Only offer what you know you can give. Many of us are stretched to our ends so as much as we want to be there for others, we also have to be honest with how much we can give them. It’s important to be a person of integrity because people need to know they can trust right now.
As a part of my series about the “5 Things Anyone Can Do To Optimize Their Mental Wellness” I had the pleasure of interviewing Koya Webb.
Koya Webb is an internationally recognized yoga teacher, celebrity holistic health coach, author, speaker, and vegan activist whose core mission is to promote daily self-care, oneness and ecofriendly living to combat some of the world’s biggest challenges including mental health, social injustices and global warming. Koya is the founder of Get Loved Up, an international lifestyle community and Yoga School that inspires mental, spiritual and physical health through an app, online courses, retreats, in-person yoga teacher training events and the Get Loved Up Podcast.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?
I had received a track scholarship to college and I was excited about the opportunity. I loved running and meeting people from around the world as we traveled. One day I was walking across campus and fell and couldn’t stand up. I soon found out I had a stress fracture in my lower back. The coaches and doctors told me I was out for the season. I was crushed. A counselor recommended I try yoga. I wasn’t into it at all and felt out of place and sad. My instructor at the time told me to just breathe. I began to breathe with her and instantly felt my mood lift so I kept going to class and started practicing more and more and fell in love with it. After a year of practicing my back healed and I led my track team to their first women’s championship title. Since then yoga has been my best friend and now a gift I share with the world.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
One year I met a very friendly guy at the convenience store and every day I came in he was happy and smiling. One day he was very sad and I asked him what was wrong and he said his trainer had given up on him. I told him that I could help him but he would have to be 100 percent committed. He committed and after a year of mental, physical and nutritional training with me he lost a total of 200 pounds. It was a wonderful experience for both of us.
What advice would you give to other leaders about how to create a fantastic work culture?
Remember to have fun. Work can be very stressful at this time so incorporating weekly team meetings and ice breakers could help warm your team up to each other.
Virtual happy hours where you let your employees pick what they want to do during that hour can promote creativity.
Inclusion is very important as well when hiring so as you build with your team you have different perspectives from many different cultures.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
I love “The Course Of Miracles.” It helped me simplify life into two emotions: Fear and Love. So, when life gets complex, I just simplify it by asking myself am I thinking from a place of fear or love.
From your experience or research, how would you define and describe the state of being mindful?
The state of being mindful is about being fully aware of the present moment. Allowing yourself to be immersed in what’s happening right now. We’re so used to multi-tasking and having our minds on more than one thing. When we can fully take in the present that is being mindful.
This might be intuitive to you, but it will be instructive to spell this out. Can you share with our readers a few of the physical, mental, and emotional benefits of becoming mindful?
Physically being mindful is to be present in the body. Aware of the sensations, the energy, and responses to what is currently taking place. Allowing the body to feel as it is without judgement. Movement and mindful eating is something I incorporate daily with a mile a day and a handful of almonds when I need a natural energy boost. Almonds are rich in nutrients that help you feel energized to be at your best. Snacks that are high in fiber, offer protein and good fats are more than just nutritious — they are the secret ally for you to keep your own daily flow.
Mentally being mindful is being aware of the thoughts that are coming up in your mind. Say for instance a negative thought or a past thought comes to the mind. Being aware that you and the thought are separate and allowing your awareness to observe the thought without getting caught up in whatever is coming to the mind. As humans we’re typically operating in two places: the past and the future. Being in that space does not allow for present moment awareness.
When we are emotionally mindful we can become aware of the energy we have and generate to ourselves and others. Emotions are so powerful and play a huge part in how we show up in the world. When we are mindful of our emotion it allows us to be more self-aware and we can direct the energy those emotions give off into a place of positivity or negativity. Having that awareness is liberating for the entire being.
The past 5 years have been filled with upheaval and political uncertainty. Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the pandemic have only heightened a sense of uncertainty, anxiety, fear, and loneliness. From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to develop mindfulness during such uncertain times? Can you please share a story or example for each.
First- Speak about what you are grateful for. We hear a lot about how important it is to be grateful and that’s because it dispels negativity causing us to focus on the good and/or positive in our lives.
Second- Move your body. Sitting around all day or if you’re working a lot can cause low energy and that can cause depression and/or lethargy. Moving the body gets oxygen moving and the blood flowing. The increased blood flow stimulates you and gets your brain and body activated!
Third- Breathe deeply and fully. Oftentimes we are moving at such a fast pace we don’t realize our shallow breathing. Shallow breath isn’t good for the body. Taking the time to breathe fully and deeply into the lungs and blowing the breath out of the mouth causes you to exhale pent up stale energy. You want the body to feel release so getting rid of the tightness by doing quick and simple breathwork exercises can be a game changer
Fourth- Enjoy healthier meals and nutritious snacks. The quality of food we eat matters. Having a balanced meal of foods that nourish and energize you rather than weigh you down and spike your sugar levels is what you want. If you can take the time to prepare a meal that has fresh ingredients and eat for energy and not emotionally or just to indulge you last longer throughout your day. I like a handful of almonds whenever I need an energy boost. Almonds’ power-packed nutrition makes it easy to snack healthy — just one ounce deliver 6g of natural, plant-based protein, 4g of filling fiber and good fats.
Fifth- Get rest. I believe in getting 8 hours of sleep at night and or unplugging from social media and the demands of the world. Some of us are still operating in our jobs and home life at full speed and I get it but taking the time to relax and reset is essential to a healthy body, mind and spirit. Recharging yourself with some form of self-care is essential as we go through these challenging times.
From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?
Step 1: Call and check in on people: Offer words of comfort and empowerment to them to let them know we will get through this
Step 2: Listen. Be an active listener. Take the time to hear people out, everyone is going through something. Many people want to know they matter so listening attentively provides the opportunity for them to fully express their feelings. Creating these moments builds trust and allows people to be honest with where they are.
Step 3: Only offer what you know you can give. Many of us are stretched to our ends so as much as we want to be there for others, we also have to be honest with how much we can give them. It’s important to be a person of integrity because people need to know they can trust right now.
Step 4: Invite them to do an activity (via social distancing) as this time of isolation has been hard. Get together to go for a run or for tea: Having a little bit of face to face time can make a big difference in someone feeling just a little more connected.
Step 5: Encourage them to journal. Flushing out one’s feelings, thoughts, and emotions on paper can really release anxiety and stress. We are not meant to hold all this trauma in our bodies so writing a beautiful way to let go. Then to go back at some point and read what was written can be motivating for them to see the areas of growth and improvement they’ve made over time.
What are the best resources you would suggest for someone to learn how to be more mindful and serene in their everyday life?
Breathwork, yoga, meditation, and reading books that enhance those practices.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
Love yourself, love others and love the world in that order to the best of your ability and you will feel peace of mind. This reminds me that I can’t pour from an empty cup and how important it is to place self-care first on a daily basis, so I don’t exhaust my energy by doing too much for others without refueling which often left me burnt out.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
My movement is Get Loved Up. I believe in the power of love and with it anything is possible. People need to know and believe that they are loved and whenever they feel fear, frustration and doubt they can “get loved up” to raise their frequency to love.
What is the best way our readers can follow you online?
Instagram: @KoyaWebb & @GetLovedUp