Achieving Bliss With More Wine and Less Whine
There are certain pairings that just make obvious sense. But karaoke and yoga? If you ask anyone who's attended a Rock Your Bliss event, they'll swear it's the best thing since avocado toast, and if you haven't tried it, you're missing out when you could be blissing out.
Venice locals Jacki Carr, a goal coach and brand consultant, and Mary Beth LaRue, a yoga instructor, are opposite energies that came together about a year ago to create a roving workshop of what they describe as bliss crafting. There's yoga involved, plus exercises to help define what stays in your positive life circle, and what stay out, and most of all, a great time to be had by everyone, typically capped off by cold-pressed juice better known as cabernet. Their mantra, "More wine, less whine," characterizes the lighthearted humor and convivial vibe that make Rock Your Bliss events accessible to any kind of bliss seeker, even those who would never consider themselves yogis, and it's what sets them apart from the abundance of yogic activities here in Venice. Each one is unique, switched up with new venues, partnerships, activities, and varying numbers of attendees. They've also partnered with other brands on like-minded missions, collectively building the momentum for one another.
"We send out major gratitude to the companies that have believed in our movement from the start and supported our growth," says Carr. "Lululemon, Tiny Devotions, Manduka, Teeki, Juil and Tiny Time Machines to name a few rad brands with heartbeats for Rock Your Bliss."
Some events are short and sweet, an evening affair with an intimate group of 15. Others entail week-long adventures in Sayulita, Mexico, with paddleboarding, journaling, and happy hour at the local karaoke bar. The most recent event took place at the newly opened M. Steves' Beauty Cottage on Abbot Kinney. Owner Mally Steves co-hosted a "Rock Your Glow" party and supplied the champagne and mini facials while Carr and LaRue led a workshop on how to achieve inner and outer radiance.
Rock Your Bliss' Jacki Carr and Mary Beth LaRue showing their love for all things local. (Thanks for the shoutout, JC!
"There is so much beauty in the awkward honesty," says Carr. But to get there, especially in an evening workshop, she has to dig down past the pleasantries and touch on raw emotion. This is where her effusive personality comes into play, charging up the energy and challenging everyone to do that uncomfortable thing, to face that terrible fear, to grab ahold of their own happiness and stick to those convictions. This is her high energy (often high altitude) style of one-on-one goal coaching, which started as Jacki Carr's Goals On The Rocks, usually taking place on a hike in the hills or a run on the beach. LaRue provides the soothing balance of meditative yoga, which she has been teaching for nearly a decade. With her gentle touch and compassionate smile, she brings the group back to an even keel, helping everyone to reflect back on their new challenges and objectives.
"It's recycling," says LaRue. "From yoga to goals. From goals to the mat. Reflection and then take action. You clear your mind, and then focus your energy. It's balance."
Carr and LaRue met at the Wanderlust yoga festival in Oahu in March 2013. In addition to goal coaching and yoga teaching, they were both representing activewear clothing company Lululemon – Carr was leading a community initiative and LaRue was there as a brand ambassador. It was the start of best-friendship and the spark for Rock Your Bliss. When they had the idea to combine goals with yoga, LaRue said that it was like fireworks and everything fell into place. By October, they were hosting their first workshop in collaboration with Lululemon at The Huntley. By March 2014, they were leading a group to Sayulita on their first retreat.
All the while, LaRue was just newly married, and Carr recently engaged. They juggled personal projects, their personal lives, and managed to take on bigger opportunities with Rock Your Bliss, and there's no stopping this wild ride. The momentum continues to build and their versatility allows them to create events based on what people want and where they want them. They'll be at Wanderlust in Squaw Valley in July; they're hosting a workshop in Houston in August; and by special request, they have an event in the works for a group of women ages 50 and up. Their next retreat, SLO Down and Soul Up, takes place this September in San Luis Obispo where s'mores and red wine are "highly encouraged, but not mandatory." And round two of Sayulita is already in the books for March 2015.
"It's a yoga retreat, but it's also a lifestyle retreat," says Carr. "It's fun. There's wine. It's collaborative. We're not sorry for being ourselves, which feels cool. We own our shit, the good and the bad."
This is self discovery in layman's terms, explains Carr. It's personable, not preachy, and above all, it's interactive. Carr and LaRue are the first to admit that they are there to learn and participate just the same as everyone else. They provide the tools to spark discussion and introspection, but everyone must take control of that nagging internal dialogue and "make shift happen" on their own.
Rock Your Bliss Retreat In Sayulita, Mexico