Black History Month is a time for celebrating our sheroes and heroes. So this month (and beyond) we’re putting black American wellness influencers in the spotlight who deserve more shine. These influencers are making a difference when it comes to giving a face to minority health along with making wellness more accessible to a diverse group of enthusiasts.
With well over half a million social media followers between Twitter, Instagram and Facebook — Koya Webb is already an internationally recognized holistic health coach, motivational speaker, author, and fitness model. She leads yoga workshops and teacher trainings all over the globe. Webb advocates that the most important part of health is “self-love.” From that, her Get Loved Up brand was born. She’s a former track and field star who approaches details with the precision of an athlete but also balances her philosophy with the gentle discipline she possesses as a renowned yoga practitioner.
She holds certifications in Ashtanga, Rayoka, SUP (stand up paddleboard yoga), AcroVinyasa and AYfit, as well as NASM and IIN. Also certified in integrated nutrition, she encourages veganism and the occasional cleanse. Fun fact: while working on this interview she’s been in the midst of the “Master Cleanse” which is a modified juice fast that eliminates solid food, subbing in tea and lemonade with maple syrup and cayenne pepper instead (aka my strep throat/flu diet). While there’s no science to back up whether there are real detox benefits to it Webb says, “The spiritual connection where you are giving your digestive system a break and you are not digesting food is absolutely amazing.” She calls these revelations and observations “downloads.”
Her fans say she has infectious energy and also a naturally creative soul. That tends to meld with some of her icon and near-icon status clientele. She’s worked with the likes of Stevie Wonder, India Arie, Ashley Judd and a slew of other singers, actors, models, corporations and organizations who share a passion for healthy living. (She has partnerships with ALO Yoga, Sunwarrior and ToeSox.)
Coming off one teacher training and in the midst of planning another, she was kind enough to answer a quick Q &A:
Books for Better Living (BBL): With a background as a track and field athlete, you’ve been a holistic wellness expert for more than 15 years. While you’ve been widely recognized for your accomplishments and relied on as a go-to expert, there’s historically been a lack of representation for people of color in the health and wellness space. It seems like only recently, we are beginning to see more diverse voices and images moving to the forefront. Why do you think there’s been such a lack of representation, and what do you think is bringing about this change (if you see significant change happening)?
Webb: I think intersectionality plays a big part in why there hasn’t been enough representation. Now that we are supporting each other we are rising together despite discrimination of all kinds and our challenges have made us stronger. I think representation has increased because of social media. We can now see like-minded individuals all over the world. We are collaborating more and celebrating each other more. The growth is amazing.
BBL: What drew you to yoga, personal training and holistic wellness as a career?
Webb: I am passionate about helping others live a healthy lifestyle. It makes me happy to see others happy and to witness daily transformations. As I teach I grow stronger in my own personal practice. Collectively we raise the vibration of the planet when we teach each other.
BBL: Your company, Get Loved Up promotes daily self-care and aims to help reduce the number of people living with chronic disease. Why do you think this is such a critical component of your mission? Do you find this particularly important for people of color?
Webb: I think as people of color we routinely put ourselves last and others first. People need to know taking care of themselves is not selfish but necessary in order for us to be healthy. We will have more energy to take care of others when we take care of ourselves. Once I learned to take care of myself, I started to thrive and became a better leader as a result.
BBL: What are three simple things we can do every day to make healthy living a priority?
Webb: I think meditation is especially important because it connects you to your soul and from there you’ll be guided in every area of your life. Getting 6 to 8 hours of sleep is also essential so the body can recover and regenerate. And consuming a plant-based diet encourages optimal health and vitality and is better for the planet in the long run.
BBL: You seem to love book giveaways. Lately, you’ve teamed up with Anthony William (aka the “Medical Medium”). What is it about that series you think is important to share with your healthy living community?
Webb: I think Anthony William is one of the top health experts in the world today and his books are easy to follow and practical. I love that he talks directly to the spirit and has helped heal so many life-threatening diseases.
BBL: What’s next for Koya Webb and Get Loved Up in 2018?
Webb: I’m hosting a 200-hour yoga teacher training in June in Los Angeles!
To find out more about yoga teacher trainings led by Koya click here: Get Loved Up Yoga Teacher Training.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Koya Webb