The NovaPrana Board of Directors
Each of us in NovaPrana has our own unique story and our own relationship with meditation, and therefore our own reasons for starting this organization. What we all share, however, is our dedication to the NovaPrana mission to support meditation and mindfulness programs and opportunities in Northern Virginia, the people, companies, and organizations in our community that share in our dedication to sustainability, kindness and compassion, and the bonds between us that form our community. These are our stories, they can be yours as well!
Nicolette Lapalme, Founder
I was raised in an extremely secular family that stressed the importance of monetary success above all else. It wasn’t until I discovered meditation after entering college that I realized the importance of self-acceptance and spirituality. Meditation was the first outlet that truly granted me a sense of internal peace and calm. Therefore, my goal for NovaPrana is to spread this alternative stress-relief technique to as many people as possible, in the hopes that it leads to a more elevated, empowered, and enriched world.
Bethann Brennan, LMT, CYT
Bethann Brennan, co-owner of Brennan Institute for Mind-Body Healing, has been a Licensed Massage Therapist for 13 years. She is certified through the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, and is a graduate of the Potomac Massage Training Institute in Washington DC (2004). Bethann is also a certified Reiki practitioner (2006), has completed training in cranial sacral therapy through the Upledger Institute (2010), and completed specialized trainings for prenatal massage and prenatal yoga, reflexology, hot stone massage, aromatherapy, and lymphatic drainage. Additionally, Bethann is a certified Yoga Teacher through the Kripalu Center in Lenox, MA, and has been teaching yoga since August 1999. Bethann began studying yoga in 1996. Bethann holds a Bachelors of Arts degree in English from Boston College (1995), and has also completed graduate level coursework in education at Boston College. Sessions are client centered and focus on relaxation of the whole body, physically and energetically, to find more space and peace.
Paul Fitzgerald, MS, Phd, founder
I was born and raised in Saint Louis, Missouri, and have been hopping between coasts ever since. A biologist and paleontologist by training, I have been teaching at the college level for most of my adult life. I began my meditation practice in the late 1980's as a way to examine and improve my responses to the everyday stress and difficulty of modern teenage life. Since then, I have discovered that it serves as so much more than that, and it is a way for me to find and maintain peace and calmness in my everyday life. I am also a certified Usui Reiki Master / Teacher (Potomac Massage Training Institute, 2018), and my goal for NovaPrana is to inspire and facilitate a meditation practice for everyone who is looking for another way - a way that is free. I am currently enrolled in the Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Certification Program through The Awareness Training Institute and the Greater Good Science Center
Novaprana board of advisors
Gia, a Northern Virginia native, is a massage therapist and certified yoga teacher and is currently studying to become a nurse. She has been doing yoga and meditation since 2008 and truly believes that anybody can benefit from these practices, and that it's never too late to start. Gia has trained extensively with meditation and yoga teachers of many disciplines and also enjoys doing and teaching breathing exercises. Gia is enthusiastic about sharing meditation with the community and has led retreats and worked as a traveling yoga teacher all over the world and across America. In her free time, Gia enjoys spending time with her son and playing her ukulele.
COLLEEN O'LEARY, founder
I was introduced to meditation around the age of 19. I used to think the world was unfair and was constantly trapped in a victim mentality. Meditation has empowered me by teaching me to take ownership of my own thoughts, and adopt a more positive attitude. I see the inherent neutrality in all my life’s events, and that it is my ego which defines them as good or bad. My goal for NovaPrana is to teach others to be more aware of how their thoughts create their reality, and to encourage others to see the glass half full.