me to calm at will. It did a lot more than that though, it taught me to set intentions for the day, the year, my entire life. My practice made me dig deeper into whom I truly was and what it was that would fill my heart with joy. As I learned about my body I began to learn how to control my energy with the breath and realized I had and still sometimes do cut off my life force energy by not breathing. My yoga practice has made me more present and honest with my self. It helped me to release old thought patterns and fears that don’t serve me and I still pull upon it anytime I need a tune up.

What is your favorite yoga pose and why?

My favorite pose is headstand. It seems so difficult when you are learning it but then all of a sudden it becomes almost effortless when you can feel the line of energy running through your body. Some days I can do it well and others forget about it. It’s a great reminder for me that a regular practice is key to move closer to and stay in that effortless space.

Why do you love PLAY?

I love PLAY for so many reasons. The studio has incredible teachers that each brings incredible, dynamic energy to the mat. Their love for yoga and discipline to their own practices is inspiring and motivating. I feel really comfortable to modify or change altogether the pose I’m practicing to better suit my own needs. This feels encouraged instead of the strict guidelines that can sometimes be placed on students in other studios. I really appreciate all the dedicated student at PLAY for they create this amazing synergy in the room so if I’m feeling a bit tired or not so into practice that day I know if I just show up, the great energy in the class will quickly energize me.

Thanks for sharing Elizabeth!  And thank you for being a part of our community :) 

New Classes at PLAY!

IMG_0049We are very excited to announce the beginning of the schedule additions in the new studio this
week! We have been listening to your class requests and considering all of your suggestions. Studio 1 has grown and taken it’s own personality of what it likes and what fits there, and clearly we like it hot in there! We’re still getting to know the new studio and the energy there, so we’re starting slow. For now, we’re excited to bring prenatal yoga, and yoga basics to the schedule!

Join Jess on Tuesday evenings at 5:30 PM for Yoga Basics starting 2/17! New to yoga? Or need a refresh on the basics? Join us for a class open to all levels to build your foundation in your practice. Yoga is for everyone, and that means you too! Non-heated.

Look forward to Prenatal Yoga on Fridays at 10:30 AM with Jess starting 2/20! Come nurture yourself and your growing babies with this strong but gentle vinyasa flow class. Build strength and endurance for labor and delivery while keeping you and baby safe and supported. Come have fun while building the connection with your baby and other mom’s to be! Non-Heated.

In addition to these new classes in the new studio, we’re also welcoming a new Flow and Restore with Julia on Sundays at 11 starting 2/15! Taught in a warm room, this class starts with a mellow vinyasa flow to develop heat and strength and moves to a floor sequence where postures are held for longer periods of time, focusing on improving flexibility in the hips, legs, and spine. Class ends with a restorative posture to promote relaxation and stress reduction. All levels.

We’ll see you on the mat Yogis!

Yogi Spotlight- Mike Whittaker

Mike WThis month, we are so excited to introduce you to Mike Whittaker. Mike has been an avid yogi here at PLAY since 2013. He shows us all that it doesn’t matter how old you are, if you have a consistant practice, you too can hold headstands for 30 seconds. Mike always brings a smile when he comes to class and always has a great story to share. He’s become one of our favorites and we want you all to know what a great yogi he is. So meet Mike Whittaker:

Who are you?
I turned 70 years of age November 5th. I have practiced Yoga for many years, but not on a consistent basis until a couple of years ago. I was walking on the beach when I happened upon a beach yoga class. I attended that practice every other day for about 6 months. I then thought I would try and find a permanent Yoga studio. I went to a few Yoga Bound practices and had planned to join when Dr. Paul Slowik suggested I come to PLAY. My first reaction was that it seemed to me that heat wouldn’t enhance my practice.

What makes you tick?
I have spent most of my life in a gym. I played handball competitively until I turned 40. I was in a step or high impact aerobic class until I turned 60. I have walked or jogged 2 to 6 miles daily most of my adult life. Movement is integral to my overall health and I can’t imagine what life would be like if the physical component was removed.

What do you do?
I made a living in the financial sector for many years as an analyst and as a mortgage broker. My wife and I owned and operated Baja Lending Company which was the largest mortgage brokerage in Mexico. We originated U.S. based loans for U.S. citizens purchasing Mexican real estate. I have been between opportunities (thinking of one’s self as being retired is dangerous) for over 5 years.

Why do you like Yoga?
Yoga, and Hot Yoga in particular, is the only physical discipline I have ever done that I can do every day with no residual soreness. It is also the only physical activity I have ever done that has a Spiritual component. I begin every practice setting a Spiritual Intention. I end every practice with an expression of gratitude for the hour.

What is your favorite pose?
I generally attend Hot Flow practices (256 times in the first 12 months of membership) because I know what is coming. After the 2nd Warrior B on the left side, I try and stay in a headstand. My goal is to get my spine in a position that is almost weightless – perfectly balanced so that I feel no effort from the soles of my feet to the top of my head. That is my favorite position.

Why do you love PLAY?
It starts with the incredible staff. The great societal disconnect is that those of you who give the most to mankind receive the least financially. Every instructor in the PLAY organization is amazing. Their dedication and love for what you do is evident in every practice.

I know that it is a blessing to be a member of this community and I don’t take it for granted.

Thanks Mike! 

Pose of the Week: Crescent Lunge

Crescent LungeThis high lunge is great for strengthening the legs, balance and sciatica! So many options for personal expression. Find your favorite variation, post a pic on Instagram and include #playcarlsbad and we will give you a shout out!