Mindfulness in the workplace dominated in 2017, and the topic continues to rule as professionals manage stressful environments and take control of mental and physical health. From corporate retreats to midday meditation, organizations have found innovative ways to provide solutions to workers.
Veronica shared with Launch DFW how her personal interest in yoga led to her journey not as only a business owner, teacher and corporate wellness consultant but also to navigate her grief and to challenge norms by being a Latina yoga teacher and studio owner.
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Veronica is an Austin native who arrived in Dallas after graduating with her degree in Hotel & Restaurant Management from Johnson & Wales University. After her first post-college role with a hotel management company, she began with Visit Dallas, then known as the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau, in 2003. Her current position of Director of Experience was preceded by stints as the head of business development, diversity marketing, social media and sales and community outreach. Veronica has since put these skills into practice as a small business owner.
At the age of 30, life threw Veronica a curve ball in the form of a stroke.
“I remember I was numb on my left side and I went to the hospital,” she said of the experience. “I was undergoing a lot of stress and anxiety: I was traveling, going to eight to 10 networking events a week. I was traveling and not taking care of myself.”
After her health scare, Veronica knew she didn’t want to get on medication for stress, but her mind wasn’t fully open when one of her girlfriends suggested yoga as a holistic practice.
“I thought yoga was for people who didn’t look like me. She said ‘Well let’s go to yoga, and we’ll have a Mambo Taxi’ and I think I was more enticed by the Mambo Taxi!”
Her first class at American Power Yoga turned into a class pass, which morphed into a full membership and then yoga teacher training. Eventually, Veronica was yoga and working full-time at Visit Dallas while dreaming of owning a studio.
In order to prepare herself to be a business owner, Veronica completed the entrepreneurial certification program at the Mountain View College campus of Dallas County Community College and joined a cohort group of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program.
Veronica’s time at Visit Dallas tenure prepared her for starting a business. “I understand the business behind my studio because of my time at Visit Dallas, and it starts with location, location, location,” Torres Hazley said.
I told doubters ‘This area is about to explode.’ – Veronica Torres Hazley
“When I was traveling, I would look up a yoga studio near my hotel and that’s where I would go. There were no yoga studios in downtown Dallas when I opened,” Veronica said. “There’s tourism business here, there’s a convention center and that played in to where my studio is now. When we opened three years ago, there was nothing near the Dallas Farmers Market except the homeless shelter. I told doubters ‘This area is about to explode.’”
Her vision has come to life in stunning detail in V12. The spacious sanctuary has floor-to-ceiling windows on two sides that give students a view of the Cedars to the southwest. The deep crimson walls invite silent contemplation and a retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city outside the walls.
Veronica and her husband, Ade Hazley, also own RockStar Fitness Camps and execute corporate wellness consulting under the Torres Hazley Group umbrella. The duo work with about 10 corporate accounts in North Texas. Their work ranges from activation of programs and managing in-house fitness centers to staffing and providing group fitness classes.
V12 serves as an incubation lab for corporate wellness programming and activation, creating concepts workshops for nonprofit and specialized yoga gatherings for boards.
In 2016, while business was thriving, Veronica and her husband and co-owner Ade dealt with a family loss that pushed Veronica to cope with her grief through meditation and alternative healing practices.
“I felt like I had to find myself,” Veronica said. “I dug myself into energetic healing, holistic healing. I read books on the spiritual self, guides, mediums, everything that you can read and I found so much relief in meditation and clearing energies and sage.”
Veronica’s next steps demonstrate that innovation doesn’t always come in the form of technological advancements. Tapping into her Native American and Mexican roots, Veronica called her grandmother to learn more about sage healing. She then offered the practice at V12 through workshops that attracted 30 to 40 participants.
“These workshops are people that want to hear my story on how I got through grieving,” Torres Hazley said. “I feel so full talking to them about what happened, and not only this past year but being a teen mom, talking about losing my father. All of that is relatable to them and I feel like they are comfortable having that conversation. These workshops have become so powerful in their own way. I’m like ‘whoa I can’t believe that this is actually space to create that.’”
V12 workshops are divided into a three-part series: what is the purpose of sage sticks and how to make them, how to use sage sticks over your person and space, and feather wand building. Often the workshops are followed by guided meditation.
When asked what is trending this year in wellness, Veronica points to sage workshops and vision boards, especially for children, and she proves that she’s ahead of the curve by detailing an upcoming workshop based on her daughters, who are 3 and 1 years old.
Notes from a Yogi
How can professionals incorporate wellness practices into their lives?
I think it’s [wellness] popular now because people want to disengage from that and find that place that makes us human. That vulnerability. I think if they just need to have a little bit of curiosity on yoga or mindfulness or holistic healing and they will to find what they need.
Who inspires you in entrepreneurship?
Ana Flores of #WeAllGrow Network, which is the first and largest community of Latina digital influencers, hyperlocal events and annual Summit. I connected with her last year about bringing a wellness event to Dallas, and offered to teach the sage workshop there. I’m excited to say that the #WeAllGrow Network will be bringing an event to Dallas this summer!
What wellness and entrepreneurship resources would you recommend?
For me, I noticed a huge shift in my life when I started meditating and I would suggest everyone get Insight Timer. It’s the app that guided me through grief. I was going through therapy and nothing compared to this. I got girl crushes on a few of the women on the app.
I do a lot of podcasting on small business like Side Hustle, that’s my number one. Eventual Millionaire is another podcast and Live Awake and How I Built This. Oh, and Moms on Call, which saved my life. It teaches you how to put your baby on a schedule.