Director of YP School of Yoga
500Hr ERYT, NASM
Corrective Exercise Specialist,
Nutritional Therapy Practitioner
Tell us about yourself, where you are from, your training, etc etc.
I live in Midlothian TX, a small town on the outskirts of the Dallas Fort-Worth area. I began practicing yoga in the nineties and did various yoga trainings over the next decade. I completed my first 200-hour yoga teacher training with Baptiste Power Yoga in 2003. Outside of direct yoga studies, additional education in anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, and corrective exercise, strongly inform my practice and teaching. I am a Corrective Exercise Specialist with the National Academy of Sports Medicine as well as a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner. My husband Dave and I run Yoga Project studios together, as well as co-direct our teacher training school. We have 3 children ages 19, 21, and 22.
How and why did you start yoga?
I was an avid road cyclist and indoor cycling instructor. After spending many hours on a bike, I was experiencing back problems and had heard that yoga could help. After trying out a few videos at home, I tried out some gym yoga classes. Honestly—I didn't love it at first! I was quite the type A personality back then and wanted something more physical. I eventually landed in a vinyasa class and the rest was history. I loved the way it made me feel.
Who was your great mentor/teacher?
When I went to my 200-hour training, I went with the unexamined assumption that yoga was merely physical. I knew that Baptiste Power Yoga was a strong physical practice, and that was exactly what I was seeking at that point in my journey. I had no idea that the program would entail self-inquiry and meditation, yet it was these elements of the training that profoundly changed my life. I will always have Baron Baptiste to thank for introducing me to these practices.
Tell us your practice style and how did you choose your yoga method?
I call myself a modern vinyasa teacher. I will always love the elements of breath and flow, yet my evolution has been toward including more functional movement as well as more emphasis on embodiment. I don't adhere to one style or lineage. I developed Embodied Posture Methodology as a form of practice that emphasizes functional and relevant movement through increased self-awareness. I am passionate about embodiment, body diversity, functional movement, and practices that support us living our best lives for years to come. I share these principles in my book, Embodied Posture: Your Unique Body and Yoga.
What obstacles has yoga helped you overcome?
Without realizing it, for many years of my life, I struggled with anxiety. I didn't know that it wasn't normal to get anxious over every day, normal life details. I spent my days overthinking every aspect of mundane tasks. The experience of being in my body, on my mat, provided moments of relief that I had never felt. Paying attention to the way my breath felt and how my body moved, became anchoring for me amidst a turbulent sea. For the first time in my life, I began to realize that my anxious thoughts were not the sum of who I was. Coming home into my body through yoga has given me the tools to be self-aware, compassionate, and resilient in times of anxiousness.
What is your mind set when you step onto the mat?
I love approaching my mat with curiosity. There's always so much to experience! I think of the postures as little laboratories where I get to investigate how my body works and moves. I see postural alignment as a fluid thing, rather than something to master. I recognize that every day my body and mind are a little different, and my needs are always changing. Learning to tune in and pay attention—so that I can be relevant with my own movement choices—is key.
When did you understand you wanted to be a yoga teacher?
Before I taught yoga, I was an indoor cycling instructor. I had taken a few small yoga trainings, but was not teaching. One day at the end of my cycling class, the gym owner came in to ask me if I could teach the yoga class, because the teacher didn't show up. I hopped off my bike and headed into the packed yoga room and taught. With what I knew, I led the class through an hour sequence. We moved, breathed, and laughed together—and I knew for sure that I wanted to teach more. The connectivity was exhilarating. It was one of those moments of deep, gut knowing that I never questioned again.
What is the most rewarding part of being a yoga teacher?
I love empowering students with an understanding of their own bodies. So often, people don't know much at all about their own anatomy and biomechanics. Being in the black box with anything can lead to a loss of personal power. When someone is educated about their own anatomy, they gain potent tools of increased self-awareness. Learning how to navigate the experience of your own body can be one of the richest sources of personal agency and empowerment. Whether it involves the nervous system, the science of mindfulness and breath, or musculoskeletal anatomy—I've seen countless transformations happen as the result of education. The most rewarding part of being a yoga teacher is witnessing the positive result in students' lives because of increased understanding of their own bodies.
Why is yoga so important for the times we’re living in?
Current statistics tell us that anxiety, depression, and suicide rates are on a sharp, steady rise. Mental health has become an issue that we can no longer ignore. Mindful movement practices like yoga have proven to be extremely effective, complementary approaches when treating anxiety and depression. To be human is to experience anxiety, and everyone is seeking relief from the everyday stresses of a fast-paced, informationally over-loaded lifestyle. When someone becomes empowered with the tools of breath and body awareness, their ability to access wellbeing increases tremendously. Although yoga provides a very effective modality of learning breath and body awareness, it is just one way. Anything that encourages embodied self-awareness is beneficial.
Your favorite quote?
Paying attention is the most basic and profound expression of love.
Anything else you want to share?
I'd like to acknowledge the yoga community for where we have arrived in the practice today. I'm encouraged by those who have courageously paved the way for innovative thinking and evolution in many aspects. I've witnessed an influx of teachers becoming more educated with anatomy and biomechanics, which is resulting in practices that are more relevant and sustainable for practitioners. We are seeing an increased amount of research being done in the fields of psychology, neuroscience, and biomechanics as they relate to the practice—and to me—this is very exciting! It is possible to hold a deep reverence for the ancient roots of this practice while open-heartedly welcoming its evolution.
Where we can we find you? Instagram, website, etc
Facebook: Stacy Dockins Yoga and Mindfulness Educator