Healing Charlotte Podcast: Jillian Longsworth, Yoga Studio Owner & Yoga for Veterans

In this episode, we meet Jillian Longsworth. She’s the co-owner of Noda Yoga, co-teacher of Bella Vita Yoga Teacher Training, and has a passion for creating a space where yoga is accessible for everyBODY especially Military Veterans. Jillian found yoga as a way to help with her symptoms of anxiety and trauma after living in New York during the terrorist attacks of September 11th. She discusses her transformation as a teacher starting with creating challenging sequences, cool playlists, and fancy poses to understanding how impactful yoga can be for Military Veterans and diving deep to understand how to support them in a yoga space.

Jillian decided to open her studio when she saw a gap in the yoga community. She wanted a space that had a community feel and offered a variety of classes. It was important that her space offered safe and evidenced-based class structures to support veterans. Her journey of ownership took her through various partners and locations to the place where she believed in herself enough to open a 2nd location. Her original location is in the Noda neighborhood of Charlotte and her next location will be in the Oakhurst neighborhood hopefully in the future. She chose this area because of the up and coming feel of the neighborhood as well as the options for accessibility.

She is the co-teacher of Bella Vita Yoga Teacher Training with Carrie Wren. She describes their desire to offer a training in Charlotte that offers all styles of yoga including vinyasa, gentle, accessible, kids, restorative, yin, and trauma-sensitive. She enjoys seeing the “mini-wakes” her students have throughout the program while being exposed to various styles of yoga.

“What I care about is that I can see, I can hear, I can understand even a little bit of what these people might be going through, and that I can offer a space. I can just offer space.”

Jillian has been the most influenced by the veteran’s she has worked with throughout her teaching career from armories to her studio space to the VA Clinic. She is passionate about providing the container for them to do the work. She has taken multiple trainings geared towards working with vets and recently completed her 300-hour teacher training focused on therapeutics.

“I have so much gratitude that they {veterans} allow me to be in that space.”

Her recommendations for anyone interested in beginning a yoga practice is to talk to their doctor to make sure it’s indicated and safe for them and to find an instructor with a specialized background. She offered for anyone to reach out to her via email or visit with her at the studio. She has a great lobby area to share a cup of coffee.

In the Charlotte community, Jillian is inspired by Alison Pulito of LightPath Energy Healing. She has enjoyed the Reiki and Intuitive Healing work she has done with her. She believes she is a gift to our community.

Noda Yoga has taken a financial hit during COVID. Plans to open the 2nd studio in Oakhurst have been put on hold for now. Jillian and her partner Craig are working hard to pay all teachers and other expenses the studio has during this difficult time. Please consider donating to or sharing the GoFundMe set up to help them get through the year.