We all struggle with taking control of our lives at some point, don’t we?
At times, we struggle with understanding our own identities, our gender, or we even judge other people on how they identify themselves. But we are all unique, we are all special, and we must learn to respect others without judgment and attachment while not forgetting to respect ourselves.
In this episode, I have a remarkable guest with me, the founder of Melanin Yoga Project —Davina Davidson. Davina and I talk about the stigmas existing in society and how to get over them through yoga and mindfulness. We also discuss how important it is to listen to the well-being of your body.
At the end of the day, you decide who you are and how you want to be treated. And it is up to you to communicate this to everyone around you, and also for us all to decide collectively who we want to be and where we want to be headed.
Love, I hope that by the end of this post, you are inspired to take control of your life, one breath at a time.
Who Is Davina Davidson?
Apart from being an E-RYT 500 YA registered yoga instructor, Davina is a teacher and trainer in life who guides people along the path to yoga, meditation, and mindful living. Through her initiative The Melanin Yoga Project, she aims to reach out to the underserved communities, to train, educate, and motivate them to evolve through love and compassion.
“My role in this is to connect people and to teach what I know through yoga. And [to share the knowledge of] what I have been taught over the years by white people, with Black teachers, to elevate them so that we have more representation in the industry.” – Davina Davidson
Davina’s biggest aspiration is to help people reach out internally, within themselves, and make a pathway towards tapping into their own strengths and embodying their potential. She is a leading advocate of providing safe spaces for people of color and unlatch racism from the Houston yoga industry.
This conversation was an empowering one for me personally, and I can’t wait to share it with you on the Get Loved Up podcast.
How COVID-19 and the #BlackLivesMatter Movement Shaped Davina’s Journey
While the entire world shut down as COVID-19 hit, Davina started enjoying the slow-down, and with her studio closed and only a few teacher trainings to attend, she was actually in a good place.
“That [phase] lasted through to the end of April, and [then] I was like, ‘What’s the call to action now? We have a non-profit, but what were we really doing for people during this time?’ So we did a pop-up virtual expo and had different speakers come in and talk about COVID and [its impact]. … It was cool. … I finished the trainings and then I just wanted to take a [break].” – Davina Davidson
Davina’s plans to take a rest came to an abrupt halt when the Black Lives Matter movement took over the world due to police brutality and racism. She immediately joined the social justice movement to empower the lives of Black people through yoga.
“Another Black man had to die for the world to say, ‘No, this is not ok.’ And towards the end of June, my friend Carson Calhoun reached out to me [and my] friends to ask us if we were interested in leading a training specifically for Black teachers and Black people who wanted to practice and teach yoga. … And very quickly, it just spiraled … really fast. … It was very challenging, eye-opening, and humbling.” – Davina Davidson
For Davina, being a yoga teacher is an honor and a privilege and requires a solemn responsibility to hold a space for people. She started that season with 10-12 people, which soon expanded to over 40 people or contractors. And while at it, Davina had also been actively involved in the yoga industry’s upliftment and making it a sustainable career for teachers and trainers.
“Most teachers are not making a full-time salary, so to cultivate that much income and education is just phenomenal. During this time, my biggest growth has been when people have been able to [show a different perspective to things]. … And I feel like that is how we grow as a community and culture.” – Davina Davidson
While working alongside Black people and those of mixed races, Davina kept hearing conversations around identity anxiety — am I Black if I’m mixed? Do I qualify as a person of color? During these conversations, Davina encouraged others to embody their true selves and exist within the POC community as one.
From Struggling with Your Identity to Finding Your Peace
Many of my bi-racial friends had a challenging time identifying with themselves because of racial tension that extends beyond Blacks and Whites. There are different races, nationalities, ethnicities, and cultures all at work.Davina and I both believe that those cultures must be preserved because that’s what makes us unique and beautiful.
“The process of identifying yourself … is vital… [and it involves] identifying who you are, how you want to be treated, and [which] community [you want to be] with. Being bi-racial is so challenging [especially] as a child. … [But] at a very early age … I learned that I don’t belong to anyone, I [just] belong to myself. … And that’s why I have such a strong connection to who I am, what I stand for, and what I won’t stand for.” – Davina Davidson
Davina chooses to be a part of the community that she feels most aligned to, allowing her to connect well with those around her. But being a part of the social justice workspace that she is in, there can be a lot of stimuli, and it’s a hard job for her to balance out all the energy. Yet, she makes it flow and takes care of herself.
“[There was a time when] my body was trembling, … I was overstimulated, and I needed to just chill out. … So I backed away from … the forefront of training and … took ten days off, … to just restore. … [And then] I was back to the reality of life.” – Davina Davidson
And when she came back to work, she was ready to go above and beyond to serve the Black community. She put in more effort than she had ever done for any other yoga training. She took it upon herself to empower Black people to become yoga trainers and teachers, and throughout this journey, she found peace in who she was.
Davina’s Approach to Yoga and Her Take on Social Media
I asked Davina about how she wishes to continue with her wellness programs and what she intends with her approach. And her answer was honest and relatable:
“Prior to COVID, I was [distraught] with what I was seeing in Houston. … Teachers were using the practice as a way to promote themselves … [rather than highlighting] the benefits of the practice. … Because for me, it is about uplifting other people and sharing the benefits of yoga. … I don’t ever want anyone to be like me, … and I don’t need your best version. … In real life [it’s not the teacher’s social media followers that matter], … but the impact [that they are creating]. – Davina Davidson
Personally, I have noticed a common addiction to social media and an obsession with it — I have experienced it personally. I was always comparing myself to others and was worried about the number of my followers. There was this toxicity within me when it came to social media, and I’ve had to heal from that. Learning how to use social media healthily and effectively is key to becoming inspirational rather than being a part of the judgment cycle.
“My Instagram has always been a diary, … I was sharing too much information, … and I realized … that [it] can be toxic. … [I asked myself,] ‘What is it that [I] actually want people to know about [myself]?’ … [And so this way] I created a boundary. … I cleaned up my whole page, and then I [made a] separate yoga page. … [And now as I] practice, when I see my videos, I am inspired to keep getting on my mat every day.” – Davina Davidson
This sets the right precedent for anyone who is trying to make an impact in life. Get out of your addictions, use social media healthily, and think about creating an impact to uplift yourself and those around you. And if you find yourself in an unhealthy place with social media, take a rest from it and focus on activities that uplift your spirit.
Davina is familiar with the power of rest — she experienced a horrible accident when an 18-wheeler rammed into her on the freeway. It was traumatizing, and she was lucky to be alive. During her recovery, what helped her the most was to stop practicing physical yoga and focusing on pranayama, meditation, yoga nidra (sleep meditation), and acupuncture. Her story is a testament to the power of meditation and breathwork, and sometimes, that is the most powerful asset we have —, the power to breathe and give our bodies a chance to heal.
You may be going through a hard time in life. You may have a physical injury or mental stress, or perhaps you’re struggling with a social media addiction. BIf you find yourself in a tough spot, performing mindful meditation or finding the right teacher would go a long way in healing and transforming yourself and making your mark in this beautiful world.
Get Loved Up with Davina Davidson
This interview with Davina Davidson has been such a treat and had so many powerful moments. I am genuinely in love with this amazing woman! I couldn’t cover everything in this post, so check out the complete interview by clicking here and learn more from Davina’s mindset and her transformative journey.
If you loved this post, then don’t forget to take a screenshot of this episode and tag Davina @iamdavinadavidson and me @koyawebb on Instagram with your greatest takeaways. And don’t forget to share this episode with someone whom you feel would benefit from this.
One last thing before I go — if you’re looking to experience a moment of rest, spiritual fulfillment, and meditation, then I’d love to invite you to the Get Loved Up retreat, which includes best-in-class conversations, talks, wellness sessions and demonstrations from the world’s leading well-being advocates. This 3-Day self-care retreat was developed to empower and inspire you in the areas of spirituality, wellness and entrepreneurship while nourishing your mind, body and soul. You can register for the retreat here.
Till we meet next time, love — choose to live with a mindset of abundance versus a spirit of competition and become what you really aspire to be and deserve.
- The impact of George Floyd 4:19
- Black teachers in yoga 4:24
- Conscious language in yoga training 7:21
- Supporting Black businesses 7:33
- Being called out 13:19
- Colorism 19:12
- I don’t belong to anyone 25:43
- Black people need yoga 31:30
- The value of 200 HYTT 36:10
- Influencers 48:33
- Traumatic accident 53:26
Links mentioned in this episode
- Order Koya’s book Let Your Fears Make You Fierce