Meet the incredible Dr. Dava Nichol
Dava Nichol has a doctorate in physical therapy and she’s a yoga teacher with a passion to combine these skills to help you heal from past injury and achieve your highest potential.
She’s also a super-genuine woman who I’ve become friends with. We connected over Instagram last year when she launched the Self Care Sunday Challenge which I adored and took part in. I have enjoyed learning from her through her informative insta posts and emails and she’s the real deal.
Today, I’m sitting down with Dava to talk about how she came into yoga, her incredible courses and retreats and marketing tips. Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with me, Dava!
Let’s dive into the interview!
Amanda: You are a yoga teacher and a physical therapist - tell me a little bit about which came first and how you ended up with both certifications.
Dava: I actually was brought into yoga through an injury. I played basketball in college and injured myself on the court. I went through a ton of different rehab methods. I went to a chiropractor, a physician and a physical therapist. It wasn't until I incorporated yoga that I started healing. That’s what drove me to yoga and becoming a physical therapist. That was about 10 years ago and I’ve just been with it ever since!
Amanda: What’s your yoga niche, what do you offer to students, what is your primary message?How did you decide on this niche?
Dava: I still think I’m working on niching down. There’s still so much I want to do! I would say that after that injury I used to teach all sorts of classes for the last 8 years. It wasn’t until about 3 years ago I realized that I specifically wanted to teach yoga. I dropped all other classes and focused on yoga! I had so much personal transformation when it became more of a life transforming practice for me and not just a workout, it became a mental practice for me. I started incorporating more mindfulness and that’s when I decided to teach other people how to use it to feel better about themselves. I came from a place of so much stress, insecurity and drama and life was just hard for me. Once I started to practice the mental aspect of yoga and truly bring it to my entire life, that’s when I knew I wanted to teach others to do it.
When you say niching down, I feel like yoga is for everyone. It can impact every single person in some way. The way I teach it best is incorporating science and research into it. A lot of people have trouble getting motivated to do yoga if they don’t understand how it’s going to help them. A lot of it is finding research studies and educating people on the benefits of mindfulness and how Vinyasa sun salutations and how it can improve all aspects of your physical fitness. It even helps with aging! I think incorporating a lot of education and guiding people to take it further with retreats and online courses.
Amanda: Running retreats is a big deal! How long had you been a yoga teacher before you made this leap? And how did you know when you were ready?
Dava: The retreat journey started about a year ago. I was in my first Yoga Teacher Training in Arizona. Being a traveling physical therapist I was never in one place for too long. For that assignment I was there for a year. I was able to work through the studio and train the students over the course of 3 months. Once I left and I did the next assignment I was starting from scratch all over again. I decided since I’m going to be traveling that I needed to start having a place where I can meet, take time off and still host the trainings and retreats.
It wasn’t an option — it was the only way I could still pursue my passion and still be able to reach and audience not just in one city. My traveling physical therapy forced me into it. I knew I wanted to still host and teach and I couldn't let it go. I had to find a way!
Amanda: You’ve run many retreats, hosted workshops, and filled your classes, let’s talk about how you got those butts on mats. How do you market the retreats yourself as a yoga teacher?
Dava: My retreat is broken up into modules. MedFlowYoga has all the information for my trainings. I started off with an online course — whenever you get certified as a yoga teacher you need 200 hours to register through Yoga Alliance. 20 of those 200 hours can be non-contact hours and in the trainings I had been to in the past there was no online portion. You would do the super intense training and then go home and do extra homework. At these beautiful destination retreats, you’d be doing yoga yoga yoga with no time to actually absorb.
I knew I wanted to offer baby steps for those who wanted to learn how to do yoga but didn’t want to dive into teacher training. So step one is an online course — it’s for anyone wanting to learn more. The next step is going to a Level One retreat which is my Yoga Foundations Retreat which is an 8 day training. It takes everything that we learned in the online course and we apply it together. We discuss the learnings and I get to explain a lot more about the anatomy of the muscles.
If they want to teach they can attend a 2-week level two training. It takes everything we learned before and we focus 120 hours on teaching methods. It brings it full circle and you have the option to build based upon what your goal is.
As far as marketing, I started reading every single thing I could online. I’m a big fan of podcasts — especially the Smart Passive Income podcast with Pat Flynn. He gave me the idea for the online course and integrating it into my training. It was over the years I have been listening to all this stuff and I’ve been manifesting it. A little at at time I began to challenge myself using manifestation more into my marketing. For marketing for this training I went everywhere from Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and a little Twitter, YouTube and Google (trying to rank SEO and GoogleAds). I feel like I’ve hit every aspect of marketing and tried to bring it together.
I also taught myself how to build a website which has saved a lot of money when it comes to updating content. If you do not have a lot of money at first to start this, I suggest learning everything yourself then hire help as your profit grows.
Amanda: What have you seen as the best use of your marketing time? Any avenue that’s become the biggest for sign-ups for your retreats?
Dava: Instagram. Because it gives you a chance to tell your story and connect with people. For the last year I've been doing the self-love challenge which has been great for my e-mail list. Through Instagram challenges, specifically the monthly PT meets Yoga challenge, were huge. After I hosted those challenges for a year, I launched the online course and once I got the sign-ups for the online course those people started singing up for the retreat. Literally baby steps — slowly getting people interested, showing them through a course what I can teach for has drown them into the bigger picture. Then offering this amazing experience where they can meet me outside the social media world.
Amanda: Where can we find you and how can students work with you?
Ready to take your yoga practice to the next level?
Join the incredible Dava in Costa Rica March 23-30 (only a few spots left) for Level One: Foundations yoga training! Ideal for aspiring yogis, yoga teachers and yoga teachers interested in continuing education! Don’t miss out!
Feeling inspired? I sure am! See you next time!