Mary Beth LaRue

Mary Beth LaRue
Mary Beth LaRue

Venice Beach just may be the perfect, artsy neighborhood for this week’s featured yogi – Mary Beth LaRue. As an active participant of living life to the fullest, MB’s mission is to help others fully inhabit, enjoy and heal their bodies and minds through yoga. We feel a bit of bliss just talking with her.

See how MB keeps herself and her students in a state of bliss:

What makes your teaching style unique?

To me, vinyasa is like dancing with your breath. I bring my students into a serious flow through lots of breathwork, strong beats that encourage moving (and maybe a smile or two) and well-sequenced postures. The combination of movement, along with breathwork, is the clearest way to help us let go of ego, and get more in touch with our inner consciousness.

What do you hope your students leave your class feeling?

Hopefully they feel sweaty, relaxed, happy and balanced. I call my style of yoga "Blissed Flow" because yoga unveils our ananda (Sanskrit for bliss)  our innate, unconditional joy that is always within us  and peels away our armor of protective devices. Yoga supplies the tools we need to navigate rough waters and find contentment, BUT you have to do the work.

Where do you find inspiration? 

Teachers really need to be constantly replenished to keep the inspiration well full. I'm always reading and studying books and blogs, and writing in my own blog, plus I’m regularly out and about in Venice taking photographs, hanging with locals and appreciating nature. I take responsibility for creating my own lasting happiness, and I want that to translate to my teaching, as well as with my interactions. As they say, you gotta walk the talk...

What's a valuable lesson that you’ve learned?

One of my mentors, Ally Hamilton, always says, "The way you do one thing is the way you do everything." I think of this often when I'm doing something that doesn't exactly light me up, like running errands, or if I’m rushing around and show up late to a meeting. How I am acting or reacting in the moment of challenge is the true test of my yogi heart. I figure if we can find joy in the tougher moments, then we really get yoga.

Which organization are you most passionate about?

I started a free yoga program at the Down Syndrome Association of Los Angeles a year ago. At first I taught a class just for teens and their families, but then started teaching a Mommy and Me class too. I was lucky to grow up in a household where I was constantly around people who were "different" and that was my normal. When I went away to college, and didn't have a special needs community in my life, I really missed it. These kids are some of the most enlightened beings I've ever had the honor of spending time with. I love bringing people along who have never met someone with Down Syndrome, and watching their preconceptions melt away as their hearts light up. We celebrate true joy in these classes. (For more on this you can check out my website).

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