Bella Vita Yoga Core Values

  • We believe in the inherent dignity and worth of all beings.
  • We believe in respecting ourselves and others, and honoring our bodies as they are.
  • We believe in community and support, rather than competition and comparison.
  • We believe that our truest, purest state is joy, which exists innately in all of us.
  • We believe in Yoga as a path to discovering and living from a place of joy.
  • We believe that teaching from the heart is a gift that spreads beyond the self.
  • We believe in teaching to the individual.
  • We believe in learning to laugh at ourselves, and finding contentment with who we are and all that we have.
  • Sutra: By Contentment, supreme joy is gained. II-42

Meet Jillian

Hi!  I’m Jillian!  co-director of Bella Vita Yoga’s Teacher Trainings and Retreats .

Carrie and I created Bella Vita Yoga so that we could share our love of teaching and our love for this yoga community!  It is meant to be an opportunity to spread your wings and fly.

My yoga education includes a 200 hour Certification from Asheville Yoga Center with Stephanie Keach and a Yoga Warriors International Certification for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in War Veterans from Lucy Cimini of Central Mass Yoga and Wellness.

NoDa Yoga (www.nodayoga.com) has been my home for the past seven years, and I am now the owner and director of the space in the NoDa Arts District of Charlotte.  I am also  the co-creator of Mourning Yoga, a yoga and grief education program offered to those that are caregivers and/or have lost loved ones in the Charlotte community.

My love of teaching yoga is something that I want to share with you!  I find I am most “at home” when teaching Vinyasa Flow with a creative, organic and heart centered approach as well as Gentle Yoga, where we can focus on the  whole body’s system from the ground-up, inside-out.

Carrie and I had a mutual desire to create a yoga teacher training program that celebrates living life to the fullest through the community of yoga.  We both agree that everything in life is about balance.  Through movement, food, community and travel, Bella Vita Yoga encourages giving your body, mind and soul exactly that -the gift of balance.

I would not be the teacher I am today without acknowledging these phenomenal women who continue to serve their yoga communities in such a way that is admirable to anyone connecting and crossing their path:  Dolly Stavros-my first teacher and the reason I continue this journey of serving others with gratitude and love, Marcia Hoffheins for Yoga South and the “community” you created in that space, Stephanie Keach for your “realistic,” everyday yoga wisdom, humor and to “trust” and Shala Worsley for your wisdom and encouragement to “listen” to the body when sequencing and the importance of human “touch“.

We look forward to sharing the gift of yoga with you and those joining you on this beautiful life-journey!

Meet Carrie

Hi! I’m Carrie, co-director of Bella Vita Yoga’s Teacher Trainings and Retreats. 

Jillian and I created Bella Vita Yoga from a shared desire to create a joy-infused environment in which to learn and play and nurture connection with others. We are so pleased that you are interested in sharing in our heart-centered mission!

My yoga education includes 200 and 500 hour certification through Wilmington Yoga CenterThai Yoga Therapy Advanced Practitioner certification through deonThai School of Thai Yoga Massage. My professional background includes a Masters in Social Work and a decade of practice as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, and Life + Leadership Coach through Accomplishment Coaching. I will always view myself as an eager student as I continue to soak up opportunities to learn and grow.

I love teaching creatively flowing vinyasa yoga classes that integrate breath awareness and mindfulness into practices that both challenge and support my students. I also adore working one-on-one with Thai Therapy and private yoga clients to address individual needs and goals. Through the evolution of Bella Vita Yoga, Jillian and I have had the immense pleasure and honor of hosting yoga retreats emphasizing joy, connection, and living the Beautiful Life through Yoga, as well as designing an abundant 200-hour Teacher Training program saturated with our love and desire to empower teachers to teach and live yoga in a way that celebrates the Beautiful Life {Bella Vita}!

I am grateful to many amazing teachers for sharing their gifts so that I may continue to serve others. I especially appreciate Kristin Cooper-Gulak’s whimsy and dedication to yoga as service; Sarah Olin’s laser sharp wit and insistence that we are all ENOUGH; Shala Worsley’s immense knowledge and integration of yogic philosophy into creative flow; and Stephanie Keach’s wisdom and humor.

In the spirit of Living the Beautiful Life through Yoga, I do my best to approach life with humor, gratitude, and a spirit of adventure.  If that sounds like you, you might enjoy cozying up with my blog at www.CarrieWren.com

Meet Our Bella Vita Yoga Teacher Training Expert Guest-Presenters


Rebecca Powell Doherty, PhD has been studying science and doing research since 2001. She graduated with her B.S. in Biology from NC State University in 2005 and went on for her PhD in Immunology at UNC Charlotte, graduating in 2010. She has over a decade of experience teaching Anatomy and Physiology at the collegiate level, along with other science courses. Somewhere along the way, she fell in love with this yoga stuff, completing her 200-hr teaching training under the direction of Kristen Cooper-Gulak and seeks always to carry the Kunga service approach forward in her teaching and her life. She works daily to balance her yoga world with her scientific one, and has previously conducted translational research on hemorrhage and inflammation at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, NC. Most recently, Rebecca completed her Master of Public Health, along with certifications in Global Planning & International Development and Nonprofit & NGO Management at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA. She is currently enrolled in the clinical herbalism path with The Herbal Academy of New England and runs her own small business, Diventare Yoga & Apothecary out of her home. She and her husband are in the process of relocating to parts unknown in search of new adventures.  Rebecca teaches a thorough weekend immersion Anatomy module for Bella Vita Yoga Teacher Training.

marcyMarcy Braverman Goldstein, Ph.D. studied neuroscience and psychology as an undergraduate at the University of Rochester until a fascinating class about Indian traditions opened the door to more compelling ways to understand consciousness. She graduated with a Religion major and then entered the Religious Studies doctoral program at University of California, Santa Barbara where she began her formal training in Sanskrit and was immediately riveted by its mellifluous sounds and intricate grammar. Her translation skills were refined during an immersive language study program with Dr. B.N. Pandit in New Delhi, India. In 2003 she completed her dissertation, an historical study of Sanskrit terms about possession, madness, and devotional experiences in Āyurvedic texts, Hindu poetry, and Tantric literature.

Marcy began teaching Sanskrit, and the history and philosophies of yoga in the 1990s. To design her courses, she draws from her training at UCSB and in India, and twenty years of yoga practice including a 100-hour Yoga Immersion. Previously at Davidson College and currently at University of North Carolina at Charlotte, she teaches various courses including “History of Yoga from 2500 B.C.E. to the Ever-Changing Modern Moment.” Since creating Sanskrit Revolution in 2012, Marcy has taught at more than three dozen yoga studios, teacher training programs, yogafests, and conferences nationally. Marcy’s passion and goal is to help people discover the fascinating linguistic foundation of yoga. sanskritrevolution.com Marcy teaches a fascinating Sanskrit module for Bella Vita Yoga Teacher Training.

Carey Sims, RYT 200

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 embrace your perfect imperfection—a sacred space where you can peel away as many inner layers as you wish and openly embrace your outer strength. 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 embrace moments of stillness and cultivate practices that they can take off the mat and into the world.”

Carey has a BA in Psychology from Winthrop University, a BA in Religious Studies from UNCC, and is a RYT. He has studied with renowned teachers Matthew Sanford and Doug Keller and is currently completing his 300Hr certification at Asheville Yoga Center. Carey teaches an engaging and relevant History and Philosophy of Yoga module for Bella Vita Yoga Teacher Training.

Allison Ford McGuigan, RYT 500 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. Listen to Allison’s short pause meditations and read more at http://allisonmcguigan.com Allison teaches a well-informed Yin module for Bella Vita Yoga Teacher Training.

Rachael Harper, E-RYT500, Thai Yoga Therapist, Ayurveda Teacher

Since her teaching journey began in 2010, Rachael has completed 1000+ hours of training in various styles of yoga and related healing arts, all of which work together to inform her personal teaching style. Although she enjoys teaching a variety of classes, her regular classes predominantly consist of strong but accessible mindfully-paced flows with great emphasis on breath, spinal alignment, and core connection. Class rhythms often evolve with the changing seasons in alignment with the teachings of the ancient science of Ayurveda.

In 2012 Rachael began leading workshops and lectures, teaching students and teachers about the art of self-healing through Ayurveda. She first fell in love with Ayurveda in 2009 and was drawn more deeply into the teachings when she began experiencing chronic headaches and minor digestive issues in late 2011. With John Immel of Joyful Belly as her teacher and mentor, she learned how to heal her body and design her habits to live a life of greater ease. Further studies with teachers like Hillary Garivaltis, Kristen Cooper Gulak, Noelle Cavenaugh, and Cate Stillman have helped Rachael to create a well-rounded curriculum to share with students, teachers, and loved ones to help them design the life they wish to live.

Katie Rodgers, LCSW is a graduate of ​Bella Vita Teacher Training​ and a 200-hour Registered Yoga Instructor.  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.

Katie specializes in Gentle, Restorative (Relax and Renew Level 1 certified), and Trauma-Sensitive Yoga.  She works with teenagers and adults at her office with anxiety, depression, self-harm, and trauma related issues.  Katie loves sharing her knowledge of trauma and Yoga with the Bella Vita family!

Interested in having a life-changing experience? Let’s talk. Please contact us… there is no time better than Now.

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