Our Yoga + Studio

Instructors

The Axis Yoga Approach

Our Wilmington NC Yoga Instructors

Macy Cole

Macy Cole

Senior Instructor

Macy's Bio

Where did you do your training/With who?
Through the Wilmington Yoga Center’s 200hr and 500hr Kunga Yoga Lifestyle and Teacher Training with Kristin Cooper-Gulak, Noelle Whittington, Jessica Bichler, Jamie Annette, and Heather Metzler, the apprenticeship program with Kunga Yoga, and a 100hr teacher training with Yahweh Yoga

Who inspires you/who are your mentors?
My Faith, My Family, My Friends ❤

What led you to your first yoga class?
I was recovering from a chronic injury acquired while playing collegiate level soccer. Yoga seemed to be my only option while healing from surgery in both my legs. Little did I know it would change the course of my entire life!

What kept you coming back to the mat?
The deep spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical connection I felt each and every time I showed up on my mat. And the rippling effects that connection had on the rest of my life!

How do you unwind after a stressful day?
Prayer and quality time with friends and family!

What inspires you?
The ability to tap into our limitless potential and led with Love through all situations

If you had to describe yourself in one word, what would it be?
Blessed

What is a charity or non-profit that you admire?
A non-profit organization created in my hometown of Boone, NC called Wine to Water. Their mission is to offer clean drinking water to everyone in the world! What began as an inspired bartender desiring to help an impoverished community turned into a large scale non-profit dedicated to saving the world one clean sip of water at a time!

If you were a television show, what would be your theme song?
Sparrows By: Jason Gray

Before coming to your class, students should know:
That it will be a heartfelt class full of love and community!

What is your purpose for teaching yoga?
To spread joy, to build community, to empower others to find their own inner voice, and to help create a world inspired by Love

Troy Cole

Troy Cole

Owner

Troy's Bio

Where did you do your training/With who?
My goal is to be the first certified Yoga Instructor from Axis Yoga + Studio

Who inspires you/who are your mentors?
My parents were my first mentors on how to love unconditionally. Other lives that have an overwhelming inspiration on me include: Ghandi, Abraham Lincoln, Sir Alex Ferguson, and the countless elite professional athletes that achieved their dreams through belief and hard work!

What led you to your first yoga class?
Soccer dominated my thought process for the first 30 years of life. As soon as I realized that all of the top professionals were using Yoga as a means of improving their career, I knew I had to give it a whirl.

What kept you coming back to the mat?
There is no greater feeling than being removed from thought, in tune with your body, and one step further in your Yoga journey

How do you unwind after a stressful day?
By keeping a journal of gratitude!

What inspires you?
I am inspired by inspiring others! You might have to think on that for a second, however there is not greater feeling than being able to connect with someone and help them get closer to their inner purpose. As coaches and trainers we are able to help others navigate their life by taking control of their physical bodies first!

If you had to describe yourself in one word, what would it be?
Enthusiastic!!!

What is a charity or non-profit that you admire?
Any charity or non-profit that encourages our youth through activity, sport, and movement. My recent introduction to Yoga Village seems promising as they offer up special programs to children in our community!

If you were a television show, what would be your theme song?
Sportscenter, “Eye of the Tiger” or any song from the Rocky Soundtrack

Before coming to your class, students should know:
As a student, I definitely want the teacher to know that I will almost always need extra towels and constant water breaks, as I tend to sweat way too much!

What is your purpose for teaching yoga?
To help people love themselves, so they can love others, and so they can spread that love to the world!

Blair Bigham

Blair Bigham

Blair's Bio

Where did you do your training/With who?
I did my 200 hour training through the Wilmington Yoga Center in an immersion style training for 3 weeks in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. My teachers at the training were Kristin Cooper, Jess Moody, Katie Kennis, and Noelle Whittington.

Who inspires you/who are your mentors?
Mother Theresa is a huge inspiration to me with all that she accomplished in her life, spreading love to everyone that needed it. My Grandma is another amazing person that continues to inspire me every day and mentor me by teaching me how to be compassionate, loving, and the best that I can be every day.

What led you to your first yoga class?
I was introduced to yoga when I was 17 about a year after losing my Dad. My best friend had been trying to convince me to give it a try for months and when I finally tried it out I was hooked.

What kept you coming back to the mat?
The amount of love and healing I felt towards myself after every practice is what continued to bring me back to my mat. I felt this huge since of relief and healing in every class that made me feel like a new person. I began noticing the amazing benefits of breathing and how moving my body could open me up to seeing things with a new positive perspective

How do you unwind after a stressful day?
After a stressful day I tend to find myself digging my toes in the sand of Wrightsville beach starring at the ocean which is my constant reminder that all is good. I also try to get myself to a yoga class or if its summer getting myself in the ocean to catch a few waves with my surfboard to alleviate the stress.

What inspires you?
I think traveling gives me the most inspiration as well as sunrises and sunsets, the ocean, and music.

If you had to describe yourself in one word, what would it be?
Vibrant

What is a charity or non-profit that you admire?
I have two non-profits that I really admire and those are Homes of Hope and Mission of Hope. I love Homes of Hope because of the training that I received through the Wilmington Yoga Center which had a major service aspect to it and helps support girls in India at the Homes of Hope Orphanages. I am also very passionate about Mission of Hope which helps women and children in West Africa where I just visited have proper health care and schooling.

If you were a television show, what would be your theme song?
Gypsy by Fleetwood Mac

Before coming to your class, students should know:
Somethings students should know before coming to my class is that I always love to play fun positive music and I always encourage everyone to move in a way that feels good to them. I do love to offer assists every now and then and sometimes do tend to get my left and right confused.  I am also a Reiki practitioner so I love to offer Reiki to my students and also play my metal hapi drum during savasana.

What is your purpose for teaching yoga?
The purpose of me teaching yoga is to share with people how powerful of a healing tool yoga is and how it can encourage people to better themselves and the world. I believe that yoga helps to spread love and compassion as we open ourselves up through our practice and by following our breath. Yoga has encouraged me to become a compassionate leader and I hope to make a difference in the world through my teachings.

Ryan Williams

Ryan Williams

Ryan's Bio

Where did you do your training/With who?
I completed my 200RYT training in the summer of 2012 at Porters Neck Yoga Studio through Kerstin and Monique Mueller

Who inspires you/who are your mentors?
My Mom, Carlyn Williams and Macy and Troy for granting me the opportunity to come teach and grow within the Axis Community.

What led you to your first yoga class?
When my mom completed her RYT200 she drove me to one of her first classes at Porters Neck Yoga Spa when I was in middle school.

What kept you coming back to the mat?
Initially, I was purely interested in Yoga for athletic performance. Yoga helped me to improve as an athlete and stay injury free throughout high school football and wrestling and later on during my time playing football at ECU. When I first started practicing, I was a really competitive teenager and I remember being frustrated that I couldn’t do everything that other students could do. Once I understood that Yoga is not a competition but rather a personal practice, I came to enjoy Yoga as a lifelong means of working towards my best self, physically, mentally, and spiritually.

How do you unwind after a stressful day?
Yoga of course! I also love coming back home to Wrightsville beach and reading in my hammock or playing some guitar on the patio.

What inspires you?
I’ve been inspired by all the great Yoga instructors that I’ve had the opportunity to learn from since I started practicing. I’m also inspired by the children that I coach and teach Yoga to as well. Working with kids reminds me of the joy that comes with being present and doing things for sheer enjoyment.

If you had to describe yourself in one word, what would it be?
Sincere

What is a charity or non-profit that you admire?
The Special Olympics is one of my favorite organizations. I’ve been coaching the same group of girls for four years now and it ends up being the highlight of my year each season. The scope of that organization is so broad and so powerful. I’ve seen and experienced the positivity and sense of empowerment that it brings to all parties involved, especially the athletes.

If you were a television show, what would be your theme song?
This is a tough question for me because I love music but I would have to go with Move On Up by Curtis Mayfield.

Before coming to your class, students should know:
I want them to know that I am genuinely thrilled they have come to practice with me. I strongly believe in Yoga as a personal practice and I think of my instruction as an opportunity to guide that practice, I encourage all my students to take anything I offer that serves them and to let anything that doesn’t to just pass them by. I also typically opt for a longer Savasana than some other classes.

What is your purpose for teaching yoga?
My purpose for teaching Yoga is help share the joy that I’ve found as a result of teaching and practicing Yoga with other people. I believe that a Yoga practice is something that people cultivate a personal relationship with, and like any other relationship, it grows and becomes stronger over time. I want to help students develop their own yoga practice and experience the positivity that practicing Yoga will undoubtedly bring into their lives.

Gina Baker

Gina Baker

Gina's Bio

Where did you do your training/With who?
Wilmington Yoga Center with Jamie Annette and Heather Metzler

Who inspires you/who are your mentors?
Macy Cole has been an inspiration of mine for a long time and now a mentor is a dream come true. I am always in awe of her ability to create such a warm and welcoming energy, she truly lives her yoga.

What led you to your first yoga class?
Yoga was offered at my dance studio I attended at the time. My best friend and I were looking for something new and fun to try so we found ourselves signing up for yoga classes on Friday nights!

What kept you coming back to the mat?
In the beginning I kept coming back to move and re-charge through the physical practice. The more classes I took the more I loved how deeply relaxed I felt after savasana and meditation. I love the balance of connecting my breath to movement and stillness. This tool has helped me a lot in my everyday life. Before yoga I was never aware of my breathing or how beneficial it could be so learning to strengthen that awareness is a gift.

How do you unwind after a stressful day?
I love to either curl up with my kitties and a good book or light a candle and roll out my yoga mat for any kind of practice I am in the mood for whether it’s a strong flow or just sitting in meditation.

What inspires you?
To only name a few I would say nature, walking along the ocean with my boyfriend is one of my favorite things to do and where I find a lot of clarity. I am also deeply inspired by plant based living and how much power whole plant foods have over healing the body.

If you had to describe yourself in one word, what would it be?
Compassionate

What is a charity or non-profit that you admire?
NutritionFacts.org is a 501c3 nonprofit charity dedicated to providing the public with free evidence based nutrition research via short videos. The provider, Michael Greger, MD calls it a labor of love dedicating his life sharing with the world how powerful nutrition is for our health and longevity.

If you were a television show, what would be your theme song? 
Midnight City by M83

Before coming to your class, students should know:
I love a long savasana with gentle assists!

What is your purpose for teaching yoga?
I want to share the gifts that yoga has given me so others can relate and use yoga to help bring more peace into their lives. Holding a space where people feel free to be who they really are so together we can grow this community based on love and connection. Everyone wants to feel good inside and out, I hope to inspire a positive path on someone’s journey toward a happy and healthy life through the teachings of yoga.

Hannah Diehl

Hannah Diehl

Hannah's Bio

Where did you do your training/With who?
Kunga Yoga and Lifestyle Teacher Training at Wilmington Yoga Center with Kristin Cooper and Jess Bichler.

Who inspires you/who are your mentors?
Macy Cole and Elizabeth Boardman

What led you to your first yoga class?
My sister took me to my first yoga class in 2008.  We have dance backgrounds so we were drawn to the movement and flexibility aspects to the class.

What kept you coming back to the mat?
The history, the sanskrit, the poses and the mind, body, spirit integration.  But mostly the desire to change and the ability to track my growth.

How do you unwind after a stressful day?
Some deep breathing, some sparkling water and a good book!

What inspires you?
Constant change and personal growth.  When I put my thoughts into action I realize anything is possible through small gains every day.

If you had to describe yourself in one word, what would it be?
Strong.

What is a charity or non-profit that you admire?
The Milspo Project.  A non-profit supporting military spouse entrepreneurs.

If you were a television show, what would be your theme song? 
“Man in the Mirror” by Michael Jackson.

Before coming to your class, students should know:
Athletic yoga mixed with spiritual transformation to a killer playlist.

What is your purpose for teaching yoga?
Yoga has taught me the cultivation of self love and I want to share that gift with the world!

Hugh Slack

Hugh Slack

Hugh's Bio

Where did you do your training/With who?
Nosara, Costa Rica with Nosara Yoga Institute

Who inspires you/who are your mentors?
My friends and family.

What led you to your first yoga class?
It became part of my weekly routine as a soccer player at Appalachian State.

What kept you coming back to the mat?
What brings me back to the mat is the constant desire to push/challenge myself and better myself, both inwardly and outwardly

How do you unwind after a stressful day?
I usually play guitar when I get home from work, that or go to the skate park.

What inspires you?
I find inspiration in my friends and family, as well as everyone who supports me in general. I love traveling and experiencing different cultures, I find nature very inspiring, anyone who is doing what they truly love, and lastly my hobbies; surfing, music and yoga.

If you had to describe yourself in one word, what would it be?
Kind

What is a charity or non-profit that you admire?
Locally: The Open Gate-domestic violence shelter
Not Locally: Surfrider-a surf based environmental conservation group

If you were a television show, what would be your theme song?  
The Beatles: Rocky Raccoon

Before coming to your class, students should know:
The space will be sacred.

What is your purpose for teaching yoga?
I teach yoga so that yoga can teach me, creating physical and mental awareness.

Natalie Elfner

Natalie Elfner

Natalie's Bio

Where did you do your training/With who? 
I completed my 300-hour teacher training at Nosara Yoga Institute in Costa Rica in the Fall of 2011. This training consisted of 200 hours in teacher training and 100 hours of training in experiential anatomy. I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. I was completely immersed in an incredibly positive and warm environment! I love traveling and doing yoga!

Who inspires you/who are your mentors?
Don and Amba, my teachers at Nosara Yoga institute, were such inspirations. The art of their education was to draw out the uniqueness in each individual, and to encourage us to explore what interests each of us personally, and to then instill this fascination in our teaching. My mother is also a huge inspiration to me; she has been teaching yoga for over 20 years.

What led you to your first yoga class?
I grew up playing sports and dancing, but I was looking for something physical that challenged me during and after college in order to fulfill my desire to stay athletic and active. Yoga offered me not only the physical challenge, but the mental challenge as well.

What kept you coming back to the mat? 
I kept coming back to the mat because of the way yoga made me feel. Yoga helps me on so many levels, whether it’s to relax, unwind after a stressful day, or kicking my butt back in shape.

How do you unwind after a stressful day?
Sitting on the beach or listening to music is my all-time favorite way to unwind!

What inspires you?
Surrounding myself with positive individuals keeps me inspired. My friends inspire me everyday. Having strong friendships has always been important to me; sharing love, compassion, and support for them – and getting it in return – is truly inspiring!

If you had to describe yourself in one word, what would it be?
Hmmm. Warm. I think it’s important to live your life without judgement and with honesty and sincerity towards everyone.

What is a charity or non-profit that you admire?
National Save the Sea Turtle Foundation!! I have a huge love for sea turtles and for respecting and protecting their natural habitat.

If you were a television show, what would be your theme song?
I think I would change my answer to this question everyday, haha. I have a problem where I will listen to a new song on repeat every week and make it my theme song. Right now my television theme song would be Jubel by Klingade. Love it!

Before coming to your class, students should know:
I like to incorporate a theme into my teaching, and music is my all-time favorite element of creating/taking a yoga class. I’ve always believed in the power of music!!

What is your purpose for teaching yoga?
Teaching can be difficult! I have developed a newfound respect for all teachers. But I think everyone is drawn to yoga in different ways. I want to help everyone find out what draws them to their own practice.

Melissa Middlebrook

Melissa Middlebrook

Melissa's Bio

Where did you do your training/With who?
I completed by 200 hour training with Lexi Hawks and Mary Glackmeyer at Longwave Yoga here in Wilmington in November 2015. I also completed the Mindful Resilience for Trauma Recovery Level 1 training through Veterans Yoga Project in February 2016.

Who inspires you/who are your mentors?
First and foremost, always and forever, my mother. My teaching mentors are Shannon Ball (who changed the way I experienced this practice) at 5 Points Yoga in Athens, GA, and of course, Lexi and Mary at Longwave Yoga. In addition, I find inspiration in almost every single person in my life in some way, even when it’s difficult. I am surrounded by so many incredible humans, and I’m always meeting more!

What led you to your first yoga class?
My very first yoga class was when I was about 16 and it was actually a Bikram class (I had no idea what I was getting myself into)! My original intent was to give it a try as an alternative to the sports I was involved in and to work on my flexibility, which has always been a struggle. As the story goes, and often does, it was much more than just stretching that kept me coming back, which me leads me to….

What kept you coming back to the mat?
Everything. The way I felt after a class, the self-awareness that began to develop, how clear everything began to feel, the (positive) shift I began to experience within.

How do you unwind after a stressful day?
Lavender bubble baths are my JAM. Throw in some gorgeous smelling candles and a good book and you may never get me out!

What inspires you?
Nature, more specifically, sunrises, the human connection, kindness, resilience…

If you had to describe yourself in one word, what would it be?
I’m having a hard time with this one, so can I say “indecisive”? My mom’s answer was “Conscientious”, so I’ll take that!

What is a charity or non-profit that you admire?
Fun fact, I’ve only ever worked for non-profits! There’s a lot of great work out there that has built some incredible non-profits and charitable organizations. Most recently, my family has donated to IRC (International Refugee Committee) in response to the crisis in Syria. They do a lot of commendable work with refugees both in and out of the United States. Yoga Village is an incredible local non-profit that helps provide yoga in schools and where there is a need in the community.

If you were a television show, what would be your theme song?
I’m just going to go with “Freedom” by George Michael. It holds this incredible embodiment of what this physical form of relieving freedom feels like in song form. I just want to dance!

Before coming to your class, students should know:
I’m a huge fan of a gentle savasana assist with essential oils. Of course, this is optional, but if you like a nice head, neck, and shoulder rub, plan on it in my classes!

What is your purpose for teaching yoga?
I think my purpose, as with most things, is always naturally evolving. I have always said, “changing the world starts within”, and I truly believe it does. My yoga practice has helped my life for the better. I don’t expect it to be what it is to me to everyone since we are all unique individuals, but I do know that it can be an incredible tool for the mind, body, and spirit. My original draw to teaching was to incorporate yoga into my work in the mental health field, w​hich I currently do, but my hope in teaching is that each student leaves class feeling a little bit better than when they came in, however that translates to them.

Maribeth Johnson

Maribeth Johnson

Maribeth's Bio

Where did you do your training/With who?
Wilmington Yoga Center/ Kristen Cooper & Jess Bichler

Who inspires you/who are your mentors? 
My dad for his strong faith, love for his family, his gentle spirit, wisdom, continued encouragement & Will for his sense of adventure & love for connecting with others.
Mentors: Macy Cole

What led you to your first yoga class?
I was searching for a way to unwind/ alleviate stress from work/graduate school as well as alleviate pain (caused from migraines/medication).

What kept you coming back to the mat?
How great I began to feel, a desire to create balance in my life, and the desire to learn more tools that I could apply to improve my heath and wellbeing.

How do you unwind after a stressful day?
Yoga, running, and journaling

What inspires you?
People who are comfortable in their own skin that have a strong desire to unite people by sharing their passions and talents with others. People who live by love.

If you had to describe yourself in one word, what would it be?
Patient

What is a charity or non-profit that you admire?
Autism speaks and Yoga Village

If you were a television show, what would be your theme song? 
Happy Face By: Destiny’s Child

Before coming to your class, students should know:
I have the hardest time mirroring postures because I confuse my left and right. I always want to end a class with something that I hope will inspire people to remember just how unique and great they are.

What is your purpose for teaching yoga?
To empower people to love themselves, be themselves, and share their talents with the world. To give back what yoga has provided for me. When you are living by love there is not time to hate and the world needs more love.

Tim Worman

Tim Worman

Tim's Bio

Where did you do your training/With who?
I completed a 200hr training at Pravana Yoga Center in Colorado. My Teachers were Mike Matsumura, Charlotte Matsumura, Manorma, and Giselle Mari. I also Completed a 50 Hr Alignment training with Becca Roodhuyzen.

Who inspires you/who are your mentors?
Mike Matsumura and my Grandpa.

What led you to your first yoga class?
I took my first Yoga class when I was very young, but I began practicing regularly 7 years ago when I was diagnosed with MS. I was told by 3 medical doctors that it could help me regain balance and mobility. I made it a regular practice and before long I experienced so many benefits that I realized it would be a lifelong practice.

What kept you coming back to the mat?
When I first started, I was not able to stand in Tadasana with my eyes closed without falling over. After several months of regular practice I felt my balance was getting significantly better, my strength was returning, and I was feeling so much more at peace.

How do you unwind after a stressful day?
Paddle boarding and Yoga

What inspires you?
My kids inspire me on so many levels. To be a better dad, a better person.

If you had to describe yourself in one word, what would it be?
Driven

What is a charity or non-profit that you admire?
Multiple sclerosis foundation

If you were a television show, what would be your theme song?
Grace Kelly by MIKA

Before coming to your class, students should know:
I believe if you do the same thing this week that you did last week, you will be doing the same thing next week… There are an infinite amount of variations to the poses we practice, whether you are brand new or very seasoned I will offer variations that will push you a little further. If inversions scare you, great, come see me, I would love to offer you some support. If you love inversions, great! They will always be offered in my classes.

What is your purpose for teaching yoga?
It is so rewarding for me to watch someone’s yoga practice grow. Practicing yoga has benefited me on so many levels, and I would like to share it with others.

Sarah Rohrman

Sarah Rohrman

Sarah's Bio

Where did you do your training/With who?
I completed my 200 RYT training in Wilmington NC with Rebecca Niamtu, founder & CEO of Yoga for the Planet.

Who inspires you/who are your mentors?
My mom has been my biggest mentor in my life. She has taught me the importance of education, the value of hard work, and how to find the silver lining in even the worst of situations.

What led you to your first yoga class?
My dad bought me a gift certificate to a local studio back home in New Jersey for my 17th birthday and the rest is history!

What kept you coming back to the mat?
The search for inner peace between my mind body and soul.

How do you unwind after a stressful day?
Exercise and prayer.

What inspires you?
Nature, music, and my faith.

If you had to describe yourself in one word, what would it be?
Joyful

What is a charity or non-profit that you admire?
Open House Youth Shelter at Coastal Horizons. Open House is a 24-hour access, 9-bed emergency shelter for runaway, homeless, abused, neglected and other displaced youth in the Wilmington community.

If you were a television show, what would be your theme song?
Green Eyes by Coldplay

Before coming to your class, students should know:
All levels are always welcome in my class!

What is your purpose for teaching yoga?
My purposing for leading class is to help students help themselves. My hope is to hold a safe space for students so they can gently push themselves through the asana practice to have a stronger connection to their spirit and come to their own forms of enlightenments to apply to their life on and off the mat.

Shelley Jackson

Shelley Jackson

Shelley's Bio

Where did you do your training/With who?
Studio Vibe Cary, NC with Patty Geiger

Who inspires you/who are your mentors?
Obviously Joseph Pilates and the “mover and shakers” of the Pilates world!  The ones that take risk and push the boundaries…. they keep me motivated and inspired…. too many to mention.

What led you to your first Pilates class?
I danced most of my life and after years of running and high intensity exercise without much stretching I realized I lost most of my flexibility.  Pilates was always recommended by my dance instructors and it felt like a perfect complement to exercise routine.

What kept you coming back?
I started to stand taller, run faster and felt so stress free after every Pilates class… and an amazing instructor helped motivate me!

How do you unwind after a stressful day?
I love spending time with my Husband, my Son and our dog Lucy.  They can all easily make me smile and laugh after a long day!

What inspires you?
Positive Energy!

If you had to describe yourself in one word, what would it be?
Passionate

What is a charity or non-profit that you admire?
My 15 year-old nephew was recently diagnosed with Leukemia.  There has been an outpour of support from charities, organization, groups, individuals and non-profit organizations.  There are honestly too many to mention.  My family is humbled daily by the outpouring of love and support.

If you were a television show, what would be your theme song?
Flaws and All – Beyoncé (drama/romance series)
Happy – Pharrell Williams (comedy series)
Xanadu – Olivia Newton John (non-fiction series)
LOL!!!

Before coming to your class, students should know:
The hour you spend with me is about a challenge and competition with yourSELF!  I teach in a judgement free zone, welcome ALL levels and my purpose is for you to leave feeling confident and positive about your practice.

What is your purpose for teaching?
I enjoy watching people enjoy themselves.  It may sound cliché but it is so rewarding to witness.  

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