Skip to main content

Teacher Feature: Joel Davis

By March 31, 2024No Comments

This month’s teacher feature highlights Joel Davis, who has been teaching at HYA since arriving in Asheville in 2022. Last month, Joel debuted the Second Saturday Sangha, a new offering at the studio that incorporates meditation and music in addition to a yoga flow. It will be held on the second Saturday of each month, on a sliding-scale basis, with a recommended donation of $10-30.

Joel has also led several teacher trainings. He combines teaching with his profession as an accountant, and since moving to Asheville, he and his partner Jess have welcomed a son, River, into their lives as well.

HYA: What led you to start the Second Saturday Sangha?

Joel: I had been talking to Heather trying to figure out how to incorporate meditation and other aspects of yoga in addition to the physical practice. My partner Jess actually thought of it. She has been in a sangha before, which is usually a Buddhist thing. It’s usually a dharma talk and some meditiation, but I wanted to bring a more full experience, make it appropriate for our studio and share it in a modern world.

HYA: How did you get started in yoga and meditation?

Joel: I started taking yoga classes like most people do, mostly as a physical practice, which I love. I enjoy the movement aspect of it. But my big ah-ha moment came during a 10-day silent Vipasana retreat in Thailand. That was my first introduction to that side of the practice.

HYA: What led you to do that?

Joel: A friend and his dad had done it and told me about it. They were just two normal guys, living a western corporate lifestyle. The thing is, they didn’t really enjoy it. But for some reason, when they told me about it, I just thought, ‘I need to experience this.’ And so I used all my vacation time to do it and it completely changed my world.

HYA: That also opened the door to your first teacher training, also in Thailand, right?

Joel: After the retreat, I went to another retreat center in Thailand that also did teacher trainings. And I talked to someone there and realized, you can just to a teacher training even if you don’t want to be a teacher. So I went back and did that two years later. That one trip opened up my whole world and changed the course of my life.

HYA: What were you doing for a living then?

Joel: I worked in corporate banking for oil and gas companies. I also have an MBA in finance. It’s very different from the yoga world but it provides a balance for me. I enjoy doing both things. Now I work as an accountant and it’s a nice mix of a job and teaching.

HYA: What do you hope students get from the monthly sangha?

Joel: I’m really excited about offering something unique to our studio, bringing other aspects of yoga. It’s a big world and there is so much more to it. The first one was very well received and I think people are really eager for this kind of thing. We incorporate mantras and songs, yoga philosophy and a slow flow practice. I have a long background in music, playing bar gigs and coffee shops and weddings for a long time, so I love bringing music in to the mix as well.