Kunga Yoga Teacher Trainings are led by Professional Level Kunga Yoga Leaders from our dynamic teaching faculty. Professional Level Kunga Yoga Leaders have completed mentoring apprenticeships under the Kunga Yoga School founder, Kristin Cooper, and are certified 500-hour Kunga Yoga teachers. In addition, other experienced expert guests lead portions of the program, so that students benefit from a wide variety of techniques, approaches, and skill sets
- Directors of the Kunga Yoga School
Kristin Cooper, ERYT500
The Founder & Director of the Kunga Yoga 200/500hour Teacher Training School is Kristin Cooper, ERYT500. Kristin teaches several of the required 500hr modules, along with a group of highly experienced guest faculty who teach nationally & internationally.
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 and training director of the Wilmington Yoga Center and Kunga Yoga School. She travels as a teacher trainer 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 trainings 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, 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 is the creator of Rhythmic Flow Yoga w/live drumming and founder of Kunga Journeys international volunteer service retreats. Kunga Journeys are led by Kristin and her percussionist husband, Loren Gulak & the Kunga Drummers. 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:
Noelle Cavenaugh, ERYT200
Co-Director of the Kunga Yoga School Noelle Cavenaugh, ERYT is a certified 500-hour Kunga Yoga teacher. She has also completed the highest certification for Professional Level Kunga Yoga Leaders at 350 hours under Kristin Cooper and is working towards 1000-hour Kunga Yoga certification. Noelle Cavenaugh, RYT Noelle is a Wilmington native with a background in classical dance. Her dance studies led her to the pursue other avenues of movement therapy. In college she began practicing Yoga as a reprieve from the strict discipline of dance and has been in love ever since. A graduate of the Nosara Yoga Institute in Costa Rica, Noelle continues to be a constant student of Anusara Yoga and Vinyasas Yoga. Noelle also maintains Pilates Mat and Reformer certifications. Noelle continues to incorporate Pilates principals into her classes like Core Power Yoga and private client sessions. In her teachings, whether it be one on one or in a group session, Noelle loves empowering her students through movement meditations. She encourages students to let go and “dance like nobody is watching”. She is grateful to be able to travel the world and to enhance her teachings by serving and experiencing other cultures. This serves as a reminder to her that we all share this earth and we honor ourselves by treating it and each other well.
Noelle loves to share her passions of yoga, music, dance, service work, and travel. Noelle’s classes include: Intro to Yoga, Gentle Yoga, Core Power Yoga, Kunga Yoga, Basic and Power Vinyasa Yoga, 5Elements Fire Flow, and Rhythmic Dance. In each yoga class she works to create a fun and safe atmosphere of inspiring music, breath work, fluid movement, intelligent sequencing, and self-inquiry.
- Kunga Faculty
Jess Bichler, Wilmington Yoga Center 220Hr Kunga Yoga & Lifestyle Teacher Training
Jess Bichler, is a certified 500-hour Kunga Yoga teacher. She has also completed the 150 hour Professional Level Kunga Yoga Apprenticeship under Kristin Cooper for Kunga Yoga Leaders, and is working towards 1000-hour Kunga Yoga certification.Jessica began her dedicated yoga studies in 2002 with Michael Smith of the Morningside School of Yoga. Jess has a BFA in Film, Photo, and Visual arts with a minor in art history and MA in Visual and cultural anthropology. Jess 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.
Heather Metzler, RYT200
Faculty Instructor 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 13 years ago 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, Larry and Donna. After the birth of her first daughter in 2006 she took the Prenatal Teacher Training offered at WYC, followed shortly after with the Kunga Vinyasa Teacher Training. In 2009 during her second pregnancy, she completed the 220 hour Kunga Yoga Teacher Training. 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 500 hour certification, to deepen her practice and experiences while serving others in her classes.
Cat Clement, RYT200
Catherine is a graduate of the Wilmington Yoga Center 220Hr Kunga Yoga & Lifestyle Teacher Training program with Kristin Cooper-Gulak, Katie Serino and Noelle Cavenaugh. Catherine began practicing yoga in 2001 after searching for a way to integrate her gymnastics background into her daily exercise routine but finding something so much more than just exercise. Catherine began teaching in 2012 with a focus on a fun, interactive vinyasa based yoga class with emphasis on movement, balance, strength and flexibility. Catherine is a graduate of UNCW with a double major in Accounting and Finance. Catherine has completed her Level 1 certification in Thai Yoga Bodywork with Deon De Wet, Hot Detox Vinyasa Flow and Inversion workshops with Katie Serino, Non-Violent Communication workshop with Elizabeth Banner, ChildLight Yoga Teacher Training certification with Sally Delisle and Ayurveda Workshop with Hilary Garivaltis Dean of Ayurveda at Kripalu. Catherine is currently working towards her 500Hr yoga certification at the Wilmington Yoga Center. Catherine’s hope is to inspire people of all ages the joy that yoga can bring to a person both physically, mentally and spiritually.
Mary Barwick, RYT, PT
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.
Heather Till, ERYT500, CYT
Heather Till brings to her teaching a life-long passion and study of movement and dance and has enjoyed sharing this passion with her students for the past 10 years. She is a Professional Yoga Therapist with the School of Integrative Yoga Therapy where she has served as an assistant and mentor for teachers in training. She is certified in the Khalsa Way Prenatal Yoga, Prenatal Yoga with Janice Clarfield, Pilates and Reiki. Heather has also trained with Itsy Bitsy Yoga and holds a BS degree in Psychology. She is one of the original co- founders of the Wilmington Yoga Center teaching cooperative and has enjoyed being a co-facilitator of the Wilmington Yoga Center Teacher Training Program since 2004. Heather has worked with the Healing Arts Network through New Hanover Regional Medical Center offering yoga therapy for patients with cancer and ante- partum women on bed rest. She has always been drawn to a deeper understanding of the body-mind connection and stories we carry in our bodies. This interest inspires her approach to yoga as gentle and heartfelt, emphasizing mindfulness and moving with the breath to create awareness, release deeply held tensions and open to our body’s natural healing resources. Heather greatly enjoys teaching students of all levels and abilities throughout southeastern North Carolina. She is registered with the Yoga Alliance (E-RYT 500) and is a member of the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT).
Guest Teachers rotate annually, so please continue to check our Workshops & Events Page for each year’s special guests.
- Program Coordinators
Heather Lilly, RYT500
Heather Lilly (goes by “Lilly”) received her 500hr ISHTA Yoga certification in 2003. After teaching over a 1000hrs of group classes, private sessions, and yoga festivals in NYC, Pennsylvania, and Raleigh she joined the Wilmington Yoga Center family in December of 2009. Lilly comes with a background in dance, movement, and theatre that all inform her teaching. Lilly was drawn to yoga after September 11. Her journey began in the aftermath of a tragic event as an act of service to self; however the path has taken her to a place of peace, joy, and desire to serve others. Her intention is to spread this spirit of yoga as service to help inspire healing throughout the world. She is incredibly grateful to the many wonderful teachers with whom she has had the privilege to study and is honored to be a part of the WYC teacher training program.
- Visiting Presenters
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
Sage Roundtree and more!
Visiting Presenters rotate annually, so please continue to check our Workshops & Events Page for each year’s special guests.