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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 S. Brown, E-RYT 500, YACEP®

Founder & Owner

Courtenay Brown

Our Teachers

Theresa Speed, RYT 500 

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 certification in 2018 at Embrace Yoga DC and her 300-hour certification at Spiritual Essence Yoga in 2022. She wants her students to view yoga as more than a workout but a practice that can be used everyday.

Tonya Lewis, RYT 200

Tonya’s yoga journey began over 15 years ago. At the time she was heavily into sports and sought yoga as a complement 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. Until she found a yoga home at Spiritual Essence Yoga and quickly got hooked and earned her 200-hour certification there in 2018. Tonya is currently pursuing her 300-hour teaching certification. Her mission is to share her love of yoga and sports to help others experience the best health possible. Her new mantra is YOGA 4 LIFE!!!

Caprice Nathaniel, RYT 200

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.

Paris, CYT 200

Paris is a rehab specialist/patient representative at Sport & Spine Rehab. A graduate of the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore, she holds a BS in Exercise Science. Paris completed her 200-hour yoga teaching certification at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in 2016. Paris' empathetic nature allows her to easily connect with others and to provide comfort and support to students on the mat.

Nanette Evans, RYT 200

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 200

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. 

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. 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 practitioner.  She loves tennis and cycling. She is an avid poet and writer, actress, and the proud mother of two amazing young adults. 

Lauryn Rainey, RYT 200

Lauryn Rainey is a young creative with a background in physical fitness. She graduated from the illustrious Winston-Salem State University in May 2021, where she obtained her BS in Exercise Physiology. Her yoga journey began after suffering a knee injury while resistance training in 2020, and started practicing hatha yoga and mindfulness meditation as a mode of recovery and stress relief. Developing her daily yoga practice allowed her to be more gentle with her body, while her meditation practice helped her be more kind to her mind. In June of 2021 she obtained her 200-HR Meditation Teacher Certification, which allowed her to learn and teach 12 different styles of meditation. Teaching meditation is dear to Lauryn's heart. She understands that many people miss the life-changing benefits of meditation for fear of "not doing it right", and seeks to educate people more thoroughly on how to develop their daily practice. In August of 2022, Lauryn finished her 200-HR Yoga Teacher Training, fully prepared to make amazing connections with others through teaching the healing practices of yoga and meditation.

Alyson Hakim, RYT 200

Alyson’s yoga journey  included seasons of being “yoga curious,” which in past years seemed antithetical to her Christian faith walk. Dealing with illness, death and separation from family within a short window of time was a tipping point that led Alyson to explore yoga as a way to cope, connect with others and find community / common-unity in order to rebuild.  Alyson found inspiration in the name, Shabach Yoga Studio - specifically drawn to the “shabach” (to praise or address in a loud tone) meaning of the name. She began taking classes in 2019 and in 2022 she completed the 200-hr RYT certification at Shabach. Alyson finds purpose in centering compassion, self-compassion, empathy and love, and has a strong awareness of being connected to all sentient beings. Alyson stands firmly on the foundation that “we are each other’s harvest: we are each other’s business: we are each other’s magnitude and bond.” (G. Brooks, 1970) 

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