WalkGood LA Is Healing Our Communities through Meditation, Movement & Men’s Wellness

“I want people to be able to feel the energy that we’ve been curating for the last three and a half years so that people can ‘walk good’ in their own lives,” says Etienne Maurice. 

In the midst of personal trauma and societal upheaval, the Maurice family, rooted in Jamaican heritage, has ignited a movement of resilience and healing through the nonprofit organization known as WalkGood LA. Their dedication to fostering community wellness has brought light to the darkest of times, centering the conversation around mental health and activism.

What began during the pandemic following the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and Breonna Taylor quickly evolved into a call to action.

WalkGood LA founders. Image: courtesy WalkGood LA.
WalkGood LA founders. Image: courtesy WalkGood LA.

“We should run. We should be active,” Etienne recalls as he witnessed people taking to the streets in protest. Joined by his sister Ivy Coco Maurice and cousin Marley Rae Ralph, the family embarked on a journey to promote wellness through movement and mindfulness.

Offering donation-based yoga sessions, weekly 5K runs, bi-monthly hikes and Breathe Good classes led by Etienne’s sister, a meditation advocate, their creative wellness studio brings hope.

WalkGood yoga class. Image: courtesy WalkGood LA.
WalkGood yoga class. Image: courtesy WalkGood LA.

On any given day, Coco and Etienne’s mother—actress Sheryl Lee Ralph—drop by the WalkGood yard. Influential people like Ben Crump, the Bob Marley: One Love cast, local LA rappers and more attend to engage in yoga. 

In the 1960s, Rosa Parks took up a yoga practice to cope. As culture changes and mental health becomes more of a topic, Etienne recognizes, “We have to be able to build these new systems. Now that we have the knowledge and vocabulary, we have the resources to offer to the next generation.”

Initially gaining attention from celebrities like Michael B. Jordan, WalkGood LA partnered with brands like Propel Water and ON running. A collaboration led to the creation of a sustainable shoe line with ON, “Forward Ever, Backward Never,” inspired by the 1980s West Indies riots.

WalkGood, a Jamaican euphemism passed down by their grandmother, symbolizes safe travels, good fortune and “take care.”

Etienne reflects on his mental health journey. “I think about the traumas that I’ve experienced in my own life, from being shot twice in my leg and having gone to the psych ward being placed on a 5150; WalkGood was the grace that I felt like I needed,” he says.

WalkGood’s holistic wellness extends into mental health support with the Zen Den, offering one-on-one therapy sessions, massage therapy sessions and book clubs. Their new program, “You Good,” is a monthly men’s healing circle where they journal, participate in sound baths and practice yoga.

Honoring the lives of those lost to racial injustice and those who have passed, Etienne says, “We breathe for those who are no longer able to do so and who are no longer with us. Let’s focus on your breath. Let’s start there. You might as well learn how to use it while you’re here.”

Updated: May 1, 2024 — 12:01 pm