It’s no stretch for Rancho Santa Fe yoga instructor to ‘give back’
By Kristina Houck
As one of North County’s most prolific yoga instructors, Stacy McCarthy doesn’t just teach yoga, she lives the yoga lifestyle.
Selfless service, or seva in Sanskrit, is an important concept of yoga — one that the Rancho Santa Fe resident practices daily.
“When we give and we give from the heart, there’s nothing more gratifying than that,” McCarthy said.
Although it’s home to the San Diego Padres, hundreds of San Diego yoga devotees transform Petco Park into a giant yoga studio every year.
To raise awareness about the benefits of yoga, as well as funds for research, treatment and education programs, McCarthy co-led a master yoga class in June during City of Hope’s fourth annual Yoga for Hope at the downtown San Diego ballpark. Having participated in the event since it first launched, she has helped make it the success it is today.
This year’s event raised more than $80,000 for City of Hope, one of the nation’s leading centers for cancer treatment and research, through more than 70 donation-based yoga classes and the fundraising efforts of participants.
“It’s been so rewarding to watch this event grow,” she said.
McCarthy’s connections in the yoga world have definitely helped.
With more than 20 years of teaching experience, it’s a network she has developed since 1991, when she helped launch the original Frog’s Athletic Club in Solana Beach.
In 1992, McCarthy brought yoga classes to the health club, recruiting Dominic Corigliano to teach the first classes. Corigliano quickly became her mentor.
“I’ve just lived and breathed yoga since then,” said McCarthy, who began teaching classes in 1994. “It’s been my passion ever since.”
In the years that followed, enrollment in the yoga sessions increased, and McCarthy worked her way up through management at Frog’s. She was promoted to chief operating officer in 1997. After a corporate merger and acquisition, she decided to open her own business.
“It was kind of a desk job, so it did not fit my nature,” explained McCarthy, who has a bachelor’s degree in exercise and sport science from Colorado State University. “Since then, I’ve slowly built my business. I’ve done just about everything there is to do with yoga.”
Yoga NamaStacy launched in 1999. In 15 years, McCarthy has taught thousands of students and trained hundreds of teachers. She’s released five “Yoga Body” instructional DVDs and is the author of “Transformational Teaching Through Yoga Adjustments,” published in 2012.
Besides holding private classes and wellness retreats, McCarthy is a yoga teacher and faculty member at MiraCosta College. She also teaches at Bay Club Carmel Valley and offers classes on SprioFIT, a live, on-demand online fitness network.
“I’m most proud of making a difference, making people feel like they’re becoming the best version of themselves — not through me, but through the introduction and practice of yoga,” McCarthy said. “It’s the yoga that makes a difference in their lives. I’ve just been the fortunate one to introduce it to them, or be their teacher.”
Whether it’s through her business or volunteer work, McCarthy said she is “blessed” to share yoga with others.
In addition to Yoga for Hope, McCarthy has held a number of Doga Yoga classes with her Bernese Mountain dogs, Lily and the late Buddha. Event proceeds have benefited the Helen Woodward Animal Center and Rancho Coastal Humane Society.
“I’ve always felt that when you’re blessed to do what you love to do, you need to give back,” McCarthy said. “If I’m available and someone asks me to do something to help their cause, I always say ‘yes.’ It brings me as much joy as anything else.”
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