BYTA CONFERENCE 2024

August 22–25, 2024 | KRIPALU

OUR PRESENTERS

FREE BENJAMIN

When I am asked “how long have you been singing?”, my response is “I don’t remember not singing.” In addition to singing, I composed my first songs on the piano at a young age. It wasn’t until I acquired my first guitar in 2004 that I discovered my voice as a singer/songwriter, and a love affair began that grows stronger each day. Creating music is “Medicine for My Soul.” My artistic goal is sharing messages that “LOVE Heals”. 

Presentation: “Vibrational Soul Music”, Affirming LOVE through Sound FREEquency and PowerFull lyrics

ROBIN BLACKWELL

Robin Blackwell is a yoga student and teacher, and a sound practitioner and mindfulness coach. She is committed to creating welcoming spaces that center joy and foster community, regardless of the setting. She is a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT-500), a Y12SR Peer Specialist, a Certified Laughing Yoga Instructor and a Certified Grief Yoga teacher and she offers classes and workshops in Charlotte, North Carolina and surrounding areas.  

Presentation: Slow Flow to Deep Stretch

CHARLES L. CARTER, EdD

Dr. Charles L. Carter, an associate professor at Morgan State University, specializes in dance education, choreography, and yoga. He founded the Baltimore/Chicago Contemporary Dance Theater (BAL/CHI) and introduces and teaches traditional asanas to students, to promote “Acts of Kindness in the Black Community, and he enjoys teaching “Yoga for Healthy Aging.” Dr. Carter infuses his classes with Bebop, Doo Wop, and Hip-Hop music for added enjoyment and flow.

Presentation: The Block Party

SHERRI DOUCETTE

Sherri Doucette, featured on ABC’s Daybreak at 8, BET, Good Morning Texas and NBC, is the founder of Litehouse Wellness, a Texas-based 501c3 non-profit purposed to strengthen the African American family by bridging the wellness accessibility gap using contemplative practices, birth work, preventative health education and advocacy.

Presentation: Community Care: Decolonizing Our Mental Health

LACRETIA 'CRE' DYE, PhD

Dr. Lacretia ‘Cre’ Dye, an Associate Professor, Mental Health Therapist, and Registered Yoga Teacher and Trainer, integrates counseling, neuroscience, and trauma-informed body-based healing methods. With 20+ years of experience, she focuses on heart, mind, and body wellness locally, nationally, and internationally. Dr. Dye publishes and conducts workshops on diversity, equity, inclusion, conscious menstruation/menopause, yoga, drumming, and trauma release activities in therapy/recovery. 

Presentation: Soul Rise Flo Rise

PAMELA EGGLESTON

Pamela Stokes Eggleston, MBA, MS, C-IAYT, E-RYT-500, is the Founder of Yoga2Sleep, Co-Founder of Retreat to Spirit, and Faculty at the Maryland University of Integrative Health. A wellness consultant, advisor, yoga therapist, and national speaker, Pamela is a contributing editor of Best Practices for Yoga with Veterans and Yoga and Resilience: Empowering Practices for Survivors of Sexual Trauma.

Presentation: Host, Poetry Slam/Open Mic Night

GEMINI JOHNSON

Gemini Johnson, LCSW, BC-TMH, RYT-500, C-IAYT, is a dedicated clinical social worker specializing in holistic healing. With licenses in clinical social work spanning multiple states and a certification in Clinical Supervision, she guides aspiring clinicians. Recognized by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), she offers psychotherapeutic counseling to individuals of all ages, emphasizing a holistic approach integrating mind, body, and spirit. Gemini fosters transformation and holistic well-being through self-discovery, resilience, and empowerment.

Presentation: Panelist, Your Yoga Teacher is not Your Therapist

SATION KONCHELLA

Sation Konchellah is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and the founder of Grace Counseling and Wellness, bringing two decades of expertise to the mental wellness space. As a certified yoga instructor and Reiki practitioner, she emphasizes holistic wellness practices for inner peace and harmony. Committed to helping those in her care embrace their true potential and live authentically, she prioritizes well-being and self-love, while supporting them on their journey to fulfillment.

Presentation: Panelist, Your Yoga Teacher is not Your Therapist

JANA LONG

Jana Long, Executive Director and co-founder of the Black Yoga Teachers Alliance (BYTA), a 501c3 organization, that provides representation, continuing education, and professional development for Black yoga teachers. She directs Power of One Yoga, LLC, in Baltimore, MD, offering therapeutic yoga and community support to older adults, promoting self-care practices for improved health and wellness. Jana has facilitated yoga gatherings worldwide and has practiced yoga for over 50 years.

Presentation: Conference host and emcee

CHARLENE MARIE MUHAMMAD

Charlene Marie Muhammad is a wellness practitioner, practicing yoga for over 30 years. Charlene holds a Master of Science Degree in Herbal Medicine from Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH) and is a licensed dietitian and certified yoga therapist. She and Marilyn are members of the Black Yoga Teachers Alliance Board of Directors. 

Presentation: Yoga in the Black Community: Healing Practices and Principles

KATRICE NELSON

Katrice, a Registered Yoga Instructor with a Clinical Nutrition degree, blends yoga and Thai Yoga Massage for holistic health. Certified in diverse wellness practices, she teaches yoga and meditation in libraries, schools, and corporate settings like CSPAN. Katrice coordinates events, offers teacher development, and spearheads DMV Black Yoga and Wellness Week through her nonprofit, Healthy Bodies Healthy Minds Yoga, promoting lifelong wellness habits. 

Presentation: Movement for Peace, Meditation, and Inspiration

JEROME PAIGE, PhD

Dr. Jerome Paige, known as The Meditativist, merges mindfulness practices with social action. Utilizing mindfulness, Yoga Nidra, and transcendental meditation, he fosters mental clarity and emotional calm, translating personal insights into societal contributions. As an economic, business, and organizational consultant, and a seasoned yoga practitioner and meditation instructor, Jerome shares his reflections and insights on his website https://whatsonjeromesmind.com/. He serves as Vice President on the BYTA Board of Directors, having volunteered since its inception in 2016.

Presentation: Spiritual Jazz Listening and Meditation Jam Session

GAIL PARKER, PhD
BYTA 2024 HONOREE

A psychologist, author, and certified yoga therapist, Dr. Gail Parker has been practicing yoga for 50 years and teaching it for 20. She is the author of the books Restorative Yoga for Ethnic and Race-Based Stress and Trauma and Transforming Ethnic and Race-Based Traumatic Stress with Yoga. She served as President of the Black Yoga Teachers Alliance Board of Directors from 2020-2024. 

Presentation: Panel moderator, Your Yoga Teacher is not Your Therapist

MARILYN PEPPERS-CITIZEN, PhD

Dr. Marilyn Peppers-Citizen is a certified yoga therapist, national board-certified health, and wellness coach, with over 35 years of leadership experience in military and business roles. As clinic faculty for the MUIH Master of Science in Yoga Therapy program, she integrates her expertise in holistic health and wellness, cultivated over 26 years of studying multiple yoga traditions. A retired Air Force Colonel, Marilyn holds a Ph.D. in public policy, along with master’s degrees in business and national resource strategy. In 2024, she assumed the role of President of the BYTA Board of Directors.

Presentation: Yoga in the Black Community: Healing Practices and Principles

JUNEOUS PETTIJOHN

Juneous A. Pettijohn, the AstroFlow Integration Alchemist and founder of AstroFlow Wellbeing, embodies the quote, “Great things in life are achieved with passion,” as he channels his passion for well-being and health to guide others in discovering their true passions. His mission is to empower individuals to create lives that align with their goals and dreams. 

Presentation: QiFlow Harmony Fusion 

MIRIAM PHIELDS, PhD

Dr. Miriam Phields, co-founder of Center of the Heart, advocates for conscious wellness through yoga therapy. Certified as a yoga therapist (C-IAYT) and registered yoga teacher (RYT-500), she specializes in accessible yoga for those 40 and older. With a PhD in Counseling Psychology from the University of Maryland and 30+ years in HIV prevention, Miriam integrates her expertise to promote holistic well-being.

Presentation: Panelist, Your Yoga Teacher is not Your Therapist

TAMISHA J. PONDER, PhD

Dr. Tamisha J. Ponder is the founder/CEO of Sankofa Health & Wellness in Laurel, MD, fostering equity and restoration through integrative health. With decades of community organizing and over a decade in higher education and holistic health, she champions access and cultural competency. As a yoga and meditation teacher, Doula, and Reiki Master, she trains others at Sankofa Yoga School to spread this work in their communities. 

Presentation: When I Move, You Move: Community-Based Wellness Interventions

DANA A. SMITH

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.

Presentation: Reclaiming Peace: Practices for Energy Balance

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT TRAVELING TO KRIPALU

REGISTRATION Kripalu includes your meals and access to open activities at Kripalu and the beautiful grounds. Click here.

ACCOMMODATIONS — Kripalu offers a range of choices to accommodate your budget. Your choice of accommodations INCLUDES the conference registration. Click here.

TRANSPORTATION — There are several options to get to and from Kripalu. Please carefully read the transport options if you travel by plane, train, or bus. Additional travel costs range from $50–$160 depending on your choice. Ample parking is available for those traveling by automobile. Click here.

RESERVE YOUR SPACE

Join the movement towards empowerment, community, and celebration at the Black Yoga Teachers Alliance 2024 Conference! Reserve your spot today to deepen your practice, network with fellow yogis, and embrace equity in yoga.

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