After weeks of feeling stressed and sleep deprived, Anton Mackey ended up taking a yoga class, and his life hasn’t been the same since. Less than a year after his first class, Anton became a certified yoga teacher. He now teaches workshops and leads retreats around the globe. Anton will be teaching at the Hanuman Festival in Boulder, CO, in June.
How did you find yoga? What inspired you to dive deep into the practice and/or become a yoga teacher?
In the summer of 2008, I got into some trouble with the law and was under a lot of stress. I wasn’t sleeping and my mind wouldn’t stop. A friend of mine was working at ‘At One Yoga,’ the premiere studio in town. She forced me to take a class promising it would help me sleep. On August 14, 2008, I walked into Johanna Epps’ class and was reborn. Nine months later I got my 200-hour teaching certification. From the first class my practice was always about the mental and spiritual, but for a few years, I was very passionate about advancing my asana practice. That has since dissipated and the focus of my own practice is about becoming more and more self-realized. As a teacher, I am always trying to physically challenge my students with asana and create a space for them to find their own spiritual path.
What serves as your touchstone for integrating techniques and practices into your yoga teaching and/or exploring your own spirituality?
I study many different spiritual traditions and meditation practices. My deepest work and inspiration comes from the work I do with a Shaman who serves plant medicine.
What work and inspiration comes out of your experiences with plant medicine?
Plant medicine is teaching me how to own my greatness. It shows me how to be a better example for my family, students, and community. It shows aspects of my own darkness and illuminates the areas of my life where I need more patience, acceptance, forgiveness, and understanding. It is the ultimate healer of the soul. It has been the greatest teacher in love.
What has been your biggest life transformation?
My biggest transformation was meeting my spiritual partner. It flipped my world upside right! The love and support that she shows me is what made the transition so easy. I had no choice but to choose the path that we were put on together. Then we got pregnant and were told that we were going to lose the baby. This became the biggest challenge/lesson of my life. To hold space for my partner and to be able to mourn myself. However, some magical things happened and we ended up with a beautiful and healthy baby boy!
Who are your yoga heroes? Who are your yoga villains?
My biggest inspirations are Rod Stryker, Sianna Sherman, Gina Caputo, and Dice Iida-Klein. I would have to say the Ego is the only villain to yoga. It brings about righteous points of view, competition, insecurity, low self-esteem, and narcissism.
How has Rod Stryker, Sianna Sherman, Gina Caputo, and Dice Iida-Klein influenced your teaching/practice?
Rod Stryker is one of the few examples of male teachers who fully embodies the masculine. I look up to him and admire the way he carries himself as a leader and how he is open and vulnerable about his process that has led him to where he is today. Sianna is the walking, talking, and teaching aspect of the divine feminine. In her presence, I feel deeply moved and inspired by the feminine allowing me to embody my Masculine Divinity. Gina is the “all-around” teacher: knowledgeable, philosophical, light-hearted, humorous, and joyful. She is an example of how to deliver it all in one package while being real and authentic. Dice is the most humble and inspiring teacher I’ve come across. He motivates me to find more ways to be inspiring to my students.
Where do you want to go from here? What are your future plans/dreams?
I’m exactly where I wanted to be five years ago: teaching at Hanuman and other festivals, leading multiple retreats, filming for YogiApproved.com, and living a dream life with my spiritual partner, baby boy, and doggy. I want to continue to use my platform to help others realize their own potential, create my own 200-hour teacher training program, maybe have another baby, help my partner continue to pursue her dreams and career aspirations, and to have the means to teach fewer weekly classes.