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.

Studio Owner, Jess Bichler, ERYT500 + YACEP

Studio owner, Jessica Bichler 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. Through more than 20 years of teaching Jess has honed her ability to connect with students in a supportive and motivational way to help them uncover the joy and benefits of yoga and establish a commitment to their practice.

Jess came to yoga in her teens, recognizing it as a path towards staying active and healthy throughout every stage of life and began teaching in 2001. She 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. Jess holds a MA in Visual and Cultural Anthropology and views yoga through this lens as an opportunity to understand one another with more depth and compassion. Her influential teachers include Michael Smith, Larry Hobbs, Rodney Yee, Stacey Millner-Collins, Cheryl Crawford, Kristin Cooper and Donna Gardner. Jessica has led local and international yoga retreats, 200 and 500 hour yoga teacher trainings, and specialized workshops on a variety of topics. She loves pulling from her diverse background to offer practices in response to the specific needs and abilities of her students including everything from gentle and chair yoga, to kids yoga, to advanced practices focusing on arm balances and inversions. She particularly enjoys introducing new students to the practice and supporting yoga teachers to refine and deepen their ability to make yoga fun, accessible, and profound. Her goal is to lovingly support students down the path of living a yogic lifestyle in all aspects.

Studio Owner +Founder of the Empowered Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training , Heather Metzler, ERYT500

Studio Owner Heather Metzler is a certified ERYT-500-hour yoga teacher. Heather created The Empowered Vinyasa 200 hour teacher training that is currently offered at WYC.   She took her first yoga class in 1994 as a PE credit and found the  Wilmington Yoga Center in 2003.  Heather began teaching at WYC in 2005 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 YogaTherapeutics. Heather has traveled with Kunga Journeys for service work at the Home of Hope Orphanage in Kerala, India twice. Heather has led many retreats through WYC including Costa Rica, BHI and Prama Institute. She has developed and led local mini and weekend retreats in and around Wilmington. Heather teaches on the public class schedule regularly, and leads/co-leads the  Empowered Vinyasa and Kunga Vinyasa 200 hour teacher training, as well as the 300 hour Empowered/Kunga training.  She feels blessed to have her husband and two daughters that support her growth and passions. Heather is grateful for her students and the amazing teachers who enrich her life daily.

Founder of the Mindfulness + the Eightfold Path Yoga Teacher Training, Frances Murchison, ERYT200/RYT500

Frances Murchison, ERYT200/RYT500, CHHC brings 11 years of yoga experience to her classes. Frances is a board certified Holistic Health Coach through Integrative nutrition, NYC, founder and director of Mindfullyfed Health + Life coaching, author, speaker, retreat leader, and certified yoga instructor through Moksha Yoga, chicago. 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.

Adjunct Faculty, Jamie Annette, ERYT500

Jamie, ERYT500, is a lead 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.

Adjunct Faculty, Kiki Treinen, ERYT500 + YAECP

After experiencing the powerful healing quality of a dedicated yoga practice Kiki Treinen, ERYT500 was inspired to complete her 500 hour yoga teacher training in 2012. Kiki continually expands her practice by attending silent meditation retreats, leading local group meditations and sharing the blissful space of Kirtan – Sacred Indian Chanting. Kiki’s intention as a yoga teacher is to help people learn to heal themselves, and to continue to grow within her own practice. Her personal practice has included Ashtanga yoga with Larry Hobbs, Kriya Yoga, and Vipassana Meditation. She is also a certified Thai Yoga practitioner and Reiki Master.With a love of combining her background in Ashtanga, meditation and Thai Yoga Therapy, she creates healing yoga sequences for Yin, Gentle, Power and Flow and Meditate classes for all levels.Through physical postures and control of the breath, yoga develops an awareness of the physical, mental, and spiritual states. In the present moment you create your practice and in turn learn about yourself and transform your life.

Founder of  Kunga Yoga, 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: https://www.kungayogaschool.com/

Adjunct Faculty, 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, Nicole Boyle, ERYT500 + YACEP

Nicole is the owner of In Balance Yoga, a 4,000 sq foot yoga studio in Blacksburg, VA and is opening a 2nd satellite location March 1st of 2019 collaborating with Virginia Tech in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center.   She attended the University of Virginia and graduated with a B.S. in Commerce from the McIntire School of Commerce in 2001, and after 15 years of living away from the New River Valley working in the corporate world returned home to her roots and Nicole and Justin Boyle purchased In Balance Yoga in the summer of 2013 from Becky McDaniel, the founder. Yoga found Nicole in January 2006 and they have been inseparable ever since.  Nicole has practiced in studios all over the country and even internationally, focusing on many different yoga lineages and traditions:  Bikram, Barkan, Baptiste, Ashtanga, Dharma Yoga and most recently – the Kunga Yoga School.

Adjunct Faculty, Lisa Pelanne, ERYT500

Adjunct ,

Lisa facilitates wellness practices including yoga, dance, and health education, as well as offers Thai Yoga body work to support overall well-being. She is grateful to share movement, meditation, and evidence-based well-being practices to all populations. She is passionate about teaching accessible, adaptive, and inclusive practices that meet each practitioner where they are by focusing on acceptance, gratitude, grace, and compassion.

Lisa is a Faculty Yoga Teacher Trainer for the Kunga Yoga School at In Balance Yoga in Blacksburg, Virginia leading 200 and 300-hour Yoga Teacher Trainings. She also leads workshops in Yin Yoga and Meditation.  She completed her 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training with Nicole Lafon in 2016 at In Balance Yoga in Blacksburg, Virginia and her 300-hour Kunga Yoga Service Leadership Yoga Teacher Training with Kunga faculty at the Wilmington Yoga Center in North Carolina in 2018.

A passionate student, she studies widely across disciplines to inform her worldview and teaching philosophy. She is incredibly grateful to her many teachers including Marion Mease, Nicole Lafon, Lynn Theodose, Noelle Whittington, and Kristen Cooper-Gulak.

Adjunct Faculty, Danielle Suber, ERYT500

Danielle began her yoga practice in 2013 as a way to supplement her dance training. She completed the 200-hr Kunga Lifestyle and Teacher Training in 2015 and is currently enrolled in the Kunga Therapeutic Essentials 300-hr program. She is a Kunga Yoga School Apprentice under the mentorship of Jamie Annette, Allie Lloyd, and Kristin Cooper. Other influential teachers include Tra Kirkpatrick, Jeffrey Shoaf, David Emerson, Holle Black, Marlysa Sullivan, and Noelle Whittington.

With advanced training in Pre-Natal and Restorative Yoga, as well as Anatomy, Ayurveda, Pranayama, Chronic Pain, Yoga for Trauma, and Yoga for Healthy Aging, Danielle is passionate about offering Yoga as healing modality for PTSD. She has worked with a variety of populations in both private and public settngs, but found offering yoga at Open Gate Women’s Shelter to be particularly rewarding.
In her personal practice, Danielle found that yoga offers tremendous healing for both mind and body and seeks to facilitate that process for her students. In her class, one can expect to explore intention with every pose. Danielle believes in honoring the practice with purpose and using the practice therapeutically as a way of bringing imbalance into balance – whether those imbalances are manifested physically, emotionally, energetically, or spiritually.

Teaching Specialists

Jess Hartmann, RYT500, PT

Teaching Specialist Jess Hartmann, RYT500 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.

Teaching Specialist

Mary Barwick, RYT, PT

Teaching Specialist 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.

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 Frances Murchison, Donna Gardner, Tra Kirpatrick, Jeff Shoaf, Holle Black, aPaul 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.