Hi Yogis! I know many of you have heard rumors about things happening in the studio, or sense the change in the air. I have been putting off addressing the community, because it’s hard for one, but also I think I’ve been holding off because then it makes it real. So, here it goes…
When Ian and I started the studio, I was 23 and we were young and I was able to completely devote myself to the studio which was my first baby. It was a lot of work and I loved it. The community, you, completely embraced us and helped us grow very quickly. After a year our staff and schedule had grown and has continued to grow ever since. In addition to the studio growth, our family grew as we welcomed our son Wyatt in 2011. We have been blessed with steady growth, new members to the family and wonderful clients.
With all the growth, I started to really feel out of control last year with the expansion of our space and the addition of our Teacher Training, and it’s taken me a year since then to come to terms with the fact that my responsibilities are too much for any 1 person. I cannot do everything and, it is ok to ask for help.
Personally, Ian and I had always talked about moving back to Texas at some point. But, when we found out we were expecting again, yup, I’m pregnant again :), we knew now was the time to go. We want our children to grow up seeing family on a regular basis. We wanted Wyatt to be able to play with cousins, and with baby #2 I’d really love the help of my mother and mother-in-law. So, we moved.
I know many of you are thinking, what about the studio? Well, it’s been quite the journey to find a solution to keeping the studio as it is and for me and my family to comfortably relocate. At first we were just going to go, and Monique would manage… but that would have been unfair to her. Then a couple of angels fell into my lap. Ian and I met Dan and Cari in 2012 at a going away dinner for one of our teachers Ashley Sauls (many of you probably remember her always saying, “Namaste ya’ll”). We clicked instantly and became fast friends. Then about a year later, we realized we had met them before. In 2011, the day after our 1 year anniversary party at the studio, Ian had a grand mal seizure while we were shopping at Bed Bath and Beyond. I froze, panicked and couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I guess I managed to yell something, because Dan and Cari came running to help. Dan and another man helped stabilize Ian while Cari called 911 and went outside to meet the ambulance. When the ambulance arrived, I jumped in and never got the opportunity to thank the wonderful people that helped us. It wasn’t until 2 years after the fact that we realized it was them and I was able to finally thank them.
When we were trying to decide how and what to do with the studio Dan and Cari stepped in and offered to partner with us. I couldn’t have dreamed up a better partnership. The two of them have so much experience in areas of the business that I have just been figuring out as we go, and I have the vision and the experience in the yoga world to keep us moving. Monique had stepped in as Studio Manager, and I am eternally grateful to her for always being by my side. And now that we are all working together, I am realizing how silly I was to think I had to do it all by myself.
I still love the studio and all of you so very much and I will continue to guide and lead the staff on our journey. I plan on being in town 1 week a month until I’m too pregnant to travel (I’m due in March), then as often as possible after that. When I’m in town, I hope to find some slots to jump onto the schedule, and will keep you all posted about that. To celebrate the growth of our community and our family and give you all the opportunity to meet Dan and Cari, we are inviting you to a PLAY Fall party! Join us on September 27th from 5:30 PM- 8:30 PM for an evening of mingling and fun! We’ll have new art from our local artist on display, a couple of trunk shows from some of our favorite lines, food, drinks, and a raffle.
Thank you all for being such a wonderful community and for continuing to support us, and our growth. When I started the studio years ago I had hopes of building a community, but you all are so much more than I ever could have imagined. We are truly blessed.
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…
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.
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.
The 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]
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.
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
We 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!