• Meet the Team!

  • Our teachers represent our passion for the NoDa Yoga community: we are of all walks of life.
  • Jillian Longsworth

    Owner

    Vinyasa, Restorative, Gentle, Yoga Therapeutics, Yoga for Military, & Teacher Training

    Yoga has given me the courage and the strength to follow my heart and to do what I love.  I found yoga when I moved to Charlotte from New York City in 2003.  After years of working in advertising, auditioning for stage roles and teaching in the public school system, yoga gave me a place to slow down and to really look at where my life was going. Initially, the attraction to yoga was the physical aspect and the desire to de-stress and detoxify, but what was ultimately found was an underlying awareness of the ‘self’; a way to connect to the mind, body and spirit. I completed my 230- hour Teacher Training from the Asheville Yoga Center with Stephanie Keach and I am currently pursuing my 500- hour advanced training with Stephanie as well. I am also a certified Yoga Warrior International Teacher as well as an Ambassador for Veterans Yoga Project, with specialized yoga training for war veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  I enjoy teaching Restorative, Gentle, Therapeutic, Vinyasa and Slow Flow.  I believe yoga can benefit the very young to the very “wise”.  If there is one sutra I try to live my life by, it is this:

    ~Santosha~ “By contentment, supreme joy is gained.”

    II-42 The Yoga Sutras of Pantanjali
    “Learn to laugh at yourself and be content with who you are and all that you have.”

    Read more about Bella Vita Yoga

    Read more about www.veteransyogaproject.org

  • Maria Hallowell

    Co-Founder, E-RYT 200+, ICRC Reiki II

    Gentle Yoga, Chair Yoga Therapy, Chakras, & Reiki Energy Work

    I officially began yoga in a formal setting in 1999 during my studies at the University of Rochester in New York. Through amazing Eastern Philosophy programs, I was first exposed to yoga through texts, poetry, and ancient artwork. When I graduated, my interest in yoga had been piqued. As I traveled through the US and Central America, I continued studies in hatha (physical) yoga and eventually began teaching yoga classes for the American Red Cross NHQ as a volunteer in Washington DC. After moving to Charlotte in 2008, I began studying Integral Yoga Therapy with Pat Joslyn, and received my eRYT 200+ certificate through her incredible program.

    My personal yoga passions are working with those who are just beginning their unique journey on the yoga path. I also work in this style of wellness through chair yoga for seniors and those with Alzheimer's/dementia, and have helped to expand yoga programs for seniors in retirement in the Charlotte area. The foundations for a practice of yoga begin with mindful breathing and exploration of alignment, from the simple to the more complex. I believe these are the building blocks of health and wellness through yoga. Being able to help students of all ages rediscover their practice or start a practice for the first time, keeps me connected to my own breath, my own mat, my own self discovery. Through teaching I too become a better student.

    The evolution of my own yoga path, reminds me of a good storybook; that part where you turn the page and the character finds a big, old key in a wooden chest that had been long forgotten in the dusty attic. To me, yoga is that key. When you find it, you just know that whatever door it unlocks, it's going lead you on an amazing & life changing adventure...

  • Whitney Hodges

    RYT 200, Front Desk Staff

    Yoga Basics, Slow Flow, Vinyasa, Gentle

    When you get to know me, you will know that most of my life stories start out in unpredictable ways.  For instance, I am one of the few people you’ll ever meet who got her first “real” job in a bar two time zones away pretending to attend a conference I actually never attended. I just wanted to see the city and crashed the hotel room with grad school friends; employment came as a bonus.

    Similarly, my yoga journey started because I was in my mid-twenties and knew my wickedly overactive metabolism was not going to last forever. I needed something in my life that was relatively active (more active than sitting on the couch) and that I could do well into my 90’s. Why start something and only get to do it for a decade (I’m looking at you running shoes)?  My first class was a Bikram class.  I sweated and thought I was at “near death” inside this building painted in extraordinarily vibrant colors.  I didn’t make it through the whole class and had to step outside at one point just to keep the dizziness away. There were toxins released that I didn’t even know existed.  The feeling after that first class was the best buzz I had ever felt.  I was addicted from that point forward and kept returning to what would become less and less of a “near death” experience.

    About a decade ago, I started working on that lifelong-life-rewarding wish list.  On it was teacher training.  One day I decided it was time to stop putting things on the list and start taking things off.  I enrolled in Bella Vita Teacher Training in the fall of 2014.  It’s been an interesting yoga road from that first class to now, filled with wonderful teachers, studios, and styles I’ve loved and hated.  

    Not to sound trite, but yoga for me is a lifestyle choice that connects me to my body.  Maybe some of you are like me and you tell your life story from a third person perspective.  In Yoga, I found that I could better identify feelings (sufferings and joys), better understand what was happening within my own skin—physically and emotionally.  All of which made these things part of me, rather than happening to me.

    My teaching style is spirit-filled.  There will be flow—sometimes fast, sometimes slow.  There will be smiles.  There will be at least one time I confuse my rights and lefts (never ending battle since kindergarten).  There will always be room for breath.  There will always be room for finding your own inner wisdom. 

  • Susan Chittum

    Yoga Teacher

    Vinyasa, Power Flow

    My first yoga class was at Mindful Motion Yoga in Jacksonville FL. My husband, Randy, actually introduced me to Yoga! We moved from DC to Jacksonville FL about 13 years ago.

    At first, I went with Randy after work. I stopped going with him, feeling lazy after a tired working day. Randy just left me home and went by himself! Then, he stopped going. So, I started attending yoga classes on my own.

    That was the beginning of my beautiful yoga journey and discovery! I realized that life is so precious. When I’m truly alive, everything I touch or do is a miracle, being in touch with what I do and see. The practice of mindfulness is to become alive in the present & wonderful moment for me. Mindful breathing helps me to be calm, relaxed, and peaceful. To me, breathing is a JOY!!!

    I completed my 200-RYT at Mindful Motion Yoga, Jacksonville, FL in 2012 and taught Heated Power Yoga class. I plan to follow my passion to deepen my knowledge for a 300-hour Teacher Training at Asheville Yoga Center.

    We have lived in Charlotte for about 3 years. Having NoDa Yoga nearby was a big reason we chose to live here. It was my dream to reach here and that dream came true a year ago. I am grateful to be part of our community.

  • Carrie Wren

    MSW, E-RYT 500, Life Coach

    Vinyasa, Advanced Certified Thai Yoga Therapy, Co-Founder + Co-Lead Teacher of BVTT

    I’m often asked this question: How did you start teaching yoga?

    To make a long story short: it all started with my own experience as a yoga student and clinical social worker. I found that I was able to calm my mind, feel better in and about my body, and experience greater ease and contentment in my life. As a clinical social worker {i.e. therapist}, I desired to help my clients experience those same types of benefits in a way beyond the scope of traditional psychotherapy, so when I enrolled in yoga teacher training in 2009, it was with the intention of learning how to share techniques with my therapy clients that would offer them tangible results to help them feel better mentally and physically. Little did I know that I would feel the instinctual pull to teach yoga right away.

    Upon transitioning from a decade-long career of facilitating healing in a traditional therapy setting to supporting clients in feeling greater freedom and ease in their minds and bodies through 1:1 Yoga + Thai Yoga Therapy, and later co-creating a Yoga Teacher Training to educate prospective teachers, I stumbled quite accidentally into life coaching. I found coaching to be one of the most powerful and transformative experiences of my life. Again, the call to offer a deeper, more thorough level of service to my clients and community beckoned, and I enrolled in a metamorphic life coach training. Now, as Coach, I have the privilege of collaborating with my clients to create life-altering, sustaining change in their lives.

    Here are a few of my creds:
    • Life Coach, Accomplishment Coaching • Master of Social Work, University of North Carolina at Charlotte • Licensed Clinical Social Worker (currently non-practicing) • Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (ERYT-500), Wilmington Yoga Center • Certified Advanced Thai Yoga Therapy Practitioner, DeonThai School of Thai Yoga Massage • Co-Founder and Co-Director of Teacher Trainings + Retreats, Bella Vita Yoga

  • Allison McGuigan

    RYT 500

    Yin, Vinyasa

    Allison is a yin yoga, vinyasa, and meditation teacher, who focuses on uncovering inner vibrance. She believes this can happen by pausing to notice what brings comfort and ease in the physical body, peace and calm in the mind, and compassion, courage, and happiness in the heart. She credits her ongoing studies in yin yoga and functional anatomy with helping her better understand how different every person’s body is and teach in a way that suits each unique individual.

    Allison obtained her advanced 300 hour certification studying yin yoga, anatomy, chakras, and meridians with Paul and Suzee Grilley. In addition, Allison had the opportunity to study and obtain certifications with: Sarah Powers – yin yoga, Dolly Stavros – vinyasa yoga, Tara Brach and Jack Kornfield – Mindfulness Training (The Power of Awareness), The Veterans Yoga Project – Mindful Resilience for Trauma Recovery, and Heather Till – prenatal yoga, among others. She also has a BA in Arts Management.

    Yoga captured Allison’s attention long ago as a child and the tools of yoga, meditation, and mindfulness are the foundations for what she teaches. Allison is a strong believer is creating practices to suit the individual to find balance and greet life’s only constant – change.

    Allison has lived and traveled abroad, but is settled back in Charlotte, NC teaching private students, group classes, workshops, and retreats in the area. 

     

  • Louise Cleveland

    RYT 500

    Beginning Slow Flow, Gentle Yoga, Restorative Yoga

    Strength, flexibility, and grace… this is what yoga has helped me reclaim in my life! My daily yoga ritual leaves me with a kinder more spacious heart affirming that “I am more than enough” for any event in my life. It is my honor to share all of this and more through my yoga classes. I have practiced yoga for 10 years and completed my 500-hour yoga certification at Asheville Yoga Center in 2017.

    I believe that yoga is right for anyone who has interest and you will learn basic yoga poses while focusing on alignment and safety in my Beginning Yoga class. My Thursday night Slow-Flow class focuses on proper alignment, safety and building strength. At my Sunday evening Restorative Yoga class you are invited to drop everything and focus on the beauty of being not doing.

  • Carey Sims

    E-RYT 200, Level 1/2 Adaptive Yoga

    Yoga Basics, Gentle Yoga, Slow Flow, Vinyasa, Adaptive Yoga

    Yoga is many things to many people and I respect the varied definitions within our yoga community. To me, yoga is a personal practice of self-exploration. Your mat is a place where you can realize you are enough. As a teacher, I respect my students’ individualities and encourage them to safely honor and explore their unique selves. My hope is that my students will cultivate practices that they can take off the mat and into the world.

    Carey has studied with renowned teachers Matthew Sanford and Doug Keller and is currently completing his 300Hr certification at Asheville Yoga Center. Carey teaches Gentle Yoga, Slow Flow, and Vinyasa. His mission is to make yoga accessible to everyone regardless of age or physical ability.

  • Nathan Wojcik

    RYT 200, Assistant Training

    Vinyasa, Power Yoga, Slow Flow

    After a myriad unsuccessful attempts to maintain a consistent workout regimen, I started practicing yoga eight years ago and was immediately hooked. I found that developing a slow, intentional, practice made me feel so much better physically and mentally, and it wasn’t just about gritting through a workout. The practice has helped me stay in shape, pursue healthier lifestyle choices, and find solace in a calmer, more enriching activity.

    There is so much to learn practicing yoga. The poses, the anatomical mechanics, the breathing, the space you create, there is something to be learned from every class so it’s always worthwhile. And I’m grateful to have been graced with the opportunity to practice with an array of amazing instructors, and alongside so many people that share common goals. To find a new edge, realize there is always more in the tank than we think, and to bring those lessons off the mat. To get better.

    NoDa Yoga is a great studio, and I wish I had discovered it sooner, but I found it when I needed it. Grab your mat and come breathe here, you’ll feel better when you leave.

  • Sydney Duarte

    RYT 200

    Vinyasa

    My Yoga journey began in 2008. Injuring my back in gymnastics, I was told to see a chiropractor every week for the rest of my life.

    I was invited to a yoga class that opened my heart, took away my pain and gave me hope for the future. I began teaching to give that peace and empowerment back to others, helping them to take hold of their life and get back into their bodies. Yoga for me is a graceful manner in which I can navigate the unmarked territories, while finding balance in honoring the places I have been.

    I approach health and wellness with a playfulness and sense of humor that encourages all personalities to the mat. Always inviting you to build awareness, embrace individuality and connect to the community around you. My style is for students who would like to experience play and exploration. Linking breath with movement, from one pose to another, mixing vinyasa flow with deeper stretch postures.

    Yoga allows you to get back to the true you. It can be simple, restorative, strength building…whatever you’d like it to be! The first step is getting started, the rest is a beautiful journey of practice that offers up a way for us to see the world in a new light. Yoga reminds me that everything is connected. I encourage others to live, dance, breathe with awareness while opening up to the relationship between physical body awareness, internal reflection and the free-flow energy in that moment of balance on our mats. I am here to help you ENJOY the journey.

  • Terri Diechhio

    RYT 200, Front Desk Staff

    Vinyasa, Restorative

    “Whatever we are waiting for - peace of mind, contentment, grace, the inner awareness of simple abundance - it will surely come to us, but only when we are ready to receive it with an open and grateful heart.”  Accordingly, the teachings of yoga were revealed to Terri at the time in her life when she was especially open to receiving them - when she was faced with the uncertainty of what was next, after leaving an industry she was deeply engulfed in for over a decade.  It was the physical practice of yoga, including asana and pranayama that helped her create space for stillness and surrender.

    Terri’s classes embody creative flow and mindful movement, with a focus on anatomy, alignment and breath.  In navigating the balance between effort and ease in her own practice and life, Terri invites her students to slow down, cultivate a quieter space and receive the benefits of yoga as an integrated and embodied practice.

  • Rachel Secrest

    RYT 200, Front Desk Staff

    Vinyasa, Yoga for Athletes

    Rachel was drawn to the kind vibes and knowledgeable teachers at NoDa Yoga and is so happy to be welcoming students from the front desk. A strategy consultant by day, she is thankful for such an inviting environment to reset and recharge. Rachel often subs at NoDa Yoga and enjoys teaching vinyasa classes. An avid runner, herself, Rachel also understands the unique needs of athletes and enjoys creating sequences to restore overworked bodies and enhance training regimens.

  • Emilie Michael

    RYT 200

    Gentle, Vinyasa, Deep Stretch, Slow Flow, Basics

    My journey into the vast knowledge of yoga and Ayurveda began in 2008. After attending my first class, I had a deep feeling that yoga would become an integral part of my life.  Quickly, I became hooked on how yoga made me feel physically, mentally, and emotionally. Early on, in my yogic journey, I knew that I wanted to share these ancient knowings with others. Having been an elementary education teacher, I already had a passion for teaching.

    In April of 2010, I received my 200-hour Yoga Alliance Certification at Joyful Yoga, in Bonita Springs, Florida.  It was an honor for the next four and a half years to teach numerous classes a week at both Joyful Yoga and Love Yoga, in Naples, Fl.  In 2012, I was honored to become a  Lululemon Athletica Ambassador of Naples. In October of 2013, I became involved with the Happehatchee Center, in Estero, Fl.  Leading yoga classes in this beautiful, natural preserve was an awesome experience. I also organized and taught yoga classes in the community that I lived in.  In September 2014 my husband's job brought us to Mooresville. Shortly after moving to North Carolina, I was fortunate enough to discover Gotta Yoga! I am grateful to be able to share my love for yoga at Gotta Yoga in Mooresville and Cornelius. This year we decided to move to the city. The NoDa community, in Charlotte, had been one that we found ourselves drawn to since we arrived in NC.  We are excited to now call it home.  NoDa Yoga is a shining example of the amazing NoDa vibe! Spreading love, acceptance, creative energy and joy to all that enter.  It is an honor to practice and teach at NoDa Yoga.  I look forward to sharing, learning and making new connections in this yogic community.  From a gentle to an advanced vinyasa flow, I am skilled and experienced in teaching a wide range of classes.   Recently, I received a Prenatal Yoga Certification. 

    It has been my privilege to attend workshops and study under some fabulous beings. To name a few, Seane Corn, Kathern Budig, Sadie Nardini, Lisa Bennett Matkin, Rodney, Yee, Colleen Saidman, Aleen Dailey, Alanna Kaivalya, Mas Vidal, Wah!, Sarite Saunders, Marni Task, Julie Kirkpatrick, Lalita Devi, Vraj Devi, and Rolf Gates.                                                                              

    Along with alignment of the physical body, my classes emphasize on the connection of the breath with the physical movements and postures (asanas).  By using humor, creative sequencing, and smooth transitions in my classes, I aim to create a space where people feel comfortable. I believe that ultimately yoga should be fun because this is when we reap the benefits.  Having experienced how deeply yoga affects both health and emotional challenges, I continue to draw from my own experiences to assist students in finding their most joyful selves.  It is my belief that anyone can practice yoga. 

    When one finds peace and love within the self, then the positive can be spread. Through an asana practice and meditation individuals are empowered to be the mindful observer of the self.  We become less judgmental and critical and more loving and open. My hope is for students to experience this on the yoga mat and then to carry it out into the real world, in their actions and reactions. My mission is to encourage the spreading of this love and peace. 

  • Katie Rodgers

    RYT 200, LCSW

    Restorative Yoga

    Katie Rodgers is a 200-hour registered Yoga Instructor that completed her training through Bella Vita Teacher Training.  She has been a Licensed Clinical Social Worker for over 10 years and runs her own private practice, Overcash Therapy Services.  Katie has integrated typical talk therapy models and body-based techniques with her clients for overall mind-body well-being.

    A Restorative Yoga enthusiast, Katie is Level 1 Relax and Renew® certified under Judith Hanson Lasater.  Katie specializes in Gentle, Restorative, and Trauma-Sensitive Yoga.  Katie loves teaching these styles of Yoga because of how well they complement emotional wellness and her passion for helping others.

    Outside of Yoga and Mental Health, Katie spends her time being active with her husband and dog, reading anything she can get her hands on, and cheering on the Alabama Crimson Tide!

  • Erin Finger

    RYT 200, Veterans Yoga Project Ambassador

    Gentle Yoga, Vinyasa, Yoga for Trauma, Yoga for Military / Veterans,

    I grew up in Louisville, KY and graduated from the US Air Force Academy. I studied at the University of Oxford in England, following graduation from the Air Force Academy, and served in the active duty Air Force as a Special Agent with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, leading federal investigations for the US Air Force. I transitioned to civilian life in 2012 and continued my service in the Air Force Reserves until 2015.  I was introduced to yoga while deployed in Kandahar, Afghanistan; one of the Army nurses who worked with the wounded warriors volunteered to teach a class, and I was hooked! Yoga class was the only time I felt I could relax and let go of everything going on around me.

    After separating from active military service, I was lucky enough to find my yoga home at NoDa Yoga. As I continued to attend classes at NoDa Yoga, I also found a wonderful community of amazing and supportive individuals.  This encouragement inspired me to complete my 200-hour yoga teacher training through Bella Vita Yoga in Charlotte, NC, and I am now lucky enough to teach at my yoga home. As I have increased my awareness and understanding of yoga, I have also become more educated on how these practices are adapted and delivered to maximize their ability to undo the nervous system dysfunctions that underlie symptoms of stress-related conditions experienced by many of my fellow veterans.  I serve as an Ambassador for the Veteran’s Yoga Project, a non-profit specializing in bringing yoga to veterans and the broader military community. I have played the cello since the age of four and also enjoy traveling, reading, and cooking. 

  • Susan Hughes

    RYT 200

    Vinyasa

    Several years ago, I found myself in a transitional phase in my life. Without really meaning to, I was reinventing myself - new job, new relationship, new home, new neighborhood. One day, I wandered into a yoga studio for the first time. I had always been active and athletic, but I quite honestly thought yoga was weird. Anyway, I figured I’d give this “yoga thing” a try. I was shocked by how challenging I found the class and how hard it was for me, so I kept showing up. I wanted to conquer the physical poses, but while I was looking for a workout, I found so much more. I found my breath. I found balance. I found flexibility. I found a quiet space in a loud world. I began a journey to finding me. Yoga became so much more to me than holding poses. It became “my thing,” and I am so happy I found it!

    My wish is to help you find your breath, your balance, your flexibility, your quiet space. We all have these things, buried inside, and I hope to share the tools to access them with you through yoga.

  • Kelly Howard

    LMBT, Neuromuscular Therapy, Sound & Energetic Healing, RYT 230

    Massage Therapy & Energy Balancing at Kelly Howard Healing Arts

    Kelly believes that treating the body and/or any of the dis-ease found within it starts with loving compassion.   She believes that caring for oneself means caring for the whole self: mind, body and spirit. Kelly looks at massage therapy, yoga and meditation as key components to full well-being and her greatest joy is helping others to be more comfortable within their body by using her intuitive touch, knowledge of anatomy, neuromuscular therapies and energy channels.

    Kelly is a graduate of NC Massage School, a certified 230 hr Yoga Teacher through the Asheville Yoga Center, certified in Neuromuscular therapy treatments and studies multiple forms of sound and energetic healing.

  • Carianna Hebert

    RYT 200

    Vinyasa, Deep Stretch, Yin

    The first time that I stepped on a yoga mat in 2004, I had no idea that it would become such a pivotal part of my future and outlook on life. A surly high school athlete, yoga as I knew it was something my mom did to get some ‘space’ from her kids. Living in New Hampshire, there were hardly any studios to choose from; in fact the one we frequented was in an old barn about thirty minutes from home. I have to admit I was not stoked when my mom first decided that I needed to stretch with her if I was going to play basketball. Fast forward thirteen years, we now love practicing together.

    In 2016, I completed my 200-hour yoga teacher training at NoDa Yoga with Jillian Longsworth and Carrie Wren at Bella Vita Yoga. After moving from rural New Hampshire to New York City to Los Angeles and then to the suburbs of Philadelphia for a job with the NFL – the one consistent factor from city to city was yoga. Yoga became my outlet to process life. It started as a physical workout, but over time I kept coming back for the connection, love, and mental clarity. Now you will most likely find me in a yin or deep stretch class at NoDa Yoga.

    My passion for teaching lies in creating space for others to grow. I have learned the most about myself through this practice and believe in the power of intuition and leading a creative life. I hope to inspire and empower others to do the same! We can all have the life that we dream of. Getting in touch with your authentic self is the first step.

    Easy conversation starters: travel, King Charles Spaniels, the beach, photography, yoga pants, and ice cream (I also have my own yoga + photography business!)