Access our COVID-19 Well-Being Toolkit and Resources

Signup for our Newsletter!

Sign up for our newsletter to receive the latest news and updates.

Let Your Light Shine Book Signing and Discussion

Nov 7, 6:00PM to 7:30PM

The Center for Black Excellence and Culture in partnership with the Center for Healthy Minds at University of Wisconsin-Madison will co-host the Madison book launch of Let Your Light Shine: How Mindfulness Can Empower Children and Rebuild Communities by Ali Smith, Atman Smith and Andrés González, founders of The Holistic Life Foundation in Baltimore, MD. The event will be held Monday, November 7, 2022 from 6-7:30 pm at Fountain of Life Church in Madison, WI.

In the book, Ali Smith, Atman Smith, and Andrés González describe how they have spent the past twenty years teaching yoga, meditation, and breathwork to thousands of at-risk kids in Baltimore schools, helping them to develop deep reserves of patience, empathy, resolve, and—when needed—the righteous anger that fuels deep structural change.This story details their work helping traumatized kids in one of America’s most underserved cities [Baltimore] and reveals how mindfulness tools can help children and communities not only survive but thrive. The book also shares hands-on mindfulness and meditation tools readers can teach kids that will empower them to do this same work in their own communities.

Event details:

When: Monday, November 7, 2022
Time: 6-7:30 pm
Where: Fountain of Life Church 633 W Badger Rd Madison, WI 53713 (In person only, not live-streamed)
Cost: Free to attend, registration required

Click here to register


About the book:

From three men who walk the path of peace comes a book sharing the incredible story of personal transformation. Ali Smith, Atman Smith, and Andrés González, the co-founders of the Holistic Life Foundation, share how yoga and meditation transformed their lives and in turn, empowered thousands of historically underserved kids in Baltimore to do the same. For twenty years, these remarkable men have shared mindfulness, yoga, and wellness practices in public school systems and beyond, breathing life back into a community destroyed by drugs, poverty and systemic racism. Let Your Light Shine will inspire you to unlock your own light and give you the tools to rebuild communities everywhere. Reclaim your power, find your peace and remember the unshakeable truth: that love can heal any heart, even your own. Learn more at

About the authors:

Andrés González is a Puerto-Rican American teacher, author and musician. He has taught yoga and meditation to diverse populations worldwide for twenty years and is a Co-Founder of the Holistic Life Foundation, founded in 2001. Andrés is a certified Health Coach through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and maintains a B.S. in Marketing and MBA from the University of Maryland. His teaching and music center around the liberation of marginalized individuals and communities through personal empowerment, healing, and love. Let Your Light Shine is his first book.

Ali Smith is a teacher and author, born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. Ali’s life-long study of yoga, meditation, and mindfulness has served as the impetus for his pioneering work bringing trauma-informed yoga and mindfulness to underserved youth–and influencing education curriculum worldwide. He is the longtime Executive Director of the Holistic Life Foundation, a non-profit organization he co-founded in 2001 that brings yoga and mindfulness to schools and is the Co-Owner of The Involution Group, founded in 2019. Let Your Light Shine is his second book.

Atman Smith is a teacher and author, born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. A lifelong student of yoga and meditation, his teaching focuses on empowering marginalized communities through yoga and meditation, transforming the minds and hearts of individuals who face racism, poverty, drugs, and oppression. For fifteen years, Atman has served as Director of Programming and Development for the Holistic Life Foundation, a non-profit organization he co-founded in 2001 that brings yoga and mindfulness to schools. He is also the Co-Owner of The Involution Group, founded in 2019. His life work centers around reclaiming black masculinity as a path of peace, justice, freedom, and joy. Let Your Light Shine is his first book.

About the moderators:

Rev. Dr. Alexander Gee is a lifelong Madison resident, Founder and CEO of the Nehemiah Center of Urban Leadership, creator of the Justified Anger Black History for a New Day course, pastor of Fountain of Life Church, and host of the award-winning podcast Black Like Me. For over 30 years, Dr. Gee has harnessed the power of social entrepreneurism and community-building to advance Black-designed solutions for empowerment and inclusion. The Center for Black Excellence and Culture is a culmination of listening to the Black community and fulfilling his life's work of challenging structures that impede diversity and advance Black excellence and prosperity through cultural celebrations, leadership development, and Black history education.

Dr. Richard Davidson is the William James and Vilas Research Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry and Founder & Director of the Center for Healthy Minds, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Founder and Chief Visionary for Healthy Minds Innovations, Inc. Davidson received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in Psychology in 1976. Davidson’s research is broadly focused on the neural bases of emotion and emotional style and methods to promote human flourishing including meditation and related contemplative practices. He has published over 573 articles, numerous chapters and reviews and edited 14 books. He is the author (with Sharon Begley) of "The Emotional Life of Your Brain" published in 2012 and co-author with Daniel Goleman of “Altered Traits” published in 2017. He was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time Magazine in 2006. He was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2017 and appointed to the Governing Board of UNESCO’s Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP) in 2018. In 2014, Davidson founded the non-profit, Healthy Minds Innovations, which translates science into tools to cultivate and measure well-being.

About the Center for Black Excellence and Culture:

The Center for Black Excellence and Culture (The Center) will answer the decades-long absence of cultural space to celebrate and advance Wisconsin's Black community. Led, designed, and inspired by hundreds within the Black community, The Center will be a cultural destination that showcases Black excellence through Black art, history, community gathering, leadership development, and business innovation. While located in the heart of South Madison, The Center will attract and support Black people from across the entire state. This dynamic facility will strengthen Black social and cultural connection, forging a significant step forward in the struggle for equity. To learn more, please visit

About the Center for Healthy Minds:

The Center for Healthy Minds (CHM) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is a global leader in conducting rigorous scientific research. CHM aims to cultivate well-being and relieve suffering through a scientific understanding of the mind, with a vision of a kinder, wiser, more compassionate world. To learn more, please visit