Exclusive: NoDa Yoga expanding to Oakhurst, opening second location near Swirl bakery

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Alex Cason Photography
NoDa Yoga is expanding to Oakhurst. Shown at the new site from left are co-owners Jillian Longsworth and Craig Rasmussen, and studio manager Jenny Eickmeyer.

NoDa Yoga owner Jillian Longsworth has long desired to bring accessible yoga to as many people as she can. Now, she will bring it to Oakhurst. 

The cozy second-story studio above Cabo Fish Taco is expanding, opening a second location in January, Longsworth told CharlotteFive in an exclusive interview.

NoDa Yoga Oakhurst will have 2,000 square feet on the corner of a yet-to-be-built section of the Oakhurst on Monroe shopping center, with Swirl bakery nearby. The new location will be large enough to hold two studios, allowing additional classes, more workshops and a larger teacher training space. The studio will have a separate area dedicated to massage or reiki.

The existing NoDa Yoga will remain at 3201 N. Davidson St. An annex space down the street, currently used for teacher training and workshops, will close when the new space opens.

Longsworth has also added a new co-owner, Craig Rasmussen, who will help with operations.

Accessibility is important 

One of the most important features of the new studio is that it will be accessible to all, Longsworth said. NoDa Yoga’s original location requires climbing a set of metal stairs alongside the building. The expanded space will be at ground level.

“I had been wanting to open up a bigger space, a ground-floor space, for many years just because of the styles of yoga that we were offering — we needed more accessibility,” she said. 

Alex Cason Photography
NoDa Yoga Oakhurst will be in a neighboring building to the one shown at Oakhurst on Monroe.

NoDa yoga offers adaptive, yin, gentle, warm, vinyasa, restorative, and trauma-informed yoga. “We have a large veteran community that comes to class,” Longsworth said. “We offer something for everyone. I think it’s needed in the market, where all bodies can practice in a space and feel comfortable. It’s non-intimidating, and everyone here knows your name and what’s going on in your body.”

‘A different experience, physically and emotionally’

A trauma-informed space is being mindful of physical and emotional trauma, studio manager and instructor Jenny Eickmeyer said. “Everybody that comes to our class has a different experience, physically and emotionally — everybody’s different. Being trauma-informed is just being mindful of that.”

Co-owner Rasmussen is a student at NoDa yoga and is enrolled in the teacher training program. He has personally dealt with trauma — he has a fused neck and two artificial hips. “I got very lucky that my first introduction to a studio that was not trying to get me to do a split. NoDa Yoga is very focused on what I call functional yoga, which is you understanding your body, your limitations, what’s accessible you and how you want to go about your practice,” he said.

“I’m very sensitive to differences in people’s bodies and different teaching styles — and really bringing yoga to people that never would have considered it or thought of it,” Rasmussen said.

Alex Cason Photography
Oakhurst on Monroe

First yoga, then cupcakes

The Monroe Road area, also known as MoRA, has already seen an influx of growth. Swirl bakery was the inaugural tenant at the Oakhurst on Monroe shopping center in May, with Jersey Mike’s opening soon after. 

[Related: Do neighborhood names matter? Ask Villa Heights, NoDa, MoRA and others]

Swirl owner Curtis Stone said he is planning to add health-forward menu items as a welcome to his new neighbors. “With the health-conscious visitors we’re about to have, we want to make it desserts for the people,” he said. 

Visitors (health-conscious or not) are welcome to put in any requests for new menu items, Stone said. “We plan on running this as a taste bakery for the first 12 months,” he said. “Hopefully, at the end of 12 months, we’re making money and we can expand to more locations.”

Alex Cason Photography
Swirl bakery

An existing crowd pleaser includes vegan raspberry bars, Stone said — although, he doesn’t advertise them as vegan. They were originally called Raspberry Jam Bars, which sold very well. Then Stone renamed them Vegan Bars, and the bakery didn’t sell as many. “Non-vegan people won’t buy the vegan bar, but if you advertise them as a jam bars, people will buy them.” 

Jam bars after yoga it is.

Construction will begin later this month, with NoDa Yoga Oakhurst targeting a January 2020 opening date. The studio owners will hire additional instructors, with current instructors being offered a first option of location preference.

NoDa Yoga Oakhurst

1640 Oakhurst Commons Drive
Instagram: @nodayoga

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