Two Dog and Therapeutic Yoga: Annie's Journey

-- Annie

As a child in the early 70’s, I watched my mother navigate her way through Richard Hittlemen’s '28 day yoga exercise plan'.  As a teen I was introduced to practicing yoga in Kandy, Sri Lanka on a university travel/study program in 1980.

A year later, when I moved to Seattle, I joined my first ‘western' yoga class, offered through the UW Experimental College.

I was spending hard earned dollars to attend, so when, in the second class of a six week series, I was confronted with the overwhelming feeling of being a 'yoga failure’, it was a hard decision to quit.  

But I did and this is why...  


I was born pigeon toed, my right leg was internally rotated at the hip. As a child I wore special shoes, night braces, and went to many doctor appointments. In high school I played tennis, cross-country skied and felt no repercussions of my body being ‘impaired'.

Yet I always had difficulty sitting 'criss-cross applesauce' on the floor and never thought about it being a problem, until the ill fated Experimental College yoga class.

Even in Sri Lanka, I was aware of my body being very ‘tight’ and uncomfortable sitting on the floor and I was welcomed just as I was by the teacher. I added cushions, I used the wall when needed and all was challenging and good.


So back to a second Experimental College yoga class…

We had done a variety of stretches and then were guided to partner up.

I was a “painfully shy” (the way my parents described me) child, and even as an elder teen, I was anxious about asking a stranger to be "my partner" in a yoga class. The thought of following yoga instructions, which were likely going to involve touching, was far from relaxing.
Per instructions, one of us was to lay on the floor on our back, soles of feet together, knees apart. I look back and can remember feeling vulnerable and awkward...
I felt as if I was asking to be laid, flayed or smothered.

I did not feel safe!

But I did not respond to my body/mind signals to stop. I thought something was wrong with ME, if I did not want to follow the instructions.


Next, the partner was to stand over me and place her hands on my knees and push down to “open my hips”.

The pain in my body forced me to say, "Stop!"

My right hip did not want to be pushed by a stranger to a place it had not gone before.  It was the pain in my body, not the fear and anxiety in my heart, that made me stop.

The instructor was not attending to any possible physical, emotional or cultural limitations of the students. The Instructor was simply dictating a way to do yoga. I did not return for the remaining four weeks. Therapeutic yoga trainings evolved out of stories like mine.


Not long after, I DID make my way back to yoga through another teacher who sensitively created a safe environment by inviting her students to listen to their bodies and their hearts. From my own experience in this class and other negative experiences in a few yoga classes, I have been moved for three decades now to do my best to reach to those who would otherwise not feel welcome, safe or comfortable in a yoga class.


I taught some of the first so called ‘Gentle’ yoga classes in Seattle and have crafted my path to being a Certified Yoga Therapist through the International Association of Yoga Therapists. As a studio owner, I am dedicated to having highly qualified instructors who approach their yoga teaching with the same care.

Inspired by their own yoga journeys and other healing modalities Two Dog instructors Wendy, Gail, Rainey, Kathleen, and Nancy all have their own unique ways of offering yoga to many who are yoga shy.


Today we offer many classes that encourage you to listen to the teachings and make them your own. In this way you will feel better all over as your healing yoga path honors you just where you are.

Here are some of the varied therapeutic offerings at Two Dog

  • Gentle yoga classes - 4 weekly
  • Chair yoga
  • Monthly yoga Nidra, aka ‘yoga nap'
  • Yoga for Pain relief -a new ongoing class offering at Two Dog
  • Intro to Meditation
  • Monthly Gong Baths
  • Intro to Yoga
  • Restorative Yoga
  • Psoas workshop in October
  • Feldenkrais®

Other offerings:

  • Two Dog with the help of seven volunteer yoga teachers and assistants we now offer three free Lake City Community ‘chair yoga’ classes.
    • Want to join us as an assistant in one of these classes?
      Come to an orientation meeting 2-4pm October 27th and meet other volunteers, hear their stories.


Annie has offered Therapeutic Massage, Private yoga sessions, and Hellerwork for over 30 years in Little Dog.
Contact her for more info.  -or- 206-367-9608

Our Community

Donate to the Guerilla Garden fund


Contact Annie for larger donations.


Two Dog Tales

Enjoy these highlights from the Two Dog e-newsletter and other writings contributed by and about Two Doggers over the years. It's a story archive that tells the tale of the Two Dog community: its teachers, students, neighbors and friends.

Three villages: Beloved Communities
by Annie Stocker
Yelapa in Mexico, Vaidyagrama in India, and Lake City in Seattle

Gratitude Flows Over at Two Dog
by Annie Stocker

Unexpected sources of Gratitude

Generosity of Two Dog Community
by Annie Stocker
Two Dog Generous community
Annie's Om From Home
by Annie Stocker
How Annie found her voice
Mothers and Daughters at Two Dog
by Valerie Sasson

Sharing the experience of sore muscles on Sunday mornings

A Dog A Day?
by Roxi Smith
A home-practice story shared by a long-time Two Dogger
Turning the Kaleidoscope: Bringing Things to Light
by Sarahjoy Marsh
Bringing awareness to the ever-shifting materials of our inner kaleidoscope
A Year's Journey
by Shannon McCall
The story of a milestone year in the life of one Two Dog teacher
The Two Dogger Next Door
by Jan Mikus
Read about the life and healing experience of a studio regular

To Plan or Not To Plan
by Sarahjoy Marsh

A reflection on how much our habits press on our thoughts, actions, reactions
The Space in Between
by Wendy Groesbeck
What are we really asking for when we want more time in our lives?
Why "Two Dog"
by Annie Stocker

Musing on the name of the studio

Favorite Poses
by Two Dog Teachers

Wendy, Annie and Shannon reflect on their favorite poses

Teen Kumbha
by Annie Stocker

A mother/son yoga experience

About Gentle Yoga and Me
by Bob Scheu

Coming into yoga in the best possible way

Yoga- Another Universe?
by Jack Davis

How Yoga made me a better person

Curve Balls and Fowl Balls
by Annie Stocker

Sometimes things happen

by Shannon McCall


What Yoga Means to Me
by Two Dog Students

Coming Home
by Annie Stocker
Returning from Sri Lanka
Healing in Kerala
by Annie Stocker
A story of healing
Loving Lake City
by Annie Stocker
Reflection of a spring evening in Lake City


Lovin' Lake City

Annie Stocker, Two Dog studio owner, has lived in Lake City since 1986 and feels a warm kinship with the ever-emerging neighborhood. Two Dog students bump into each other at local restaurants, the Lake City Farmers Market, the local hardware store, post office, parks and restaurants. More and more people now make Lake City their permanent home in which to grow their families and friendships. Two Dog is proud to be a part of the growth of this healthy, thriving community. Come explore!


Douglas Park Cooperative Families for Lake City
KaffeeKlatsch Cafe Lake City Branch Public Library
North Seattle Chamber of Commerce Lake City Community Center
Lake City Farmers Market Lake City Greenways
Lake City Live: Blog Lake City Traffic Safety Project
North Helpline Pinehurst Community Blog
Hunger Intervention Program Jamtown Drum School










Two qualities of life that we sometimes give low priority to are surrounding ourselves with beauty and developing community. These are being practiced at Two Dog Yoga studio. The gorgeous unfolding lotus mural secures the room where yoga, singing, dancing, eating, talking and more are offered with open arms to the Lake City neighborhood.
— Cynthia Lair, author of Feeding the Whole Family 



Two Dog Yoga is a compassionate, supportive and nonjudgmental community of teachers and students which has benefitted me in ways I did not expect. I have been able to apply these experiences when I am off the mat to enhance my life as well as help me cope with everything from day-to-day stresses to more difficult times of loss and grief.
—Jodi McClain, Educational Audiologist
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