About Belinda

Belinda Thurston is a yogini, tai chi player, Buddhist, African-Japanese American, journalist, speaker, motivator.

A bit of her story

Belinda was born in 1968 in Washington, D.C., a mixed-race child of African and Asian descent and did not learn until the age of 50 that she is half Japanese, thanks to DNA testing. She comes from modest-to-little means, amidst the crack epidemic in D.C. in the 80s. She survived sexual molestation and rape from the age of 5 through 11. She is a suicide attempt survivor.

This does not define her, but it is the composition of some of the core threads of her being.

Her mother and grandmother instilled a strong civic duty and community awareness. She was also raised with a rich background education in the arts and spirituality (a flower child.) She was the principal oboist and English Horn player in the D.C. Youth Orchestra in the early 80s. She taught music and computer programming before entering college. She majored in computer science at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh before leaving that program and pursuing an English degree at the University of Pittsburgh. Journalism became a calling that led to a 23-year career specializing in multimedia, digital and investigative journalism. She has worked at small and large newspapers including the Dallas Morning News and USA Today. She gave presentations on digital journalism and storytelling.

Belinda is trained in trauma sensitive yoga, yoga for special needs, yoga for children and teens, yoga for bigger bodies, and yoga for addiction recovery. A bulk of her work is teaching yoga for survivors of sexual trauma, working with local nonprofits and government agencies.

Belinda conceived Just B Yoga & Tai Chi LLC, Michigan’s only full-time donation-based yoga program, in 2010 to help fill the need for affordable and inclusive yoga. The image of yoga as white and affluent needs to change. The experiment in conscious commerce has grown into change within Belinda herself.

Credentials and stuff (CV)


  • 2022, Consumers Energy PACE committee meditation and yoga 

  • 2022, Lansing Area AIDS Network, Yoga for Smoking Cessation

  • 2022, Self-Care Survival Skills, MSU African American and African Studies

  • 2021, Trauma healing racial bias in healthcare,  Michigan Nurses Association
  • 2021, Michigan State University, “Spiritual Trauma First Aid” for BIPOC students following an online racist assault
  • 2020, Capital Area District Library, Keynote: “Bite into an onion like an apple” – lessons from the Depression, Civil Rights movement and my grandma 
  • 2020, Panel host, Unite to Face Addiction, Recovery in a pandemic
  • 2020, Jackson National Life, “Survivalist Self-Care First Aid”
  • 2020, Michigan Tutor Association, Keynote speaker
  • 2019, Healthy Colorado, joint keynote speaker with Baratunde Thurston
  • 2014- 2017 CMH, Trauma yoga for youths with complex trauma
  • 2015, MSU Wise Women Rise Conference, Living Your Truth at Work
  • 2014, 9th Annual Michigan Homeless Summit, Workplace wellness and your health
  • 2013, 2014 Building Michigan Communities Conference, Wellness and self-care workshop

Program Creator/Coordinator

  • 2022, Happy Hour Recovery Yoga, yoga for trauma and addiction recovery
  • 2021, Teen and Youth Yoga summer program, Michigan Communities in Schools/Southside Community Coalition
  • 2021, Michigan Nurses Association, Two guided meditations for grief processing and sustained trauma
  • 2020, Communities in Schools, Summer Virtual Yoga Day Camp with Battle Creek students
  • 2020, Michigan Disability Rights Council, Mending Mondays host, facilitator, self-care tools for the BIPOC disabled community
  • 2013 – 2020, Trauma yoga, created trauma yoga program for Firecracker Foundation 
  • 2017, Women of Color workshop, Yoga for Generational and Racial Trauma
  • 2017, February-May, Trauma yoga, Lansing School District, created lesson planning for several groups of yoga instructors to teach at several middle and elementary schools 
  • 2016, Yoga Teacher Training certification program
  • 2016, Trauma Yoga Assistant training program
  • 2015, CEI CMH, Yoga Therapy program
  • 2014, Yoga, Lansing School District, Gier Elementary


  • 2022, CCAR, Peer Recovery Coach Certification
  • 2020-2022, Advanced Yoga for Trauma Recovery, Lisa Danylchuk, EdM, MFT, E-RYT
  • 2019, Restorative Justice Facilitator Training, sujatha baliga, Impact Justice
  • 2019, Mental Health First Aid/CPR, National Council for Behavioral Health First Aid 
  • 2019, First Aid/CPR/AED, American Red Cross 
  • 2017, Yoga for Trauma Recovery, Lisa Danylchuk, EdM, MFT, E-RYT
  • 2015, Yoga for Self-regulation and Trauma, Hala Khouri, M.A., E-RYT
  • 2013, Curvy Friendly Yoga certification, Curvy Yoga, Anna Guest Jelly
  • 2013, Y12SR Certification (Yoga for 12 Step Recovery and Trauma), Nikki Myers
  • 2012, Yoga for Children with Special Needs Certification, As You Are Yoga, Lansing, MI
  • 2012, Yoga for PTSD, Beryl Bender Birch, Yoga Service Conference, Omega Institute
  • 2012, Yoga for Underserved Populations, Yoga Service Conference
  • 2012, Yoga for Teens Certification, As You Are Yoga, Lansing, MI
  • 2011, Michigan Hometown Health Hero Award
  • 2008, Yoga teacher certification, Hilltop Yoga, 300 hours


Donate to Just B Yoga

Just B Yoga is a donation-based community yoga outreach. We practice “open source yoga” – giving freely and accepting what is given in return. We believe yoga should be affordable and accessible to all. Please consider supporting our mission.

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