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Courtenay S. Brown, E-RYT 500, YACEP®

Founder & Owner

A former avid runner (turned avid cyclist), Courtenay took her first yoga class in 2007, after getting hurt training for her first marathon, when a physical therapist recommended it as a great way to cross-train. “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.” That sense of gratitude continued to prevail and 13 marathons later, she discovered that yoga was the perfect way to cross-train for life. She completed her 200-hour certification in 2014 and her 300-hour certification in 2019, both under the guidance of her Guru Dana A. Smith at Spiritual Essence Yoga. 

Courtenay is a Reiki Master,  Vibrational Sound Therapy Certified Practitioner, Certified Mental Health First Aid Provider, and Purpose Coach. 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. 

A 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.

Courtenay Brown

Our Teachers

Theresa Speed, RYT

Senior Architect

Theresa started her yoga journey in 2015 when it was offered through the wellness program at her job. Her love for yoga grew so much that she developed a desire to teach. She completed her 200-hour teacher certification in July 2018 at Embrace Yoga DC. She wants her students to view yoga as more than a workout but a practice that can be used everyday.

Tonya Lewis, RYT


Tonya’s yoga journey began over 10 years ago. At the time she was heavily into sports and sought yoga as a compliment to her workouts. She began to practice at various studios, but didn't feel connected to the practice right away and assumed yoga was not for her. Tonya completed her 200-hour teaching certification in 2018 at Spiritual Essence Yoga. Her mission is to share her love of yoga and sports to help others experience the best health possible. 

Caprice Nathaniel, RYT


Caprice began her yoga journey in 2004 while taking a class in her local gym. Although she was immediately drawn to the “flow”, she became conflicted due to her Christian faith. In 2018 she combined her love of teaching children and yoga by becoming a certified children’s yoga instructor through Kidding Around Yoga (KAY). She also discovered Gospel Yoga Flow® (GYF) at Shabach Yoga and became a certified GYF instructor in 2019. She completed her 200-hour training  at Shabach Yoga in 2020. Caprice believes true wellness can only be achieved through healing of our physical, mental and spiritual body.

Rachel Johnson, RYT


Rachel began her yoga journey in 2018, seeking relief of body aches and to increase flexibility after medical treatments. Over the course of time, she has discovered that yoga as a lifestyles offers so much more for the mind, the body and the spirit. In order to deepen her practice and share her love of yoga with others she received certification as a Gospel Yoga Flow® instructor in 2019 and completed her 200-hour Yoga Teacher training at Shabach Yoga in 2020.

Alycia Smith, RYT

RYT - 500

Alycia started her yoga practice over 10 years ago with the intention of trying something new physically. Over the years, she went in and out of practicing not realizing how beneficial it was for her mind. After finding Shabach, she became more intentional about her practice. Her love for yoga was refreshed, geared toward a new purpose. It has become a space to abide and communicate with God. Alycia completed her 200-hour yoga certification training at Shabach in March 2021.

Talaya S. Simpson, RYT


Talaya began her yoga journey in 2019, when seeking God for peace and healing in what seemed to be unconventional means. Every time she came to the mat, God met her on those four corners and she never turned back. The grace, peace, and healing love she encountered with every movement and breath were undeniable. For Talaya, yoga became a journey of inner healing and peace, and an expression of the fullness of God's love.

Talaya completed her Yoga Teacher Training at Shabach Yoga in March 2021. 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 a certified Reiki 1 practitioner and Reiki 2 apprentice. She loves tennis and cycling. She is an avid poet and writer, actress, and the proud mother of two amazing young adults. 

Stacey Lewis, RYT


Stacey’s yoga journey started in 2019 at Shabach Yoga Studio during a time of intense grief and loss - including the deaths of her parents in back to back years, close relatives, and family friends. She found solace both on and off the mat through equanimity of body, breath, mind, and spirit setting her on the path to physical and emotional healing. Stacey completed her 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training in March 2021 under the guidance of her teacher and mentor Courtenay Smith-Brown. Known as the ‘peaceful’ yogi, Stacey is Reiki II attuned and increasing her knowledge in sound and energy healing modalities. She is a student at the Integrative Institute for Nutrition and founder of Legacy House of Love Inc., a 501c3 established to build up the community and create safe spaces for healing through education and wellness. Stacey enjoys spending time with family and friends, including her husband and 3 children, singing karaoke, reading, bike riding, and taking pictures in nature. 

Trenace Richardson, RYT


Dr. Trenace Nikki Richardson

Trenace took a yoga classes here and there in the past, but in 2018 she found Shabach Yoga through a Google search and her life has not been the same. As a Christian minister, international speaker, and vocalist, Trenace had been led to believe that yoga and all things associated with it were not of God. By simply daring to experience yoga for herself, Trenace had a God encounter that has brought her faithfully back to her mat ever since.

In March 2021, Trenace  completed her 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training under the direction of her Guru, Courtenay S. Brown, at Shabach Yoga. In her spare time, Trenace enjoys nature walks, biking, running, hiking, singing, reading, and spending time with her husband and two children.

Nanette Evans, RYT


Nanette found yoga over 10+ years ago when she was looking for a way to balance in her vigorous workout regimen. 

In 2017, she decided to join Shabach Yoga Studio after experiencing several tragic events and began practicing on a regular basis. While in this space, she found inner peace with body, mind, and spirit. She has a deep passion for yoga and wants to share her experiences, and use her gifts to help others through holistic wellness.

Nanette is Reiki II attuned and completed her 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training in March 2021. She enjoys yoga, meditating, walking, boating, reading, dancing, and spending time with family. She has a loving son and three grandsons.

Linda Pray, RYT


Linda began her yoga journey in October 2017 when she began practicing at home with an app on her tablet. She quickly fell in love but felt like she needed some hands-on assistance with proper form. She found Shabach Yoga the following month and quickly became a monthly member. She feels that in addition to increasing flexibility and strength, she has gained mental calmness as well. Her goal is to live the yogic lifestyle off the mat as well as on the mat.

She received her Gospel Yoga Flow® certification in July 2019 and completed her 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training at Shabach in March 2021. She wants her students to know that yoga is for everyone, no matter what your age is or what shape you might be in.