BYTA CONFERENCE

COMMUNITY • SUPPORT • EXCELLENCE

The BYTA 2021 Conference is dedicated to honoring family. Without family there is no community. The family circle is precious. It seeds our beginnings, nurtures our growth, and determines our fate. Family connection tells us who we are and where we come from. Whether it is the family you were born into or the one you create, family is the single most important influence that shapes our lives. Workshops, discussions, and rituals will explore how yoga can support diverse expressions of family. We invite you to join us to connect, nurture and grow together. We are family!

We are happy to continue our partnership with Kripalu Center to host this virtual conference.

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WELCOME!

PRESENTERS

Dr. Gail Parker

President

Gail Parker, Ph.D. CIAYT, E-RYT 500 is an author, psychologist, educator, and certified yoga therapist. She serves as President of the BYTA Board of Directors. She is the author of Restorative Yoga for Ethnic and Race-Based Stress and Trauma, and Transforming Ethnic and Race-Based Traumatic Stress With Yoga.

Friday, August 20, 2021
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Jana Long

Executive Director

Jana Long, CIAYT, E-RYT 500, is Executive Director and co-founder of the Black Yoga Teachers Alliance, Inc. She is the owner of Power of One Yoga, a community-based wellness center in Baltimore, MD. Her primary work focuses on the therapeutic application of yoga to encourage and empower people 55 and older to embrace age-appropriate wellness practices. She is a certified yoga therapist, master gardener and Ayurvedic lifestyle advocate.

Friday, August 20, 2021
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Gina Paige

Keynote Speaker

In 2003, Dr. Gina Paige co-founded African Ancestry, Inc. (AfricanAncestry.com) and in doing so, pioneered a new way of tracing African lineages using genetics, and a new marketplace for people of African descent looking to more accurately and reliably trace their roots. Paige travels the world helping people demystify their roots and inform on identities so that they may better understand who they are by knowing where they’re from.

Paige has worked with and revealed the roots of the worlds’ leading icons and entities including Oprah Winfrey, John Legend, Chadwick Boseman, Spike Lee, Condoleezza Rice and The King Family. Paige has served as speaker, presenter and/or partner to McDonalds, Capital One, The Walt Disney Company, Booz Allen Hamilton, Wells Fargo, The Wall Street Health Forum, New York Times Travel Show, United Healthcare and dozens of community organizations and faith-based entities. She’s often a go-to resource for African Diaspora communities including the Embassies of Cameroon, Nigeria and Ghana; The Year of Return 2019 event From Jamestown to Jamestown with the NAACP; Back2Africa Festival in Cape Coast and various African tourism authorities and leaders.

Saturday, August 21, 2021
1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Maria Broom

Maria Broom is nationally recognized as an actress for her recurring roles in HBO’s The Wire and The Corner. She is also a storyteller and dancer with more than 40 years of performing and teaching experience around the globe, and author of The Village Bully, which will be presented at the conference.

Saturday, August 21, 2021
11:15 am – 11:30 am

Michelle Coleman

My mother introduced me to yoga and dance in my early childhood, and as a result, body awareness and the joyfulness it brings has always been a part of my self-care regimen. As a 500-hour RYT who is committed to creating POC-centered and queer-affirming space, my intention is to guide practitioners into their bodies, restore energy, reduce stress, and increase strength and flexibility.

In 2019 I founded and organized the first Dr. Feel Good Yoga Play Day — an all-day POC-led, POC-centered and queer affirming yoga expo in Boston’s predominantly Black neighborhood of Roxbury, MA. There is a paucity of yoga studios in Boston’s neighborhoods of color, and a paucity of yoga classes in these areas that welcome the queer community. Dr. Feel Good addresses the need for yoga spaces that welcome and celebrate members of Boston’s POC queer community and their allies.  

Saturday, August 21, 2021
3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Sherri Doucette

Sherri Doucette, a native of Los Angeles, CA and a long-time resident of Dallas, TX, founded Litehouse Wellness a non-profit purposed to strengthen the African American family & community by bridging the wellness accessibility gap using contemplative practices, plant-based nutrition, preventative health education.

Sherri recognizes that implementing these restorative practices is key to sustainable resistance against oppressive systems and institutions and healing from the resulting ongoing trauma.

Sherri is a yoga and meditation teacher (200Hr RYT / 300Hr MTT), plant-based transitioning coach and doula. 

Saturday, August 21, 2021
11:30 am – 12:30 pm

Robin Downes

A 1981 Emmy Award winning journalist “Outstanding Individual Achievement in National News and Documentary” “ABC News 20/20”. Since 1996, Robin Downes is Hollywood’s certified Hatha Yoga instructor to the stars with clients such as Vanessa Williams, Brandy, John Salley, LisaRaye McCoy and Russell Simmons, to name a few. In 2004, she became the first African American woman to have an internationally distributed video through Wal-Mart “Yoga Flava for Relaxation, Vol.1”.  2005 Awarded The “Trailblazer In Yoga” by the International Association of Black Yoga Teachers. Currently, in Post Production on her documentary “Yoga Flava: The Silva Lining” about  saving her 87 year old father, SGM William Downes, USA, RET with Yoga.   robin@yogaflava.com  |  YogaFlava.com

Saturday, August 21, 2021
2:30 pm – 3:00 pm | 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Cleora Francis-O’Connor

Cleora Francis-O’Connor, RYT-500, has 21 years of practicing yoga and 19 years of yoga teaching experience. After experiencing a traumatic loss of a loved one, she sought healing and a renewed balance and found it through the practice of yoga. Cleora is a nonviolence activist/advocate and incorporates this in her yoga classes and workshops with a focus on healing the soul after loss/trauma. She teaches Hatha Yoga at Touch Massage & Yoga RI and other community sites. Outside of her yogic life she is an IT specialist and a board member at Nonviolence Institute of Rhode Island.

Saturday, August 21, 2021
3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Ericka and Terry Harris

St. Louis native, Ericka Harris, 200 RYT, began practicing yoga in 2007 and completed Yoga Teacher Training in 2015. Ericka views yoga as a lifestyle that brings people back to themselves. Oftentimes, the external world can be unsettling, so during the practice of yoga, Ericka places deep emphasis on paying attention to the breath, and it is through this paid attention that awareness is brought to one’s own deep fears, hopes, and joys. It is Ericka’s personal mission to help others take their inner awareness with them into everyday life, in order to help them bring love and brightness to those around them. 

Dr. Terry Harris has been practicing yoga for since 2015. A 200 hour registered yoga instructor, Dr. Harris teaches community based yoga classes as well as school based classes. Dr. Harris connects Black history and Storytelling in all of his classes as a reminder of the strength, courage and wisdom of the contributions of Black people worldwide. In addition to the yoga modality, Dr. Harris incorporates Restorative Justice/Circles to create healing spaces.

Dr. Harris loves to present and share information, having presented workshops for Yoga Alliance, Accessible Yoga Conference, Black Yoga Teacher Alliance and St. Louis Yoga Week to name a few.

Saturday, August 21, 2021
10:00 am – 11:00 am

Wardah Hartley

Wardah Hartley is a 200hr vinyasa yoga teacher based in Johannesburg, South Africa. She is also a fitness professional working as not only a yoga teacher but also a group training instructor and personal trainer. She started her own wellness company, Fabufit Yoga and Movement in 2014. In her ten years in the wellness industry, she has both witnessed and experienced marginalisation and prejudice.

Wardah is the co-founder of ‘Yoga in Colour’. The organisation was born out of a need for inclusive representation, diversity and community healing. Since their inception in 2020, they have launched the YIC Scholarship Programme and helped thirteen yogis gain formal qualifications as yoga teachers.

Sunday, August 22, 2021
10:30 am – 12:00 pm

Paula Hines

Paula has practised and studied yoga for twenty years, teaching hatha, restorative yoga, yin yoga and yoga nidra over the past decade in London, UK.

Her own experience of yoga as a tool for transformation and to aid recovery from injury, trauma and stress led her to train as a teacher after fourteen years of working in the TV industry and fuels her desire to share the life-enhancing benefits of yoga with others.

Paula is also a writer with script-writing credits for the BBC and has written for OM Yoga Magazine since 2012. 

Sunday, August 22, 2021
10:30 am – 12:00 pm

Phyllis Jeffers-Coly

Phyllis Jeffers-Coly, (CYT-300-Hour) is the Co-founder and Co-owner of Diasporic Soul, which she established with her husband, Eddy Coly, in 2016, in order to offer healing-centered heritage travel and leadership development experiences for Black people. Diasporic Soul integrates both culture (SOUL) and contemplative practices, including restorative yoga, rituals and beholding Senegal’s dynamic and vibrant culture. By healing we mean putting the energy, heart and courage back into our bodies with our own culture (SOUL) so that we can continue to transform and dismantle the institutions and relationships that have been causing us harm, injury, misery and trauma. She is the author of the forthcoming book We Got Soul; We Can Heal: Overcoming Racial Trauma Through Leadership, Community and Resilience and co-author of “They Are Coming to Get Something:”A Qualitative Study of African American Male Community College Students’  Education Abroad Experience in Senegal, West Africa.”

Phyllis is a proud North Carolina native and graduate of North Carolina Central University. Her deep passion for students, particularly first gens, is due to her extensive experience in higher ed that includes serving as a full-time community college faculty member and Dean of Enrollment Management at a small public HBCU.

Sunday, August 22, 2021
10:30 am – 12:00 pm

Tamara Jeffries

A focus on health and wellness through yoga runs through Tamara’s career as a health writer, editor and teacher. She is currently Senior Editor at Yoga Journal. She has been an editor for Essence, Health, and HealthQuest magazines, and as a journalism professor at Bennett College. At Bennett, she also teaches the first for-credit yoga class at a historically Black college.

She completed yoga teacher training in 2013, and meditation teacher training under the Open Heart Project in 2020. She has served as editor of the BYTA blog, and as an advisor for Yoga Alliance Standards Review Project.

Saturday, August 21, 2021
3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Jhelisa

Internationally acclaimed artist Jhelisa Anderson was born in Jackson, Mississippi, and began her career in 1990 in London with the UK band Soul Family Sensation. In 1994, after developing into an accomplished solo artist singing, writing, and producing under her first name Jhelisa, she released her first album “Galactica Rush” on Dorado Records, followed two years later by “Language Electric”, both highly critically acclaimed. BYTA will feature music from her latest release, Emancipation, an exploration of sound, absorbing frequencies and musical vibrations for movement and meditation.

Saturday, August 21, 2021
11:00 am – 11:15 am

Leslie Salmon Jones

Founder of Afro Flow Yoga®

Afro Flow Yoga® founder, Leslie Salmon Jones enjoys a career working with clients, students, diverse populations, youth and community organizations to help develop mastery over their physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-beings. Leslie has been cultivating her passion as a professional dancer, yoga instructor, wellness coach, public speaker and community activist. She completed her BA in interdisciplinary studies in health sciences and dance at SUNY, NYC and has had the opportunity to study and train with world-renowned Master of Dance, yoga and spirituality.

It was through her intensive dance training at the Alvin Ailey School in New York that Leslie was first introduced to yoga, and nearly twenty-five years later, she remains dedicated to her yoga practice and teaching. It was the connection with African spirituality, yogic principals, the intrinsic expression of movement through nature’s elements and a transformational journey throughout Africa and the Caribbean, that inspired Leslie to create Afro Flow Yoga® in 2008, along with her husband, Jeff Jones.

Jeff Jones

Founder of Afro Flow Yoga®

Afro Flow Yoga® cofounder Jeff Jones is a multi-instrumentalist, recording artist, musical director, composer, and cocreator with his wife, Leslie Salmon Jones. Jeff creates an intuitive dynamic flow through a stream of consciousness and the mastery of African-inspired rhythms, instruments, and vocals, synergizing the class collective. His use of the Djembe, which he brought back from Ghana, congas, bongos, Sudanese Acholi lyre, Indian bells, tambourine, and an eclectic array of tonal instruments makes for a healing musical journey.

Sunday, August 22, 2021
12:30 pm – 1:00 pm

Malaika Maitland

Malaika Maitland is a professional yoga therapist (1000hr), doula, artist and mama. In 2011 she co-founded Spice Harmony Yoga in Grenada alongside her parents, fellow yoga teachers. With over a decade of experience she was recognized as one of 20 Yoga Teachers of Color to Watch in 2020. Malaika holds a Bachelors in Studio Art from Smith College and a Masters in Cultural Studies from The University of the West Indies. Her photography, film and mixed-media art has been exhibited and published internationally. She is an official photographer for the Black Yoga Teachers Alliance Conferences. 

Sunday, August 22, 2021
10:30 am – 12:00 pm

Krishna Kaur

Krishna Kaur, a dynamic, heart centered Yoga teacher, began studying yoga in the 1970’s and has passionately taught the art and science of Kundalini Yoga for over 45 years. As spiritual activist, she brings a wealth of knowledge and experience from her teachings in Africa, Mexico, China, Europe, and Latin America. She opened the first yoga studio in South Central LA, founded Y.O.G.A. for Youth, the first yoga program dedicated to bringing self-help tools to incarcerated and “at risk” youth. Krishna loves singing mantras, and her 3rd album debuts in April. Krishna’s workshops are always fun, invigorating and very uplifting.

Sunday, August 22, 2021
10:00 am – 10:30 am

Jacqueline Oselen

Jacqueline’s foundation as a holistic health practitioner is grounded in the wisdom and intelligence of the body to heal itself. She believes that alignment of spirit, mind and body is essential for the “whole” person to experience a vibrant quality of life. She began her personal yoga journey in 2006 when she drifted into a morning class at the Mason YMCA in Memphis, TN. Her twice weekly practice put her on an evolutionary path of self-discovery beyond what she would have ever imagined and led to the student becoming a certified teacher in 2011. Since that time, she has impacted hundreds of lives with her nurturing gift as a teacher, wellness coach and health advocate. Her passion is offering the art of restorative yoga as a gentle, therapeutic tool for stress relief, relaxation, individual and community healing. She is especially energized by gathering Black women for sharing circles that cultivate self-care and authentic connection as a sacred ritual for emotional and mental wellbeing.

Saturday, August 21, 2021
3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

[ Hear Our Voices ]

CONFERENCE PANELS

We are one, but not the same.

Yoga in the Modern Family

This panel discussion focuses on the ways yoga supports various expressions of family.
Saturday, August 21, 2021 | 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Michelle Coleman
Queer Family

Robin Downes
Extended Family

Cleora Francis-O’Connor
Grieving Family

Jacqueline Oselen
Christian Family

Tamara Jeffries
Moderator, Householder

YOGA IN THE GLOBAL FAMILY

Panelists will explore how yoga is expressed in various cultural contexts.
Sunday, August 22, 2021 | 10:30 am – 12:00 pm

Phyllis Jeffers-Coly
Senegal, West Africa

Wardah Hartley
Johannesburg, South Africa

Paula Hines
London, England

Malaika Maitland
Grenada, Caribbean

Gail Parker
Moderator, United States

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BYTA 2021 CONFERENCE

COME CELEBRATE WITH US!