Bekah Holbrook, President
Bekah Holbrook started practicing yoga about ten years ago, first through home practice and then at a local studio. Today Bekah is a registered yoga teacher with 500 hours of training through YogaWorks and she teaches at Yoga Source, in Richmond. She also teaches private and group classes for brides-to-be through Ceremony Yoga.
For Bekah, Yoga provides a set of tools that help her stay healthy and balanced, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. The personal discoveries and connectedness she has experienced through the practice of yoga asana, pranayama, and meditation have had a powerful impact on her life on and off the mat.
Bekah works for United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg as their Director of Community Impact: Education. She has ten years of experience in the nonprofit sector, with a focus on youth development, nonprofit management, and quality improvement systems. She mentors a young woman, now 14, and loves cooking, playing music, being outside with her dog, and spending time with family.
Project Yoga Richmond sits right in the middle of a Venn diagram of things Bekah loves: practicing yoga and helping people improve their lives! Bekah serves as PYR’s Board Chair.
Dana Walters, Vice President/Co-Founder
Recognizing that the benefits of Yoga help people of all abilities and noting that the Richmond Yoga community is at once vibrant, compassionate, and service-oriented, Dana Walters, a Richmonder since 1976, was honored to work with the other co-founders in 2010 to create Project Yoga Richmond. Within PYR she has held the roles of Volunteer, Ambassador, Co-Director, Outreach Coordinator, and two-term Board President. A Yoga teacher since 2008, Dana is honored to serve PYR through Board leadership. Her primary objective is to continue to develop and support PYR’s sustainability and stability.
Dana began exploring Yoga in 1994 and continues to treasure the practice and study of Yoga as a path to healing, awareness, strength, grounding, and faith. Yoga has helped her recover from many personal challenges, including a severe head injury sustained in an ice skating accident in 2007. In addition Dana has found the heart-centered practices of Yoga incredibly supportive in healing from grief and loss. Her practice provides the passion, motivation, and enthusiasm to continue the work for which Project Yoga Richmond has become known.
Dana also works with private students and leads modules for 200 and 300 hour teacher trainings on trauma-aware Yoga practices and Yoga as service. She is a national Leadership Trainer for Y12SR, The Yoga of 12 Step Recovery, which prepares counselors, Yoga teachers, and others working in the field of human service throughout the US to apply 12 Step recovery and Yoga principles and practices together to support sustainable, holistic addiction recovery.
Dana was recognized locally for her work with PYR in 2012 as one of Style Weekly’s “Top 40 Under 40” agents of positive change in Richmond! She has also been featured nationally in Origin Magazine and Yoga Journal, as well as on The Huffington Post.
Nitika Achalam, Staff Liaison
Nitika’s yoga roots run deep as her mother planted the Hatha seed when she was just a small girl. A life long love of all things yoga has been blooming ever since! Nitika has been teaching Integral Hatha Yoga and meditation for over 15 years as well as Yoga for Athletes, Prenatal Yoga, and Yoga for Arthritis. Her commitment to service shines through continued work with the Integral Yoga Teacher Academy and mentorship to aspiring yoga teachers. Nitika serves Project Yoga Richmond due to a belief that the science and benefits of yoga should unintimidating and accessible to everyone. Nitika studied Anthropology at Virginia Commonwealth University and has experience in Human Resources as both Recruiter and Generalist. She has nonprofit experience serving on the board of River City Rollergirls. Nitika offers efficiency through her Professional Organizing firm, Spruci Organizing and teaches private and small group Hatha with True Grit Yoga.
Bryan Hooten has been as student of Yoga since 2012. He formerly taught Vinyasa at Ashtanga Yoga Richmond and now teaches at the Collegiate School and privately. Bryan joined the board of Project Yoga Richmond at the request of his good friend and former PYR president, Jillian Jones. Bryan’s service on the board gives him the opportunity to share the practice of Yoga with the greater Richmond community. Bryan teaches Band and Yoga at Collegiate School, teaches private music and Yoga lessons, performs with No BS! Brass, composes, and performs internationally in many various musical settings, and serves as Membership Director for the International Trombone Association.
Bryan Shelly has had a regular yoga practice since 2005 and currently practices 3-4 times per week. He serves on PYR’s board because it is the best expression of both community and yoga’s guiding principles that he has encountered. When not serving with PYR, Bryan is the President of Advanced Education Measurement, which seeks to provide the benefits of cutting-edge research to the education community. Learn more at aemkids.com.
Anj McClain was introduced to Ashtanga yoga as a college sophomore in Chattanooga, TN and welcomed the meditative benefits of daily practice. As a new resident of Richmond, VA, Anj sought out a meditation and yoga studio and was lucky to find Project Yoga Richmond. Anj has worked in nonprofit management for 10 years and has served on numerous boards and advisory committees, but none quite like PYR. Anj believes that if every Board of Directors started their meetings with five minutes of centering meditation the world would be a better place.
Anj is the Director of Operations for Catapult, Inc., an association management firm based in Richmond. She has a wide range of experience in the nonprofit sector including community development, sustainability, and low income housing. Anj is currently pursuing a master’s degree at the University of Richmond.
Amanda is an enthusiastic yoga student. Among the many benefits of yoga, she is most grateful for the sense of calm she finds through her regular practice.
Amanda serves on the PYR board because she believes in the transformative power of yoga and that all people should have access to it.
Amanda has over 15 years of experience in fundraising and non-profit management. She is a certified fund raising executive (CFRE) and currently serves as Chief Advancement Officer for St. Andrew’s School in Oregon Hill. She earned her undergraduate degree from Bryn Mawr College and she has a Master of Arts in Educational Administration from University of the Pacific.
She is a Massachusetts native and founder of a small youth development organization. Just four years ago Amanda relocated to Richmond with her husband Adam and amazing dog Bogart. In addition to yoga, she loves running, cycling and playing golf.