Faculty + Presenters
Our Yoga Teacher Trainings are led by Yoga Leaders from our dynamic teaching faculty. Experienced guests lead portions of our programs so that the students benefit from a wide variety of techniques, approaches, and skill sets.
Founder of the Kunga Yoga School
Kristin Cooper, ERYT500
The Founder of the Kunga Yoga 200/500hour Teacher Training School is Kristin Cooper, ERYT500. Kristin teaches advanced modules and retreats and often teaches along with a group of highly experienced Kunga Yoga faculty locally at the Wilmington Yoga Center location. Kristin’s teaching background includes teaching full time since 1999 and training hundreds of yoga teachers nationally and internationally since 2003. She has worked with children, seniors, and students living with cancer and HIV, and is a member of the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT). Kristin has worked privately with celebrity clients Katie Holmes, Ashley Judd and Cheryl Hines, and is founder of the Wilmington Yoga Center and Kunga Yoga. She traveled for several years at the beginning of her career as a teaching assistant and percussionist for Shiva Rea, working as a mentor for Shiva’s Prana Flow 500hr Teacher Training. Kristin is also a guest presenter for various teacher training schools in the U.S and has assisted the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health Teacher Trainings. Her training background includes several trips to India and Thailand, with ongoing study in Thai Yoga Massage in the Lek Chaiya tradition, Ayurveda, and yoga along with studies in vegan living and macrobiotics at the Kushi Institute. She has enjoyed the benefits of a vegan diet and lifestyle since 1994 and shares her love of all things plant-based with passion! Her primary vinyasa studies began with Shiva Rea in 2000 and have continued for many years, and she has completed a wide range of trainings and certifications including Kripalu yoga, Ashtanga yoga, Kundalini, YogaDance, Yoga for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Advanced Pranayama, Meditation, Ayurveda, Kids Yoga, Therapeutics, Non-Violent Communication, and studies in bodywork and nutrition. She enjoys incorporating many teaching methods and theories into her trainings and feels that all forms and philosophies inform one another and have the same goal of union, or “yoga”. Kristin has contributed to Yoga Journal and has been interviewed by the Huffington Post for her social entrepreneurship models and work with Homes of Hope Orphanage India. She is the creator of Rhythmic Flow Yoga w/live drumming and founder of Kunga Journeys: international volunteer retreats working with orphanages in developing countries. Kunga Journeys are led by Kristin and her percussionist husband, Loren Gulak. The Kunga team is grateful for the opportunity to use yoga as a platform and tool for collaboration, education, connection, and fundraising for underserved children around the world. For info on Kristin and upcoming service events, please visit: www.kristinyoga.com
Yoga School Manager
Jess Bichler, ERYT500
Kunga Yoga School Manager, Jessica has a rich yogic history, steeped in a variety of trainings and lineages, bringing a wealth of knowledge to her classes, workshops and teacher trainings. Jess came to yoga in her teens, recognizing it as a path towards staying active and healthy throughout every stage of life. Jess has had the opportunity to study myriad yoga styles, particularly the prominent lines of Iyengar, Ashtanga and Anusara – each complimenting her attention to alignment and core engagement gained as a gymnast – as well as therapeutic and kids yoga. Her formal education and certifications were earned at the Morningside School of Yoga in upstate New York, Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Massachusetts, and most recently 200 and 500 hour certifications from the Wilmington Yoga Center. Her influential teachers include Michael Smith, Stacey Millner-Collins, Cheryl Crawrford, Kristin Cooper and Noelle Whittington. Jessica loves developing a wide variety of classes including everything from gentle and chair yoga, to kids yoga, to advanced practices focusing on arm balances and inversions. Her goal is to lovingly support students down the path of living a yogic lifestyle in all aspects.
Heather Metzler, ERYT500
Heather Metzler, ERYT is a certified 500-hour Kunga Yoga teacher. She has also completed the 100 hour Professional Level Kunga Yoga Apprenticeship under Kristin Cooper for Kunga Yoga Leaders, and is working towards 1000-hour Kunga Yoga certification. As a Special Education teacher for many years, Heather started looking for a way to alleviate stress and create a healthier lifestyle for herself. She took her first yoga class in 2000 at a local gym, and was soon in love with the way it made her feel. She found the Wilmington Yoga Center where she started to deepen her practice through the love and teachings of Kristin Cooper, Larry Hobbs and Donna Gardner. After the birth of her first daughter in 2006, she began her yoga training, and is a graduate of the 220 and 500 hour Kunga Yoga School. She has completed certifications in Prenatal Yoga, Yoga for Trauma, Thai Yoga Massage, Kunga Power Vinyasa and Therapeutics and has traveled with Kunga Journeys for volunteer work at the Home of Hope Orphanage in Kerala, India. She feels blessed to have her family and students in her life everyday, supporting her growth as an individual and as a teacher. She is currently working towards her 1000 hour certification, to deepen her practice and experiences while serving others in her classes.
Jamie Annette, RYT500/ERYT200
Jamie, RYT500/ERYT200, is an instructor for the Kunga Yoga School as well as for public classes. She completed both her 200hr and 500hr certifications at the Kunga Yoga School at Wilmington Yoga Center. She is also certified in Mat Pilates and loves to incorporate core work into her classes. Jamie took her first yoga class with her mom in 2001 and has been practicing ever since. Some of her primary teachers include Kristin Cooper-Gulak, Larry Hobbs and Rose Tan. She’s always had an interest in health and wellness of both body and mind and feels fortunate to be able to share this with others through teaching. Jamie hopes to encourage others to bring balance, peace and a sense of connection to their lives through the practice of yoga.
Keegan White, ERYT500
Keegan White, ERYT 500, is a Kunga Yoga School Faculty Teaching Assistant. SGrowing up in a small town of North Carolina, the performing arts came to be an outlet Keegan found to express herself. Winning a scholarship to UNC-Charlotte, she went on to earn a B.A. in Dance with an emphasis in choreography and music. After 20 years of competitive dance, she found yoga to be the antidote to begin to heal her body and bring about awareness to change negative thought patterns. Keegan has been teaching full time since completing her Kunga Yoga teacher training in 2011 at the Wilmington Yoga Center where she was mentored by Kristin Cooper. She has completed a 300 hour advanced training with the Wilmington Yoga Center and another 300 hour with Yax Concepts and is the former Director of Hot Asana Yoga Studio in Durham. Keegan is a certified Kunga Power Vinyasa and Kunga 5Elements Flow teacher with a background in hands on assisting, the art of sequencing, and Ayurveda and has the highest certification through Yoga Alliance. Keegan co-leads 200 hour Kunga Yoga teacher trainings, leads 300 hour Kunga Power Vinyasa trainings and has traveled with Kunga Journeys as a Kunga ambassador for volunteer work at the Home of Hope Orphanage in Kerala, India. She loves sharing the journey of yoga with others and serenading students with her harmonium and voice in savasana; her light-hearted spirit brings a fun and nurturing environment to her classes.
Meg James, ERYT200
Meg earned her 200RYT certification after graduating from the Kunga Yoga Lifestyle Teacher Training in 2013 and is also a licensed NC teacher with a BS in Child Development. She is currently working toward her 500RYT through the support and mentorship of Kristin Cooper-Gulak, Noelle Whittington, Heather Metzler and Jess Bichler. Meg initially pursued yoga while living in Boone, NC to relieve stress and lower back pain, but was soon amazed with the transformative power of yoga and became committed to a regular practice. Over the years her passion for yoga has grown and evolved and has been a powerful catalyst for growth and change off the mat. Meg gravitates toward the empowerment and strength yoga offers, both physically and spiritually. She thrives on the creative energy surrounding yoga: sharing music, movement, and inspirational messages with others. She is grateful for the ability to teach every day, and hopes to inspire students to live courageously and authentically, with gratitude and self acceptance.She would like to thank her wonderful mentors and especially her first teacher, Alicia Youngblood Jackson, for inspiring a love of rocking Vinyasa flow. Meg is currently on the schedule teaching Kids Yoga, HOT Detox and Hold, HOT Power Flow, 5Elements Water Flow, Core Power Hour, HOT Slow Flow and Kunga Basic classes.
Allison Lloyd, RYT200
Allie received her 200 hour certification from Wilmington Yoga Center in the July 2014 three week immersion teacher training and is currently working towards her 300 hour advanced Kunga certification under the tutelage of senior instructors at WYC. She is also working towards receiving her Masters in Teaching Social Studies at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. She has additional trainings in Hands on Assist, 5 Elements, Ayurveda, and Power Vinyasa. Allie believes each class she teaches is an opportunity to explore student needs whether through gentle sequences focused on rejuvenating the spirit and body or a power class to charge the body through a rigorous practice. Any student is welcome in her class because yoga is for everyone and she enjoys helping students find the best modifications for their practice.
Noelle Whittington, ERYT500
Adjunct Faculty Noelle Whittington, ERYT500 leads 200 and 300 hour Kunga Yoga Lifestyle Teacher Trainings. Noelle is also a Professional Level Kunga Yoga Leader, completing a 350 hour advanced apprenticeship certification with Kristin Cooper-Gulak; and is currently pursuing her 1000hour Kunga Yoga certification. She is deeply committed to the Kunga Yoga mission of service, spending much of her time in India and in the U.S. working with and for the girls of the Homes of Hope Orphanages in Kerala, India. Noelle has been teaching since 2006, beginning her yoga studies at the Nosara Institute in Costa Rica, and studying Thai Yoga Massage in Chaing Mai, Thailand, completing advanced-level certifications in the Lek Chaiya tradition. She is a certified Pilates Mat and Pilates Reformer teacher, completing over 250 hours in advanced anatomy and pilates technique training and is also a certified 5Elements Flow Yoga Teacher Trainer and certified Kunga Vinyasa Trainer. Her additional certifications include Interdisciplinary Yoga, Fluid Power Yoga, and Thai Yoga Therapy. Noelle’s primary teachers include Ashley Ludman, Kristin Cooper-Gulak, and Larry Hobbs. She has also completed trainings with Hilary Garivaltis in Ayurveda, Marlysa Sullivan in Anatomy of Yoga and Therapeutic Yoga, David Emerson in Yoga for Trauma and PTSD, and Pre and Post Natal Yoga with Heather Till. Noelle has assisted Anusara-based Seaside Yoga Teacher Trainings and Transformation Retreats with Ashley Ludman and has led retreats to Ambergris Caye, Belize, with Elizabeth Cramond RYT. Due to her dynamic classes and community following, Noelle has been chosen as an ambassador of both Manduka and Lululemon. Yoga, music, dance, service work, and travel are her passions, and she enjoys incorporating these experiences into her teachings to create a safe, fun, and effective experience appropriate for all ages and levels. Noelle enjoys empowering the student to connect with their inner teacher.
Adjunct Faculty Donna Gardner has been practicing yoga and Insight Meditation for over 20 years and is an experienced teacher. She holds a Masters Degree in Dance from New York University, and is an ACE certified personal trainer. In addition, she attended the Graduate School of Social Work at Boston University and recently completed Level I certification in Thai Yoga Bodywork. Whether you are new to practice, returning to it, or enjoying an ongoing practice, please join Donna for classes in which you will receive personal attention to your specific needs and abilities.
Frances Murchison, ERYT200/500RYT
Adjunct Faculty Frances Murchison, 200ERYT/500RYT, brings 11 years of yoga experience to her classes. She completed her 200hr Training under Daren Friesen at Moksha Yoga in Chicago, and is working towards her 500-hour Kunga Yoga certification. Originally a runner, she embraced yoga for the physical benefits of strength, flexibility and endurance. Soon, she realized that the enhancement of mindfulness, self-acceptance and compassion turned out to be an even larger benefit. Her influential teachers include Gary Kraftsow, Gabriel Halpern, Aadil Palkhivala, Daren Friesen, Dr. John Douillard and Brian Kest. Frances is a trained and certified 5Elements Flow teacher. Frances’ background as a holistic health coach informs her teaching. Frances teaches Basic Flow, Core Power Hour, 5Elements Water Flow, 5Elements Earth Flow and Power Flow Yoga classes.
Jess Hartmann, RYT500, PT
Teaching Specialist Jess Hartmann, RYT500Jess Hartmann, RYT200 is a graduate of the Wilmington Yoga Center 220Hr Kunga Yoga & Lifestyle Teacher Training program with Kristin Cooper-Gulak and Katie Serino and is currently completing her Kunga Yoga 500 Hour certification. Jessica has experience leading the Anatomy module of the 220hr YLTT and teaching a variety of classes at the WYC. Jessica is a graduate of Duquesne University with a Masters Degree in Physical Therapy. She has more than 10 years experience working as a manual therapist in a variety of clinics in Wilmington. Jessica has been teaching therapeutic yoga in the clinic for three years and is currently working on completing her Professional Yoga Therapy Certification in order to continue combining her career with her passion for yoga. Jessica is a firm believer that yoga can truly be used as medicine. She is extremely excited to see yoga become more recognized by medical professionals as a both a preventive measure as well as a treatment tool. She believes yoga is fantastic for both injury prevention and relief and would like to continue educating others about the human body and it’s beauty in our yoga practice. Jessica enjoys teaching group classes and individual sessions focused on the principles of anatomy and biomechanics.
Mary Barwick, RYT, PT
Adjunct Faculty Mary’s formal yoga training began at Kripalu Yoga Ashram where she briefly lived and studied Bodywork (1989). Next she obtained her license in Massage Therapy from the Florida School of Massage and Hydrotherapy in Gainesville Florida (1991). In 1994 she continued her studies and became a Phoenix Rising certified Yoga Therapist. She practiced massage and yoga therapy in Blowing Rock, North Carolina 1991-1995 and started the first Yoga program at Appalachian Statue University in Boone, NC. In 1997 Mary finished her postgraduate degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and became a licensed Physical Therapist. Since 1997 Mary has settled in Wilmington where she continues to teach yoga, practice massage therapy, and works full time as a physical therapist in an outpatient orthopedic setting. In the past 10 years Mary has continued her education taking and teaching courses (yoga, anatomy, injury prevention, manual therapy skills) for both the local medical and yoga communities Her main focus recently has been integrating yoga as clinical tool to assist patients with therapy goals as well teaching yoga participants the importance of understanding basic anatomy/physiology and injury prevention.
Our visiting faculty presenters are caring, experienced professionals in their fields with decades of experience, and many are registered at the ERYT500 level. Past & future presenters include Paul Grilley, Gabriel Halpern, Yoganand, Michael Carroll, Deon de Wet, Dave Stringer, Hilary Garivaltis, Tamal Dodge, Deven Sisler, Judith Lasater, Lia Pardy, Marlysa Sullivan, Christina Enneking, David Emerson, Jen Fink Oppenheimer, Sage Roundtree and more! Visiting Presenters rotate annually, so please continue to check our Workshops & Events Page for each year’s special guests.