As a part of our Black Leaders Day celebration, we are sharing the stories of our Black instructors and supporting the causes that matter most to them.
Today we have the opportunity to celebrate Ava Lemons. She’s a restorative yoga instructor. Read more about Ava below and visit her Moxie studio to join her for a class.
Q&A with Ava Lemons
- Tell us a bit about your journey to becoming a fitness instructor. How did you get started? Is there an achievement you’re particularly proud of?
I am a newly certified yoga teacher but have over 15 years of experience in the wellness industry as a licensed esthetician. I was laid off in 2020 when Covid hit California hard. I decided to use the time away from work to pursue my yoga teaching certification. It’s been a goal I’ve always wanted to achieve but never had the time. I feel blessed to immerse myself in the yoga practice and philosophies, and I credit it for keeping my spirits up during this difficult time.
- What is your coaching philosophy or mantra?
I've had so many conversations on my journey as an instructor where people believe that they cannot do yoga because they can't touch their toes. It's my goal to show people that yoga is not about physical flexibility and that everybody can be a yoga body.
- What does leadership mean to you?
Leadership means meeting people where they are and going from there to help them reach their goals and fullest potential. Leaders are more than just experts in their field; they also have compassion and can listen to people's fears and concerns and help them overcome challenges.
- How important is it for you to be a wellness leader in the black community?
Very important. I’ve walked into countless wellness spaces where I was the only or one of only a few black faces in the crowd, and sometimes that can be an ostracizing experience. I want the Black community to feel like my classes are a safe space to relax and discover self-love.
- We’re excited to get to know the charity you are supporting! Who are they and why are they special to you?
I am supporting Black Light Arts Collective. Their goal is to bring the arts and wellness to the black community; whether you are interested in writing stories, cooking, or yoga and meditation, they have a workshop for it! Black Light Arts Collective is also LGBTQ+ friendly, which as an ally of that community, is important to me.
- Is there someone in the Black community or a figure in history who inspires you and whom you wish more folks knew about? We’d love to hear about them!
Dr. Gail Parker. She published a book called Restorative Yoga for Ethnic and Race-Based Stress and Trauma, which helped me realize I wanted my niche to be Restorative Yoga.