Interview by Lauren Ash. Photos courtesy Koya Webb.
When I met Koya a month ago in Chicago, I was immediately drawn in by her glow! Super radiant, Koya conveys authenticity, compassion, and love. While I wasn't able to take one of her yoga workshops, I did benefit from her practice of this holistic practice. Let's not forget that the physical practice (asana) of yoga is just one aspect of the multifaceted, thousands of years old philosophy. So, I did experience yoga with Koya. From her kind explanation of why she practices veganism and advocates that more people take it up as a practice of love and compassion, to her communication of support for BGIO and the ethos behind what my team and I have been cultivating for the past few years, I felt better for having been in Koya's presence.
I hope that you, too, enjoy Koya's warmth and wisdom conveyed through our conversation below. If you're not already following her, please do! Dive into her resources on her website www.koyawebb.com and follow her on social media on Instagram @koyawebb, Facebook @koyawebbonline and on Twitter @koyawebb.
Lauren Ash: Who are you?
Koya Webb: I am Love. I believe that the most important element in health is Self-Love; from this belief came the creation of Get Loved Up. Get Loved Up encourages you to practice daily self-care, oneness and eco-friendly living. It teaches you how to make healthy holistic living a priority in a fun and accessible way!
Lauren Ash: I love your focus on both transformation and accessibility, Koya. Who says we can't change the very fabric of our lives and lifestyles? Who says that change has to be out of reach? You are certainly shifting how we approach our health and wellness in ways that are meaningful, especially for women of color as too many of us still face barriers in accessing tools and resources that allow us to thrive. This is something Deun and I recently spoke about with Dr. Tiffany Lester. I'd love to know: what does Black Girl In Om mean to you?
Koya Webb: BGIO means connection, self-love, and wellness to me. BGIO represents the collective of black women who share a passion for health, wellness and beauty. BGIO gives black women a space to express themselves fully and be heard. BGIO is a beautiful platform inspiring black women worldwide to be their best and know that they belong in health and wellness.
Lauren Ash: Yes, to the yes, yes, yes! And how do you identify with Black Girl In Om’s mission?
Koya Webb: My mission in life is to breathe deeply into the ever expanding depths of my soul to educate, entertain and inspire. I created Get Loved Up to promote self-love, oneness and eco-friendly living so that we can live in harmony with ourselves, one another and mother earth. I believe BGIO's mission of self love, self care and wellness is an empowering platform that connects women of color world wide with each other through sharing experiences on and offline.
Lauren Ash: We have so much resonance! I can't wait to download your app and give it a go myself. Maybe we'll create a challenge around it for our community? If anyone is interested in this, tweet us and let us know! They may seem obvious, but what are your self-care & self-love practices?
Koya Webb: Mornings are my "me time." I know if I take care of myself first I'll have more than enough energy to share with others throughout the day.
I start with lemon water and cayenne as soon as I wake up. I love lighting soy-based candles and spending at least 10 to 30 minutes in meditation. After meditation, I run a mile adding 5 to 10 sprints to really get my heart pumping. This always makes me feel ALIVE!
I wind down with a 30 to 60 minute yoga flow to de-stress, release tension and cultivate a mind, body, soul connection. I add resistance training 3 times a week with my own body weight or in a gym.
Then I shower and massage my body with organic oils before heading into my day.
Lauren Ash: I love how your practice is holistic: touching on all the facets of yourself as a human and spiritual being. It's also so great that it begins in the morning. Mine often does, I find that if I don't give myself that attention at the start of my day it just won't happen. What’s one ritual you recommend more women of color adopt to cultivate inner beauty and wellness?
Koya Webb: I recommend a gratitude journal where you daily write down life's blessings and challenges that you have overcome. Often we spend the entire day talking about the chaos around us, a gratitude journal brings the attention back to whats really important...how much we've been blessed.
Lauren Ash: YES. Gratitude journals are a popular one, around here! Recently, BGIO Beauty Shanna Tyler spoke to this as a powerful ritual, too. What’s one wellness product you cannot live without?
Koya Webb: One wellness product I can't live without is coconut oil. I put it in my hair and on my skin. I oil-pull with it in the morning to keep my teeth white and healthy. I toss it in the skillet for a healthy hearty stir-fry or drizzle it over my sweet potato instead of butter. There are endless uses for coconut oil and if I could only have one beauty product coconut oil would be it.
Lauren: Thank you so much for sharing your light with us, Koya!
More about Koya Webb. Koya is a Celebrity Holistic Health Coach and Yoga Instructor who has worked with Stevie Wonder, India Arie, Ashley Judd and many other singers, actors, models, corporations and organizations passionate about healthy living.
Koya is a highly regarded expert source influencer and editorial contributor with appearances on NBC, CBS, CNN and the Steve Harvey Show and over 300k online media followers. Her holistic health, detox and lifestyle tips have been featured in Oxygen, Essence, LA Yoga, Mind Body Green, The Chalkboard, Max Sport & Fitness, and Muscle & Performance among others.
This former Olympic track and field hopeful heptathlete turned to yoga and holistic healing after battling depression triggered by a season-ending injury and she has never turned back. Koya healed herself and many others using natural foods, fitness, yoga, meditation and healthy living practices.
With over 15 years of practical application and certifications from the Integrated Institute of Nutrition (IIN), National Association of Sports Medicine (NASM), Source of Yoga 500hr and many others, Koya stays on the pulse of what's fun, fresh and effective when it comes to optimal nutrition and healthy living. Her mission is to create a healthier planet one breath at a time via holistic healing, oneness and eco-friendly living. Koya combines the work ethic and dedication of an athlete with simple practical holistic health practices that anyone can follow to live a healthy and active lifestyle.