Birthday Yoga Festival
Join us in celebrating the first home of humanity, the womb, during an intentional festival of healing. Make space for dialogue, yoga, meditation, dancing, cupcakes, laughter, and brunch as we celebrate and center black joy in wellness. Everyone is welcome as the space is inclusive of all people, genders, and bodies. Get ready to celebrate and experience a very happy Birthday Yoga Festival!
Support the Birthday Yoga Festival by making a donation today.
She/They | Co-Creator | Birthday Yoga Festival
Sheba is the impetus behind the Birthday Yoga Festival. September 7th is her birthday and she loves to celebrate in communities of joy and laughter. When it’s not her birthday, Sheba cultivates love and healing as a public speaker, anti-racist organizer, and certified yoga teacher. At YOGAMOTIF, she can be found leading Delicious Wombalicious yoga workshops designed to energize the reproductive space.
She/Her | Co-Creator | Birthday Yoga Festival
Alecia is the owner and operator of YOGAMOTIF. Her first love, however, was creating art, and her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Alfred University is evidence of that. While there, she also received a New York state teaching certification in studio arts. After teaching in community non-profit and public education for five years, Alecia obtained a Master of Arts Management from the H. John Heinz III College at Carnegie Mellon University. She went on to manage and consult nonprofit operations for start-up and established businesses in Pittsburgh and around the country. After gaining an appreciation for self-healing and mindful living, she pursued a 200-hour, anti-racism, yoga teacher certification through Yoga Roots on Location; equipping her to create spaces of trauma-informed healing and self-love through yoga.
Alecia can be found facilitating trauma-informed yoga at YOGAMOTIF and in the Pittsburgh area.
Felicia Savage Friedman
She/Her | Yoga Guide | Yoga Paint Party
For over 28 years, Felicia has continued to joyfully practice Raja Yoga, which encompasses all aspects of her life: behavioral restraints, behavioral observances, movement, breathing techniques, sensory withdrawal, concentration, meditation, and self-realization through an intimate reflective practice. Felicia continues to teach “Felicia Fusion” through YogaRoots On Location, LLC, which includes: power yoga, gentle yoga, restorative yoga, rhythm and movement dance routines, Young Living essential oils exploration, Reiki-Japanese relaxation techniques, nutritional support, self-awareness and self-care strategies.
YogaRoots on Location, LLC ® offers antiracist professional development, integrative group and individual yoga classes, and certified Raja Yoga teacher trainings across the country, headquartered in the city of Pittsburgh. Owned and operated by Felicia, she provides yoga-based techniques for people to manage the trauma and stress of their daily lives.
Sheila Ramgopal, MD, MA, FACOG
They/Them/Theirs | Panelist | Healing our relationship with the womb
Sheila Ramgopal is a board certified Obstetrician and Gynecologist who has been in Pittsburgh since medical school. They graduated from the University of Pennsylvania for their undergraduate degree and then completed a Masters at Columbia University before medical school. They graduated from the University of Pittsburgh Medical School and then completed their OB/GYN residency at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center at Magee-Women's Hospital. They have been in private and academic practice, and now work full time at Allegheny Reproductive Health Center. Sheila practices the full spectrum of reproductive health care. They believe truly beneficial care can only happen if patients have bodily autonomy, and they provide open and honest communication that helps patients make healthcare decisions that are right for them.
Yoga Guide | Grace and Gratitude: Closing Mediation
Heather has been practicing yoga for nearly a decade is a graduate of Yoga Roots on Location 200-hour teacher training. Her passion for both personal and collective healing has brought her back to the mat over and over again. Though it was not until her recent studies within an anti racist & trauma informed framework. That she was able to join her deep commitment to social change with yoga's spiritual foundations. Heather is a Capricorn sun with a Taurus ascendant and Scorpio moon.
Panelist | Healing our relationship with the womb
Aya Eliza-Christie has worked in reproductive healthcare and the reproductive justice movement for the past 20 years. She got her first degree in Social Work and Latin American Studies from the University of Pittsburgh. From 1999 through 2006 she was a counselor in abortion care at Women's Health Services and Planned Parenthood and a community organizer for national and local Reproductive Justice organizations including Choice USA and New Voices Pittsburgh. She trained to be a community-based doula and worked with the Birth Circle from 2007 through 2011. During her time at the Birth Circle, she focused on care for Spanish-speaking families and building community and resource networks for immigrant and refugee families. She went to nursing school at the University of Pittsburgh and then become a Labor and Delivery nurse in the WomanCare Birth Center at Magee in 2013. She also worked as a birth care nurse at The Midwife Center in 2014 and as a clinic nurse providing abortion care at Allegheny Reproductive Health Center in 2017. She graduated from Frontier Nursing University with her MSN in early 2017 and started a midwifery fellowship at The Midwife Center in autumn 2017. She now works as a staff midwife and provides gynecologic, contraceptive, prenatal, postpartum and birthing care, attending births out of hospital at the birth center as well as in hospital when needed. Her goals as a care provider are to foster community-based care and increase leadership and decision-making from within communities of color, break down barriers to abortion care, increase access to care for LGBTQ folks and families, and promote trauma-informed care.
Dr. Kya Conner N’Dong
She/Her | Dance Instructor | West African Dance
Dr. Kya Conner N'Dong is an internationally recognized West African dancer and choreographer. Current lead dancer and choreographer for Kuumba West African Drummers and Dancers of Tampa. She is a professor of Mental Health Law and Policy where she studies the impact of the arts on mental health outcomes, and she is an adjunct professor of dance at the University of South Florida, the University of Tampa and the University of Florida.
Dance Instructor | Children’s West African Dance
Chrisala Brown is a Dancer, Teacher, Choreographer and lover of African Diasporic culture.
She has studied both Traditional and Contemporary forms of dance from around the world.
From Modern to Ballet, West African to Caribbean, dance has become the universal language which she uses to bring people together regardless of their age or background.
Her passion for dance, has been shared with many companies and schools in Pittsburgh and across the country.
Ms. Brown is currently a research facilitator at the University of Pittsburgh Department of Psychology in the Brain Aging and Cognitive Health Lab's REACT! Study.
Yoga Guide | Make it Reign Meditation
Medina Jackson, MSW, is the Director of Engagement for The P.R.I.D.E. Program (Positive Racial Identity Development in Early Education), an initiative out of the University of Pittsburgh’s Office of Child Development within the School of Education who’s mission is to help young Black children ages 3-8 understand race and embrace their heritage. With P.R.I.D.E., Medina oversees community and arts engagement strategies including the popular PRIDE Pop Up Mini Art Festivals and facilitates parent workshops through their P.R.I.D.E Parent Village. She is an advocate of culturally relevant and socially practical educational models and approaches that effectively engage youth, families, and communities and has worked on a variety of projects in that vein. Medina (artistically known as “I Medina”) is also a spoken word and Hip Hop artist, blogger, mama, community educator, creative space maker, yogi and 2017 Pittsburgh 40 Under 40 honoree. She is a proud advisory board member of the Heinz Endowments Transformative Arts Process and The Pittsburgh Foundation’s Social Justice Fund. Originally from South Berkeley, CA, Medina moved to Pittsburgh in 2001 to obtain her Master’s Degree in Social Work (Community Organization and Social Administration concentration) from the University of Pittsburgh and has been committed to this city ever since. You can find her on Facebook (Medina Jackson) and more information about The P.R.I.D.E. Program at racepride.pitt.edu.
9:00a - 9:30a | Make it Reign Meditation | $5
How do we rule our bodies? Let’s make it reign love, healing, and joy as we embrace a day of wellness and accountability for our sacred spaces. A session meant to invite slowness into our day, we’ll use this time to set intentions, affirm our ability to heal, and prepare our bodies for gentleness, ease, and restoration.
9:45A - 10:30A | Twerk Shop Buss ah Wine | $10
Prepare to twerk, laugh, wiggle, and relax in the company of body positive wellness. All bodies, ages, and genders are encouraged to move and release into lower chakra healing.
Teachers: Sheba Gittens and Alecia Dawn
10:45a - 11:45a | Delicious Wombalicious Yoga | $15
Delicious Wombalicious (good vibes for the womb and reproductive space) provides a healing space for the energy and muscles surrounding the womb. A gentle yoga practice, participants activate and engage the muscles around the hips, pelvis and lower back and make a restorative space to heal. Prepare to twerk, laugh, wiggle, and relax in the company of body positive wellness.
Teachers: Sheba Gittens and Alecia Dawn
12:00p - 12:30p | Take Several Seats - Chair Yoga | $10
This class gives love to the pelvic floor and bringing awareness to our tender and tired spaces. We invite you to take a seat. Slow down. Pause. Do less. And experience a powerful practice rooted in power and ease.
Teacher: Jackie Walker
12:45 - 2:15p Panel Discussion: Healing our relationship with the womb | No Cost
How can we cultivate a healing space in our wombs? Hear from reproductive justice advocates and professionals as they discuss pregnancy, birth, infertility, hysterectomies and all themes womb-related during this deep dive into womb health.
Moderator: Bekezela Mguni | Panelists: Sheila Ramgopal, Aya Eliza-Christie, and Sheba Gittens
2:30 - 3:30p | Dub Yoga | $15
Soak in this tropical paradise and join us as we go where Power Yoga and Dub meet as one.
Teacher: Leigh Garbo
3:45 - 5:15p | West African Dance | $15
Join international African dancer and choreographer, Kya N’Dong for an invigorating exploration of traditional Senegalese dance.
Teacher: Kya N’ Dong
5:30 - 7:00p | Yoga Paint Party: Move that shit through | $35
What is a Yoga Paint Party?
This session invites you to use your body as a paintbrush to create a mess-free painting on your yoga mat. (Don't worry, you won’t get dirty) Think advanced finger-painting, without the mess and the stress. Sessions include one hour of gentle yoga, materials, and your original painting to take home.
Teacher: Felicia Savage Freidman
7:00 - 7:45p | Grace & Gratitude: Closing Meditation | No cost
Teacher: Heather Manning
Childcare information coming soon.