By Stephanie Flowers
While still feeling the vibrations of our closing om of the One WHIRL Yoga Fest, we are anxiously awaiting the arrival of “blisscrafters” Jacki Carr and Mary Beth LaRue. This best friend duo founded Rock Your Bliss, the self-empowering, nationally expanding yoga movement that encompasses a balance of yoga and life coaching.
Rock Your Bliss debuts in Pittsburgh on September 28 at the Rodef Shalom Congregation in Shadyside. It is a co-designed program — one part yoga and one part life coaching — where retreaters will discover how to “live a radical life rooted in choice, personal power, and sweat” using yoga, goal-setting, music, and laughter. “Come in vulnerable,” LaRue says. “Be ready to show your underbelly, sing karaoke, and drink margaritas!” The goal is for retreaters to leave the workshop feeling empowered, sweaty, connected, ambitious, blissful, and maybe a little tipsy. They should come expecting “everything and nothing,” Carr says.
Yoga Flow Founder Dominique Ponko and her sidekick Suzanne Nagel are the driving forces behind this “Blissburgh” movement, along with South Hills Power Yoga, Stray Dog Yoga, and Agnistoka Yoga. “Our yoga community is strong and growing, and this event is a way that you can deepen your practice, elevate your consciousness, and connect with like-minded people,” Nagel says.
Nagel, who discovered Carr and LaRue while browsing Instagram, deeply relates to the “Rock Your Bliss” belief of living the yoga mindset both on and off your mat. “Yoga is more than just postures,” Nagel says. “It’s breath, it’s connection, it’s empowerment. More and more yoga is becoming the antidote to the over-stimulation of our culture. The practice itself allows people to connect with themselves and gain a deeper understanding of who they are.” Wanting to share her love and astound appreciation for her practice, Nagel cannot urge Pittsburgh yogis (and non-yogis) to rock their bliss enough!
So, what does it mean to “Rock Your Bliss,” and where did such a concept derive? The movement is actually in its infancy. Carr and LaRue met through various work at lululemon athletica. While on a Wanderlust trip in February 2013, Carr, a life coach, and LaRue, a yoga instructor, found themselves sitting on a beach discussing the serendipitous relationship between their two fields. A week later, while back home in Venice Beach, Rock Your Bliss was born, and it’s been on a fast track ever since. In February 2014, Carr and LaRue took 22 yogis to Mexico for an “insanely magical” retreat.
However, while on a mission to help others unleash their potential, these two blisscrafting trailblazers have been on a self-discovery mission of their own, all fueled by their travels, encounters, and experiences. For LaRue, creating Rock Your Bliss has helped her discover her own vulnerability. “Learning to speak your truths so it doesn’t build up is the most important thing [to do] while collaborating with another person,” she says. “You have to hold yourself more accountable. You have to show up even when you don’t feel like it.”
For Carr, Rock Your Bliss has been about developing trust. “The art of collaboration is like being in a relationship,” Carr says. “It’s all about unraveling your ego and admitting that you can’t do everything yourself. We created this business in such a rapid way, so it was a huge leap of faith to learn how to open my mind and body to trusting Mary Beth. We leaned on each other, and it all just happened beautifully.”
In addition to their September 28 workshop right here in Pittsburgh, LaRue and Carr will also be at Madewell in Ross Park Mall on September 27 from 5-7 p.m. for an intimate meet-and-greet!