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Meet Us

Get to Know Us

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Katrice Nelson, MEd., RYT

Coordinator,
DMV Black Yoga and Wellness Week

Seeking to help others thrive by nurturing body, mind, and spirit through yoga and massage is Katrice's  ultimate goal. As a registered yoga teacher, Katrice has used her degree in Clinical Nutrition and  certifications in wellness and Thai Foot Reflexology/ Massage to provide a holistic approach to health and wellness for adults and children. Katrice's holistic training includes Thai Massage and Reflexology, Reiki, Yoga for Adults and Children, Yoga for Athletes, and Yoga for Injury Prevention & Recovery. Teaching  yoga and meditation at libraries, residential gyms, schools, and corporate offices, including CSPAN, Washington DC has been fulfilling,   Katrice is a certified member of Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals and has completed certifications and training from Breathe for Change Yoga and Wellness, YogaFit, and Spiritual Essence Yoga  Wellness Center. Katrice is the founder/president of Healthy Bodies Healthy Minds Yoga, Inc. - a nonprofit yoga and wellness organization for children and families.

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Leah Franklin, M.B.A., RYT

Assistant Coordinator, DMV Black Yoga and Wellness Week

Leah is an action-oriented, solution based professional with over 10 years of experience in the ability to grasp new concepts efficiently, and accurately excel in all undertakings.  

Using her project management skills and event production experience, Leah has been able to successfully build relationships across a variety of industries. This has been demonstrated through her leadership skills and work experience. Leah has a bachelor's degree in Communication Studies and a Master's in Business Administration (MBA). 


Leah is the Founder & CEO of Truth Love Courage, LLC; a virtual yoga studio that teaches Truth, Love, and Courage to others through yoga and community engagement in the comfort of their own homes.

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Jerome Paige

Guest Instructor- Spiritual Jazz & Meditation- Wellness Retreat

Jerome S. Paige views meditation as a doorway to knowledge, comprehension, and action. He equips individuals with meditation frameworks and resources, enabling them to access a state of inner tranquility that strengthens their ability to promote health, healing, and well-being for themselves, others, and their communities.


Since 2000, Jerome has actively engaged in meditation practices. He attained Level 1 Yoga Nidra Teaching certification from the Integrative Restoration Institute(iRest®) in August 2007, followed by completing the iRest Level II Teacher Training in August  2008. Additionally, he participated in the training program “Yoga as a Peace Practice" offered by the Black Yoga Teachers Alliance in August 2018 and May 2019. Since 2017, Jerome has been an advisor to and board member of the Black Yoga Teachers Alliance (BYTA). Furthermore, he has been a dedicated practitioner of hot yoga since 2004. Jerome explores mind/body/spirit/shadow issues in his blog—What’s on Jerome’s Mind. Apart from his involvement in yoga, Jerome operates his own economic, business, and organizational consulting firm, Jerome S. Paige & Associates, LLC, located in Washington, DC.

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Dana A. Smith, E-RYT 500, CLC 

Guest Instructor- Restorative Yoga- Wellness Retreat

Dana A. Smith is the founder and owner of Spiritual Essence Yoga and creative visionary behind the international YES! Yoga Has Curves movement. She is a wife, mother, certified yoga teacher/trainer, coach and wellness practitioner. Since 2003, she has been a pioneer for inclusive yoga in the West. 


Dana teaches yoga as a tool for powerful life transformation. Even though she has trained over 500 yoga teachers since 2008, she considers herself a lifelong student. 

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Travis Spencer

Guest Instructor- Wellness Retreat- Men's Circle

Travis Spencer is a licensed mental health therapist and mindfulness teacher/facilitator. Over the years, He generously dedicated himself to serving Black and Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) through counseling, adults, teens, children, and families. Travis is a mental health coordinator for Inward Bound Mindfulness Education (IBme) retreats in Virginia and in California. Additionally, Travis established:
● The Institute of African American Mindfulness (IAAM).
● The Mindful Teen Circles (MTC) at Georgetown (MTC@GT), Mindful Teens of Color at Maya Angelou Academy at Youth Services Center(MTC@MAA@YSC), and the Mindful Teens of Color at Taratibu Youth Association (MTC@TYA).
Travis is a graduate of Trinity Washington University with a Master of Arts degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Travis fosters ongoing relationships and partnerships with Educare DC, Insight Meditation Community of Washington DC IMCW. He is an active member of the Early Childhood Innovation Network - MedStar Georgetown (ECIN).

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Stacee Johnson

Guest Instructor-  Private Sound Meditation- Wellness Retreat
Group Sound Meditation- Yoga Instructors Gathering

Stacee Johnson has been practicing yoga since 1999.

Through the Pranakriya School of Yoga Healing Arts, Stacee completed both her 500-hour certification and prenatal yoga training. She is the founder ofStaCentered Yoga, LLC, providing a gentle style of yoga centered on breathwork and relaxing sound
meditations. By incorporating Sound Meditation, with the use of quartz crystal singing bowls, Himalayan singing bowls, chimes and wind gong, Stacee provides a deeply relaxing experience that helps everyone StaCentered. She has completed a certification in Culinary Health and Healing from Maryland University of Integrative Health to begin offering whole food nutrition guidance. 

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Lisa Brown Alexander

Co Owner, Wellspring Manor & Spa
Wellness Panelist- Yoga Instructors Gathering

Lisa has demonstrated success as an entrepreneur and business leader. In 2011, Lisa was named one of Washington DC’s Top 25 Minority Business Leaders by the Washington Business Journal. In July of 2012, Washington SmartCEO Magazine recognized Lisa as a 2012 Brava! Award winner. The Brava! Awards celebrate the distinguished achievements of 25 of Greater Washington's women business leaders. In March of 2016, she was named to the list Power50 Women awarded by Walker’s Legacy.  She has served as President & CEO of a human resources management consulting firm since 2000 and prior to that served in a variety of executive level positions. She has also serves as Associate Producer of the Lake Arbor Jazz Festival since its inception in 2010 and serves on the Board of Directors of the DC Chamber of Commerce, the Prince Georges Cultural Arts Foundation and the Upper Marlboro Arts Council.

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Jana Long

Wellness Panelist- Yoga Instructors Gathering

Jana Long, the Executive Director and co-founder of the Black Yoga Teachers Alliance (BYTA), leads a remarkable nonprofit providing representation, continuing education, and professional development for Black yoga teachers. She also spearheads the Power of One Yoga Center in Baltimore, MD, a community-oriented space empowering "baby boomers" to embrace self-care practices for improved health and wellness as they age. Jana is an accomplished Ayurvedic lifestyle consultant, meditation facilitator, and State of Maryland certified Master Gardener, guiding others towards holistic well-being. With a rich background studying diverse yoga lineages and cultures across Africa, India, Central America, and the United States, her personal yoga journey spans over 50 years. A mentor to many, Jana's nurturing guidance and inclusive approach inspire transformation in the lives of countless individuals.

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Candace J. Mickens

Guest Instructor- Acu-Yoga/Meditation* Yoga Instructors Gathering

Candace J. Mickens is the owner of Sacred Touch Body Work. Her mission is to reconnect the body with the mind and spirit through enhancement of body awareness and various body modalities. She is a licensed massage therapist specializing in Thai massage & Acu-Pressure, a Registered Yoga Teacher and a Reiki Master.  Candace also has a non profit consulting business and combines her 30 years of experience in Finance and Operations with her love of bodywork by serving as the Board Treasurer for the Black Yoga Teachers Alliance. Her mantra is Touch is Sacred.

*Acu-yoga/meditation yoga combines my love of acupressure, reiki and massage with meditation, breath work and gentle asana. Come explore the points on your body that can be used to energize, ease anxiety, promote relaxation or support other common ailments such as headaches and indigestion.

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Sherrell Moore-Tucker, MS, E-RYT

Guest Instructor-Opening Prayer/Meditation- Wellness Retreat

Sherrell is a trauma-informed wellness educator who began practicing and teaching yoga in 2010.  When she received a diagnosis of osteoarthritis while serving in the Army her doctor recommended yoga and that recommendation transformed her life and opened the door to healing mind, body, and spirit. She is registered with the National Yoga Alliance, as an experienced registered yoga teacher (E-RYT-200), having taught over 1,000 hours of yoga. She has completed training and certifications for iRest® Level 1 teacher informed by the teachings of Dr. Richard Miller and iRest Institute, Restorative Yoga for Race-Based Traumatic Stress Injury informed by the teachings of Dr. Gail Parker, Christian & Biblical meditation informed by the teachings of Dr. K.D Weaver and the Sleeping with God Meditation Center, and she is on track to complete training for Yoga for Arthritis (YFA) Level I teacher in Fall 2022. 

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Melanie Stargell, MA,LCPC, RYT-200

Melanie Stargell, MA, LCPC, RYT-200 is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor in Maryland and the Owner of Anchored Counseling & Consulting, a mental health practice that specializes in and focuses on utilizing expressive arts to explore and process thoughts and feelings, reduce anxiety, and increase self-confidence. Melanie is also a Registered Yoga Teacher and an Usui Reiki Level II Practitioner. 


Melanie is a proud graduate of two Historically Black Colleges and Universities, obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Texas Southern University and a Masters Degree in Mental Health Counseling from Bowie State University. She currently serves as the Health Committee Chair for the DCHBCU Alumni Alliance and is also on the Board of Directors for the McClendon Center, a behavioral and mental health care organization in Washington, D.C. Outside of her professional pursuits, Melanie enjoys reading, yoga, traveling, cooking, and spending time with family and friends. 

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Free BenJamin

Guest Songtress, Yoga Instructors Gathering

Free benJamin is a dc based passionate singer/songwriter/artist. When asked how long she’s been singing her response is “I don’t remember not singing". Free’s infinite goal as an artist is to always create and share messages of LOVE because LOVE Heals.

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Adina Crawford (DeanietheYogini)
RYT- EYRT 500

Guest Instructor - Balance and Mobility for Runners & Athletes-  Wellness Retreat

Adina Crawford is a certified Yoga Teacher who teaches Gentle Yoga, Chair Yoga, Yin Yoga and meditation, and Mindfulness. She is also a certified Aqua Bootcamp Instructor. She is a mentor, motivator, advocate, and community influencer.


Her calling to teach yoga has been about diversity and community, understanding that each person is unique and at a different level, and growth. Diversity is the community together. Her specialty in yoga is Vinyasa, Sculpt, and Restorative. She has collaborated and taught at companies such as Lululemon, Athleta, Oiselle, and many other local and community events.

She is an Ambassador for Trek Bicycles, Black Girls Run, Terry Bikes, Honeystinger and Nuun, Emcee for Girls on the Run DC, and REI Co-op Partner.  She also serves on the Board of Directors for Black Girls Run Foundation.

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Talaya Simpson, RYT 200

Guest Instructor-Private Yoga- Wellness Retreat

Talaya S. Simpson, RYT©200
Talaya began her yoga journey in 2019, when seeking God for peace and healing in what seemed to be unconventional means. Yoga became a journey of inner healing, balance, peace, and an expression of God’s love. The grace, peace, and healing love she encountered with every movement and breath were undeniable.
She wanted to share that with others.


Talaya has been a Yoga Alliance® certified Registered International Yoga Teacher since 2021. She is also a certified Gospel Yoga Flow® instructor, founder of DeruTM Yoga and Wellness, and currently teaches at Shabach Yoga in Waldorf, MD. She sought her certification to be able to help guide others who desire to heal and to assist those who desire to experience God on and off the mat. When she felt the pull to become a yoga teacher, her immediate response was "I am available."
Talaya is also a certified Reiki 2 practitioner.

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Courtenay S. Brown, E-RYT 500, YACEP®

Guest Instructor - Gospel Yoga Flow® - Wellness Retreat

Founder and owner of Shabach Yoga Studio in Waldorf, MD, Courtenay took her first yoga class in 2007. “After my very first practice, the moment I got up from the mat, I felt overwhelmed by a deep sense of gratitude. I felt like I had an encounter with God.” 


She is the creator of Gospel Yoga Flow ®, a vinyasa flow, geared to creating a "worship experience" on the mat. Gospel Yoga Flow ® focuses on strengthening the spirit and the mind, as much as the body. 


Courtenay is a Reiki Master,  Vibrational Sound Therapy Certified Practitioner, Certified Mental Health First Aid Provider, and Purpose Coach. Courtenay is an international yoga retreat facilitator, who leads others towards wholeness in annual retreats to Costa Rica and North Africa.


A former book editor/publisher by profession, she holds BA and MA degrees in English. She is also a wife and proud mother of two daughters. She is a Diamond Life Member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. (Fort Washington Alumnae Chapter), and a member of the Black Yoga Teachers Alliance and the International Association of Reiki Professionals.

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Jalil Nelson, CPT

Guest Instructor- Private Personal Training-Wellness Retreat

Specializing in Marketing & Branding, Account Management & Product Development | Owner, Marketing & Social Media Coordinator at KLWFit.

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Sherry Steine, RYT 500

Guest Instructor- Sensory Harmony: Exploring Color Meditation, Visualization, and Aromatherapy- Wellness Retreat

Sherry Steine is a RYT-500 hour Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga Teacher, based in Maryland. She has studied Mindfulness Meditation, Chinese Medicine and Yoga, Yin Asana and Biomechanics, Trauma Informed/Sensitive Yoga, Yoga for Seniors, and Restorative Yoga. Sherry will be completing her certified aromatherapist training in Spring 2024. She combines mindful living through her teaching, writing, and movement practice.  She demonstrates compassionate, therapeutic and heartfelt teaching. She believes in creating space to let go, turn inward, and rest deeply in our own being. She believes that everyone comes to the yoga mat with everything they need to experience yoga fully and to progress on their own journey while meeting her students where they are and simply allowing. Sherry enjoys creating art dolls, watercolor paintings, traveling, and hosting her podcast series Aligned Expressions. Sherry serves on the Board of Directors for the nonprofit, A Healthier You, Inc.

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Rene' Hood

Guest Counselor- Wellness Retreat

René G. Hood is the CEO of Rooted To Rise (Private Practice), she is licensed in Washington, D.C., and Maryland. She is a graduate of Bowie State University where she attained a BA in psychology and a MA in mental health counseling. She has twenty plus years of counseling experience. She began within the penal system, raised 28 foster children using Reality Therapy, and now specializes in perinatal, postpartum, depression, alcohol/substance, and anxiety disorders within several communities such as, veterans, LBGTQ, females, couples, teens, and family. She also has a BA in Christian Studies and is a licensed minister. Therefore, she offers spiritual counseling as one of her modalities.

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Eboni Yayih

Author/Book Talk, Wellness Expo

In 2016 she became a certified yoga instructor in Nice, France with Beloved Studios (Reston, Va.), studying with internationally acclaimed instructors Maryam Ovissi and Jafar Alexander.

 Also in 2016, she launched her health and wellness website www.copticyogi.com where quarterly posts are featured and her handmade health products are made available. 


In the spring 2021, Eboni completed her 500 hr certification with Yoga Faith under the tutelage of Mary Ann Sander and Michelle Thielen author of Stretching Your Faith. Also, in 2021, Eboni launched her Youtube channel Eboni Yayih and opened her online school Coptic Yogi which offers 200 hr yoga certification and 100 hr meditation certification.


She has written Yoga in Ancient Egypt and Discovering Yoga For All Ages. (available on Amazon and KIndle) Her latest release Sharing the Gift of Yoga from an Eastern Perspective will be available soon, published by Friesen Press. 


Her passion for both history and culture has laid the ground work for her merging the cultures of East Africa with that of India offering a unique wellness experience. 

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LaDawn "Khetnu Nefer" Frasier, CHHP, LMT

Guest Instructor- Bounce and Beats Rebounder Class- Wellness Retreat

Khetnu Nefer is a Certified Holistic Health Practitioner, Educator, Massage Therapist, Herbalist, Certified Egyptian Yoga Instructor,  Certified Kukuwa African Dance Workout Instructor, Reiki Master, Certified Sound Therapy Practitioner, Author, African Dance Professor and the founder of the Gullah Geechee Herbal Gathering, a herbal conference for Black and Indigenous herbalists and community that takes place in Charleston, SC. She has over 18 years experience helping others integrate various holistic health modalities and protocols into their everyday lives via her mobile holistic health practice for women, A Soulful Touch Wellness, located in Washington, DC.

As a graduate of The American College of Health Care Sciences in Portland, Oregon, Khetnu believes that each of us have many choices in life to increase the quality of well being -- physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. She is dedicated to helping others and committed to making a difference in her client's lives.

Khetnu is a proud Gullah Geechee Goddess originally from John's Island, SC and is an  US Army veteran, Uterine Cancer Survivor, member of Kappa Epsilon Psi Military Sorority, Inc. and member of the Collective Health Initiative of Washington, DC.  She also performs West African Dance professionally with Ni Dembaya African Drum And Dance Ensemble out of Washington, DC. You can learn more about Khetnu and her works at www.asoulfultouch.com and the herbal conference at www.gullahgeecheeherbalgathering.com.

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Malachi Robinson

Wellness Panelist- Yoga Instructors Gathering

Malachi E. Robinson is a filmmaker, yoga instructor, reiki practitioner, Director of Creative Suitland Arts Center and the Founder & Creative Director of Point.Black Creative, an independent creative consultancy and media production firm based in the Washington, DC area. Malachi E. Robinson is a creative professional whose mission is to inspire a revolution through film, music, wellness and creative collaboration. Malachi is a native of Prince George's County, Maryland and earned a bachelor's degree in Entertainment Management with a concentration in Music Management from Coppin State University. He began studying African dance and music at age sixteen and it was through his intensive dance training at the Dance Institute of Washington that Malachi was first introduced to yoga in 2013. After only a few classes, Malachi immediately fell in love with yoga and through his journey he has found a renewed sense of peace, spirituality and purpose. Malachi has completed numerous trainings including a 200hr psychotherapeutic yoga certification, Energy Conscious Meditation training, and Reiki Level 2. In Malachi’s classes he loves to combine creative sequencing, a spirit of playfulness and a dose of inspiration to help you deepen your practice.

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Robert Turner

Speaker, Men's Session-Wellness Retreat

Robert Turner, Jr is the President of M

 Prior to joining MJM Innovations, Robert served as the Vice President / General Manager for Carey International’s Meetings and Events Services Division (M&E).  He started his professional career at Xerox, where he spent over 27 years in sales and operational leadership roles. Rob isalso a motivational speaker guilty of delivering “edutainment” to audiences across the country.  His high-energy keynote presentations focused on wellness, “social fitness,” and relationship building through “The Power of Engagement” are customized for each group to provide easy-to-remember takeaways that can be put into action both personally and professionally.


Robert earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Marketing from Howard University in 1989.  He has served as a mentor for students of the Business School at Howard University and is also a guest lecturer for the Marketing Department.  He has Executive Management Certifications at the Harvard Business School and completed executive programs at The Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro, North Carolina.

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Mars Bradley

Wellness Panelist- Yoga Instructors Gathering

Mars is a certified Reiki Master, Guided Meditation Instructor, cognitive behavioral therapist, and Yoga instructor. He has been practicing these therapeutic services for a number of years. Attending various retreats,  providing sessions, teaching and learning different techniques globally.


As someone who has benefited from therapeutic services such as Reiki and guided meditation he understands how powerful they can be to the healing process.


His mission here on Earth is to share the healing benefits of these services with people that may not be familiar with or have access to them.


His specialty is guided mindful meditation as a way to focus on healing trauma, as well as dealing with anxiety and stress, as well as Yin and restorative Yoga. Join him on this journey to healing and wellness. Meditatewithmars across all social media platforms.”

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Marsha D. Banks-Harold

Wellness Panelist- Yoga Instructors Gathering

Marsha D. Banks-Harold-owner of PIES Fitness Yoga Studio, Director of Holistic Yoga Therapy and Yoga Teacher training programs, certified yoga therapist, trams sensitive yoga facilitator, and an engineering executive leader, is a called intuitive healing trailblazer who empowers clients to compassionately lead while negotiating the intersectionality of trauma, wellness, body positivity, disabilities, and social justice.

Meet Us: Team Members
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