In Balance Yoga is Excited to Announce New Ownership of the Kunga Yoga School & our Thriving Partnership

Congratulations to Noelle Whittington, long time friend, mentor, leader, and senior faculty teacher for becoming the new owner of the Kunga Yoga School. In Balance Yoga is beyond grateful to continue their long-term affiliate partnership with the Kunga Yoga School (KYS) and continue to cultivate learning, growing and serving in our community and beyond.

Founded in Wilmington, NC, the Kunga Yoga School inspires individuals to pursue a healthy lifestyle, dedicate energy back into their community and become an agent for positive change. “Kunga” is a Rwandan word meaning “to serve”. Kunga’s African name is inspired by the first group of children that Kunga founder Kristin Cooper Gulak worked with; volunteering for the organization Mizero Children of Rwanda. Mizero (meaning “Hope”) was an organization that supported the kids who lost their families in the 1994 Rwandan genocide in finding support and a platform for sharing their creative arts, through showcasing their cultural song and dance practices. Kristin was inspired by these children as an example for compassion and forgiveness as a practice, which we believe to be the foundation of the Yoga practice.

KYS is a social entrepreneurship model, a community, and a full 200 and 300 hour Yoga Lifestyle teacher training school designed to bolster safe, permissive, and effective Yoga instruction for all populations, while encouraging the student to discover how to be of service to the planet in their own authentic way. Through yoga classes, teacher training workshops and retreats, the KYS and partners like In Balance Yoga raise money and awareness for a variety of nonprofits, including Homes of Hope all girl orphanages in India and the Yoga Village in Wilmington, NC. Causes that are important to each Kunga affiliate studio are also highlighted, bringing the service back into the local community. In Balance Yoga’s next Kunga Fest, to raise money for Homes of Hope Orphanage, is October 6-7, 2023.

Recently, to be more available for her family, KYS Co-Founder Kristin Cooper-Gulak made the difficult decision to transfer ownership of the practice to longtime Senior Instructor Noelle Whittington, stating:

“We are so grateful to have Noelle as the new Owner of the Kunga Yoga School. As senior training faculty and retreat leader, Noelle has been leading the way for 15+ years with skilled hands, a service heart, and a deep commitment to the Homes of Hope Orphanages. She is committed to growing the mission through new programs and offerings that will continue to shine the light on the highest ways that we learn and serve.” -Krisitn Cooper-Gulak, Kunga Yoga School Co-Founder

Noelle has dedicated her life to learning and sharing the roots and history of Yoga, appreciating the cultures from which this science, philosophy, and life practice came from. She is a committed and passionate yoga instructor, musician, Bhakti yoga student, author, and today the proud owner of KYS. Looking towards the future, Noelle intends to continue Kunga philanthropic efforts while leaning into technology and offering an extensive online platform strengthening program content and education. In addition, she will continue to honor service based practices by leading in-studio teacher training workshops and retreats at affiliate studios like In Balance Yoga and Wilmington Yoga Center, while continuing to raise money and awareness for a variety of nonprofits.

Noelle feels strongly about bringing the practice and philosophy of Yoga and its innumerable health benefits to as many people and communities as we can, and wishes to bolster connections with those who are also on the path of service and leadership.

In Balance Yoga is looking forward to Noelle leading and teaching in our community. We are kicking off our 13th KYS 200 Hour Foundational and Lifestyle Yoga Teacher Training Fall of 2023 with Noelle at the helm.