- Koya Webb was a star track athlete before an injury ended that career and eventually led her to become a yoga teacher and health coach.
- Webb taught Insider how to practice eye yoga, a 2-minute technique that eases eye strain and promotes relaxation.
- She also recommended the “three-part breath” as a simple deep breathing technique to ease holiday (and year-round) stress.
- Join Webb for a live demonstration at “Inside for the Holidays,” which will take place December 16th at 4 p.m ET. You can click here to register for this free event.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Koya Webb can sit on the ground with her legs extended straight up and out to the sides, her arms parallel to the floor, grasping her feet. The celebrity yoga instructor and health coach can unfurl into a headstand, tilt into a backbend, and balance on one foot like an ice skater.
“If anyone sees me on social media, they’re like, ‘you’re so flexible, you’re so strong,’” told Insider.
But that wasn’t always the case. A former track athlete with a chance to go to the Olympics, Webb suffered a back injury that ultimately ended that career. It was caused by overuse, poor sleep, and tight muscles, she said. “I couldn’t touch my toes,” Webb said.
But Webb’s recovery led her to yoga — which, at the beginning, was simply deep breathing. Now she helps her followers and clients, who’ve included Stevie Wonder, India Aire, P. Diddy, and Ashley Judd, embrace daily self-care — something particularly critical during the holiday season capping off what for many was a tragic, life-altering year.
“I believe when we have challenges, they’re actually meant to make us stronger,” Webb said. “So no matter how rough, no matter how debilitating, no matter how sad, that if we’re able to grow through the challenges and learn more about ourselves, learn more about others and learn more about the world, then actually that’s the silver lining.”
Webb talked to Insider about a few simple techniques anyone can use to find calm, and even joy, this season.
Eye yoga can relieve eye strain and promote relaxation
Eye yoga involves closing your eyes while intentionally moving your eyeballs in various directions. While there’s no evidence that the practice can treat various eye diseases or improve vision, as some practitioners promote, it has been shown to reduce eye strain and is an accessible, subtle, and risk-free way to de-stress.
“The average American is in front of the phone or the computer at least four hours a day,” Webb said, “and so that can cause eye strain and tension headaches, and it can add on to anxiety.”
To practice eye yoga, simply close your eyes and take a few deep breaths while imagining the stress leave your eyes as you exhale. Then, with your eyes still closed, look all the way down, look all the way to the right, all the way up, and all the way to the left….