World-renowned yoga instructor, holistic wellness coach and former competitive track and field athlete Koya Webb believes in the power of compassion and connection. An empowering advocate for loving self, others, and the planet, Koya joins Yogis Unite and speaks to Parvati Magazine about how the movement aligns with her mission for environmental healing. This interview has been edited and condensed.
Parvati Magazine: You place a lot of emphasis on self-care and self-love. How does this provide a foundation to connect with greater unity and healing for our world?
Koya Webb: I think the way we can love the planet is to first love ourselves, because we are all one. Any negative outlook we have on ourselves will be reflected in things we say and how we feel about other people.
Once we work on healing ourselves, we’re able to pass that healing on to our children, to our friends, to our family, and we make a positive impact in the world.
Parvati Magazine: How do you use yoga to inspire others?
Koya Webb: I use yoga for mental, spiritual and physical healing. Sometimes when we get traumatized, we stop and we’re scared. Fear and love can’t coexist, so to get back to the love we have to work on our mental state so we can shine, so we can grow just like Nature. Yoga is a beautiful way to release limiting beliefs about ourselves or our world, and replace them with positive ones.
Spiritually, it’s about connecting with that energy within that is unique to us. We’re interconnected through our spiritual selves. And in yoga we do that by breathing, with the movement, and then by sitting in meditation.
How I found yoga was through a track and field injury. Even though I was in pain, I started to connect with my breath. I started to realize, “Wow, you are burning yourself out. You’re not getting enough sleep. You’re practicing six to eight hours a day non-stop to be the best, but you’re running your body into the ground with no chance of recovery.”
So through yoga you’re able to quiet all the noise and listen to your soul. When I had my injury, I was guided spiritually to take better care of myself. And then that trickled down to physically, and just going through the poses helped get rid of that scar tissue and inflammation. It helped my body do what it does best: heal itself.
I believe we can heal from anything in this world, but we have to slow down and to pay attention to how our body is speaking to us. Through yoga you get that slowing down. That’s why yoga is one of the best tools for not only healing but connection. Once you heal yourself, you can pass those healing stories to others and then we can heal as a collective.
Parvati Magazine: How does Yogis Unite align with your teachings and beliefs about connection?
Koya Webb: Yogis Unite really aligns with my teaching because it’s about unity. When you unite with your breath and your body, you can be your best self. You’re better at connecting with others and with the planet. I’m so grateful and honored to be a part of this project that is uniting with other teachers around the world so that we can help uplift and educate and be a part of world healing.
Parvati Magazine: Why do you identify with the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary? Why do you believe it is a cause that needs attention from the global community?
Koya Webb: It affects our entire world. If you see the world, it’s like one body. If our hand is hurting, our head gets that signal. And if we don’t pay attention to it, it has a ripple effect. And our oceans and atmosphere are the most important thing to pay attention to because [problems there are] a sign we’re doing something wrong. Unless we correct it, it’s going to affect our health and our environment.
Parvati Magazine: What keeps you motivated to help create a healthy world?
Koya Webb: What keeps me motivated is the beauty I see every time I watch the sun rise or set. And in order for that to continue to happen, I have to take care of the planet.
Koya Webb is an internationally recognized yoga teacher, personal trainer, author, motivational speaker, and professional fitness model revolutionizing the holistic living landscape. She created Get Loved Up, a platform that encourages people to “love yourself, love others, and love the planet” by practicing environmental sustainability, plant-based nutrition, and mindful movement.