Angela Manuel-Davis is not your typical SoulCycle instructor. Every week, her classes at the West Hollywood location in Los Angeles sell out within minutes, with a waiting list out the door. There’s a reason for this. People come to Davis’ class for more than a workout. She is a motivator who provides a safe space where men and women can be vulnerable and let go of their many burdens. We caught up with Angela to talk about fitness, spirituality, and her upcoming book.
As a young woman from the Bronx, I don’t know much about SoulCycle, but I do know a lot about burdens. Walking into Davis’ class, I expected to get a quick workout in. To my surprise, I left with spiritual relief and fulfillment. A sense of spiritual upliftment that one feels after, not just any SoulCycle class, but Davis’ in particular.
On this Friday morning, Davis spoke to everyone’s spirit, including mine, as she focused her affirmations in class specifically on burdens, letting go, and “finding recovery on the hill.”
What we do is we carry illegal burdens. Burdens that were never supposed to be ours to carry, so it’s almost like we steal these burdens.
Whether it’s a family drama, work stress, or issues with dating, we have all felt the physical weight of carrying burdens in our everyday lives. Everyone talks about letting go of these burdens, but not everyone can provide the space to do so. Davis has the platform and she’s fulfilling her purpose in changing people’s lives with her platform.
“For me, the room [soulcycle] is all about waring for people to break out of these mindsets that have them trapped in mediocrity and average, because they’re just not acting on what’s already been given.”
If you’ve ever had an opportunity to take one of Davis’ class, you know that the attendees in her class are far from average people. Beyonce, Kelly Rowland, Ciara all frequent Davis’ class. However, Davis’ encourages people to not get caught up with who is in the room, because the journey that she wants you to embark on is a very personal one that aims to promote growth and healing, regardless of your profession.
“We’re in Los Angeles, so there’s always a celebrity. That’s just what LA is. That could be for anybody’s class. I love what my room represents. Celebrity or not, there’s no respect over a person. The playing field is even.”
“We all have an assignment, and a calling on our life. And so, the room is really about evening the playing field and saying I see you, and the dream you have is valid. Everyone is in equality on the bike, riding the bike to close the gap between, where they are, and where they are intended to be. And it does not matter if you are known or unknown.
While Davis’ has had the pleasure of being acknowledged by some of our favorite celebrities, she attributes her success to God and walking in faith. For Davis, there was no “big break” per say. Her success came when she began to become in tune with her spirit and follow the path that God placed before her.
“There was a big change when I completely honored the call on my life. When I began to say the things, people wouldn’t think that you’d say in a spin room. It wasn’t like there was a break, but there was a shift because what became more important to me was obedience versus the outcome.”
“All of us have a calling. That calling is pulling you, and things changed for me when I began to heed to that pull. There is a confidence that comes in living a purpose-driven life.”
Sitting with Davis talking about God’s purpose in our lives, after a very emotional class helped me understand just why everyone in Los Angeles wants to take her class. Davis ability to speak to one’s spirit goes beyond her fitness and motivational career, it speaks to who she is as a woman.
In addition to her successful career as a fitness instructor and motivator, Davis is a wife and mother. On finding balance as women, Davis says that it’s important to “honor the season” in your life. We should not feel pressured to have every aspect working in our favor at once. It’s unhealthy to think so, and impossible to find balance.
I think the best way to find balance is to embrace what season it is and to put those seasons in their proper places in your life.
“You have to trust that if I’m being called here in this direction, then over here is being taken care of. If it’s a season for your career you honor that. If it’s a season for your family, you honor that. Because, I’m locked into the one that’s giving me vision. Transition is the best time for transformation.”
On health and fitness, Davis emphasized that it’s important to pay attention to the body and the skin, especially as women of color. Sunscreen is a much needed nécessité, and not talked about enough.
Davis revealed that she is currently battling melasma, a common skin problem that is known to cause patches on the face. She shared this news, while an attendee from her class, who works in the fashion industry handed her a designer sun hat as a gift.
“Right now, I’m fighting melasma, which I didn’t even know was a thing until in my 40’s. I have to be mindful of the sun and wear sunscreen, and I didn’t grow up that way. Now, I am diligent about sunscreen and protecting my skin from sun damage.”
“The body will tell you what it needs, we just don’t listen to the whispers. Pay attention to the whispers, because our body and skin are always communicating with us.”
Davis is writing a book this summer that will be available for purchase next year. If the book captures half of the energy that Davis delivers in person and in her SoulCycle class, it will change the lives of many women – just as the class changes the lives of every person who enters the room.
“I’m super excited about it. The book is going to be a guide to my messaging and who I am…to the belief system that I operate from and prove that it is accessible to everyone.”
From sold out SoulCycle classes to stadium tours with Oprah Winfrey, Davis is excited about her journey, and hopes her legacy shows that she honored her calling.
“I want people to say, she honored the call. She did the work. She wasn’t afraid to do the work. She fought for humanity. She fought for justice, righteousness, and integrity. She fought to see people live the life they were created to live and that it truly mattered to her, because it does. I know every time I walk into that room, it’s war.”
That’s why we can’t get too focused or caught up on who’s in the room, because at the end of the day we’re all human beings just trying to do our part, and everyone’s part looks different.