OUR VISION AND MISSION

The Black Yoga Teachers Alliance, Inc. (BYTA) is a collective of yoga teachers who share a love of health, wellness and peaceful living. BYTA fulfills an unmet need in the yoga world to increase the diversity of those who teach and practice yoga in the U.S. BYTA and its members have increased the accessibility of yoga in communities that have traditionally had limited or no access to the practice. We create new ways to close the gap and serve this unmet need.

Our mission supports the educational and professional development of black yoga teachers and offers scholarships for quality trainings, opportunities to teach and access to a growing network of teachers and practitioners in the U.S. and beyond. BYTA seeks to forge partnerships and build community with individuals and organizations aligned with our mission

OUR HISTORY

The Black Yoga Teachers Alliance (BYTA) was founded in 2009 by yoga teachers Maya Breuer and Jana Long, as a social media group to provide a space for teachers, students, practitioners, healers, and enthusiasts to discuss yoga and wellness, to share information about classes, workshops, events and activities, and most importantly, to build a network and get to know one another. BYTA was established as a tax-exempt nonprofit in 2016.

BYTA LEADERSHIP

Black Yoga Teachers Alliance Board of Directors is comprised of dedicated volunteers who serve to support our mission, clarify our vision and implement organizational goals through effective governance and management.

Executive Director

Jana Long is a transformational leader, manager and former media professional who has practiced yoga over 45 years and witnessed the emergence of yoga into the mainstream. She serves is the Chief Executive Officer and is the co-founder of BYTA.

Treasurer

Candace J. Mickens has 15-years’ experience as a Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer working exclusively with nonprofits. Candace is certified yoga teacher and licensed massage therapist specializing in Thai Massage. She is the owner of Sacred Touch Bodywork, LLC.

Secretary

Charlene Muhammad, E-RYT500, C-IAYT is a traditional healing practitioner who embraces a life-long spirit of natural living. A graduate of Cornell University, Charlene holds a Master of Science degree in Herbal Medicine from Maryland University of Integrative Health and is a licensed dietitian.  

Vice President, At Large

Marilyn Peppers-Citizen has been a wellness professional since 1992, dedicated to helping individuals achieve their individual wellness goals. As a certified yoga therapist and holistic health and wellness coach, mentor, motivate, educate, and support individuals in achieving health and wellness through lifestyle, nutrition, fitness, and bio-individuality.

President

Gail Parker, Ph.D., C-IAYT, E-RYT 500, is a psychologist and a certified yoga therapist. She is a faculty member in the Beaumont School of Yoga Therapy in the department of Integrative Medicine at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak Michigan, where she teaches mind/body strategies for reducing stress and healing emotional trauma to aspiring yoga therapists.

Vice President, Communications

Lorenzo Wilkins brings his creative mind and artistic skills to develop visual communication solutions for his clients. He has worked with a wide range of clientele during his 40+ years as a designer, and has assisted them in taking their business communication visions to more effective levels.

Black Yoga Teachers Alliance Advisory Council

Black Yoga Teachers Alliance Board of Directors is comprised of dedicated volunteers who serve to support our mission, clarify our vision and implement organizational goals through effective governance and management.

Dr. Terry Harris, his wife, Ericka, Alonzo Nelson and Melinda Alexandria are the founders of The Collective/STL, a group of yogis and educators in St. Louis, whose aim it is to make yoga, mindfulness, and self-care accessible. He was the guiding force to bring Yoga As A Peace Practice in St. Louis (YPP STL) in 2019.

Krishna Kaur is founder of Yoga for Youth, a nonprofit dedicated to training yoga teachers to work with at-risk youth and creating yoga programs in schools and juvenile facilities dedicated to serving young people in trouble with the U.S. criminal justice system. She was a co-founder and President of the International Association of Black Yoga Teachers from 1999-2009.

Yasmeen Long, M.A., is a public health and research professional with over a decade of experience in academic research, health policy, patient and stakeholder engagement, philanthropy, global health, and strategic direction.  Her career in public health has primarily focused on improving health outcomes, eliminating disparities, promoting health equity, and improving quality of life for underrepresented and vulnerable communities particularly for women of color. 

Jerome Paige, Ph.D., has over 30 years of experience in leadership and management in higher education, the public sector, and non-profit organizations.
Dana Smith is a certified yoga teacher and trainer, Master Life Coach and Holistic Health Practitioner. She specializes in Thai Yoga Massage, Reiki and is a gifted Intuitive Counselor. Dana is the owner of Spiritual Essence Yoga in Maryland and has trained nearly 200 yoga teachers since 2008.

A History Buried Through Time But Not Lost

“The Uncommon Yogi: A History of Blacks and Yoga in the U.S,” is a documentary short that traces the historical roots of yoga practice in black communities in the U.S. and highlights some of the yoga teachers who have emerged from the early 1920s into the 21st century. Archival and current photos, and a voiceover narrative reveal a largely unknown part African-American history. 

BYTA thanks our Sponsors and Partners

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