Where & How To Practice With The Top 10 Best Yoga Teachers in Asheville, NC
I am so grateful to live in a city with such an abundance of talented, experienced yoga teachers.
Asheville is pretty much the yoga capital of the Southeast so this is by no means an exhaustive list of all the incredible teachers here. But I personally know and/or have really enjoyed learning from and/or practicing with all of these teachers and they have over 225 years of combined yoga wisdom and experience!
These are the yoga teachers you should totally take classes with while visiting Asheville, NC. And even better, they all have websites, books, teachings, podcasts, videos and trainings available online so you can absorb some of their yoga awesomeness from wherever you are in the world!
I know my yoga classes and yoga hikes have become so much better and continue to evolve because of these men and women and I can’t wait to share more with y’all about them below!
Namaste & Have A Great Day!
Sierra Hollister = Queen of Kundalini & Compassion
Sierra shares the wisdom and practice of Kundalini yoga since 1990 after studying directly with Yoga Bhajan at Ahimsa Ashram but also identifies as a Yoga Universalist, one who loves all the paths of Yoga. Many of her Kundalini classes and rejuvenation meditation classes include soothing and healing sounds of her gong.
Sierra is regularly featured on Yoga International including their 2019 Climate Awake Yoga-In-Action Challenge. She is also on the teaching staff of Warren Wilson College, West Asheville Yoga and a Lead Instructor for Asheville Yoga Center's 200-hour Teacher Training Programs.
Sierra lights up any room she walks into so naturally she helped found Light a Path, whose mission is to create resilience through connection by bringing yoga, meditation, strength training and running to youth, the incarcerated, the unhoused, low-income community residents, and those in recovery.
Mondays 10:00 - 11:30 AM Gentle Kundalini at Asheville Yoga Center
Wednesdays 7:15 - 8:30 PM Gentle Kundalini and Gong Rejuvenation at West Asheville Yoga
Thursdays 7:00 - 8:30 PM Hot Kundalini Flow $10 at Asheville Yoga Center
Michael Johnson = Science + Sutras + Songs
Michael has been a full time yoga teacher for over 20 years and is an overflowing fountain of knowledge. Often armed with a whiteboard covered in very neatly written Sanskrit, Michael will teach you something new and interesting with every class from the sutras to anatomy to history with some humor here and there. I particularly enjoyed his Yoga and Neuroscience workshop as part of my 300 hour yoga teacher training, proving that ancient practice, spirituality and science can all work together in harmony.
Michael has travelled to India and studied many styles and traditions from Aṣṭāṅga Vinyāsa, Bhakti, Karma, Jñāna, Jīvamukti, Rāja, and Restorative to Yin. In addition to teaching ten weekly classes, He is a lead instructor for Asheville Yoga Center's 200hr Teacher Training and 300hr Advanced Training Programs.
He teaches flow and yin, restorative and yin but is probably best known for his Bhakti Flow classes. “Bhakti means devotion to something higher than just ourselves. Whether it be toward a relationship, a family, a community, future generations or all beings, bhakti is the development of compassion, love, gratitude and equanimity... This challenging yet creative and uplifting yoga class is guaranteed to make you sweat and open your heart.”
Michael produces his own music for classes and trainings and pretty much always sings with his guitar or eukelele at the end of class. Buy or just listen to his music on his website, CD Baby or iTunes. He also offers private mentorship if you want to learn more about Yoga Philosophy, Sanskrit, Yoga Psychology and more.
Mondays 5:45pm - 7:00pm Bhakti Flow @ Asheville Yoga Center
Wednesdays 10:15am - 11:45am Bhakti Flow @ Asheville Yoga Center
Wednesdays 4:00pm - 5:00pm Gentle Restorative & Yin @ Asheville Yoga Center
Wednesdays 5:45pm - 7:00pm Bhakti Flow @ Asheville Yoga Center
Thursdays 4:00pm - 5:15pm Bhakti Flow @ Asheville Yoga Center
Thursdays 5:30 - 6:45 Flow & Yin @ Asheville Yoga Center
Fridays 10:15am - 11:45am Bhakti Flow @ Asheville Yoga Center
Sundays 10:15am - 11:45am Bhakti Flow @ Asheville Yoga Center
Sundays 7:00pm - 8:15pm Gentle Restorative & Yin @ Asheville Yoga Center
Mado Hesselink = Strength, Self-Confidence & Support
After growing up in the jungles of Hawaii then discovering Martial Arts in college, Mado found her way to yoga in order to balance her body from the intensity of martial arts training. She incorporates more than a decade of experience and combines many styles of yoga including vinyasa flow, anusara, Yoga Tune Up® and therapeutic yoga with her love of human movement into her class.
Mado’s passion is teaching yoga teachers, which she does through training programs at Asheville Community Yoga and producing/hosting the Yoga Teacher Resource Podcast and private coaching/mentoring. This is a great resource if you are already a yoga teacher, considering teaching yoga or if you want to deepen your knowledge of yoga philosophy, anatomy and practice. I owe so much of my yoga success to this lovely lady. I have been working with Mado as my business coach for months which has helped both me and my business to thrive.
In addition to yoga, Mado does lots of hiking, dancing, aerial arts, and crossfit in addition to raising two beautiful daughters.
Wednesdays 6:30 to 7:30 PM Slow Power Flow (L1&2) at Asheville Community Yoga
Cat Matlock = Master of Muscles & Self-Massage
I love Cat’s bright personality and appreciate her deep knowledge of anatomy and how everything in the body is connected and works together. She has been a trigger point therapy specialist since 1993 and has taught anatomy, kinesiology, trigger point therapy, yoga, and integrative massage since 2000.
Cat has helped thousands of clients in the last 20 years to rid themselves of chronic headaches and migraines, back pain, restless leg syndrome, frozen shoulder and rotator cuff injuries, bursitis, calf pain, knee pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, thoracic outlet syndrome, numbness in hands and arms, all forms of tendinitis, arthritis, and much more. Cat’s work is sensitive, deliberate, knowledge based, and highly effective. A signature of her work is the instruction her clients receive in self care using trigger point therapy balls for releasing their own trigger points and fascia at home.
Cat is the founder and former studio owner of West Asheville Yoga now owns the Freebody Clinic in West Asheville where she treats clients, holds workshops and trains massage apprentices in her techniques. She has tons of free instructional videos on her youtube channel that show you how to release pain and tension throughout your body.
Tuesdays, 7:15pm-8:30 PM FreeBody: Therapeutic Foam Rolling, Gentle Stretching, and Breathing to release tension, pain, and discomfort at West Asheville Yoga
Kimberley Puryear = Slow Motion, Meditation & Mindfulness
Kimberely has a decade of practicing and teaching yoga and mediation. After owning a yoga studio in Columbia, SC, Kimberely moved to Asheville and became the mama bear of the teacher training programs at Asheville Yoga Center. She is a lead instructor for the 200 hour trainings and I particularly enjoyed participating in her advanced 300 hour trainings for Restorative Yoga and The Art of Teaching Movement.
She’s super knowledgeable about meditation and mindfulness, drawing inspiration from Susan Piver and renowned Vietnamese monk Thicht Nhat Hahn. “With an open heart and mind I work with individuals who are ready and willing to relax and connect with a deep sense of balance in their body, heart, spirit, and mind. Through our work together, you will create your own sustainable path and practices of movement and meditation. When you are relaxed, amazing things happen! Things shift. Life feels more stable and steady.”
The intention of The Steadiness Project is to bridge the gap between the four main facets of self: Physical (body), Energetic (breath), Emotional (feelings) and MeWith these parts balanced, we become more present and self-aware, benefiting not only ourselves but those around us as well.
I have unofficially adopted her as my yoga big sister since we are both lovers of cats, nature, meditation and the softer, yin practices of yoga. She gives the juiciest assists in her class after becoming a licensed massage therapist (LMBT) from the Asheville School of Massage and Yoga. I’m super grateful for her guest post on my blog a few months ago: How to Start Meditation: Tips & Techniques for Beginners.
Tuesdays Yin 5:45 - 7:00 PM at Asheville Yoga Center
Rosie Mulford = Poise + Power
At least in the classes I’ve been to, Rosie seems to know each student by name. Her classes combine heat and powerful poses with the poise and grace of a dancer.
Rosie took her first yoga class from Eve Diskin, then the President of the American Society of Yoga, in Coconut Grove, Florida in 1974. She enjoyed years of practicing yoga combined with dancing, ballet and running. As an adult, she practiced Bikram and The Barkan Method under the guidance of Jimmy Barkan for ten years in Fort Lauderdale and has taught yoga in Asheville, NC since 2005. Rosie mimics the challenges in life by reproducing them on the mat, giving students the tools to handle the stresses of every day and spread the love and compassion. Classes include an eclectic, tasteful style of music selected to coincide with the theme of that particular class.
She also brews yummy kombucha which you may be lucky enough to sample after some of her classes!
Tuesdays 7:15 - 8:15 AM Warm Power Flow Asheville Yoga Center
Wednesdays 10:00 - 11:30 AM Warm Power Flow Asheville Yoga Center
Thursdays 7:15 - 8:15 AM Warm Power Flow Asheville Yoga Center
Paige Gilchrist = Welcoming Wellness
Paige has been practicing yoga and Zen meditation for more than 20 years. In her former life, she studied theatre and was an editorial director of at Lark Books, a publishing division of Barnes & Noble. She trained at Asheville Yoga Center with an emphasis in therapeutic yoga. Paige has a warm, calm and welcoming personality and specializes in teaching gentle, slow-flow, yin, and restorative yoga, including meditation, relaxation, and simple breathwork.
Paige voluntarily teaches a weekly yoga class at a men’s medium-security prison and coordinates additional programs for Light a Path and co-chairs the board of directors at The Learning Community School in Black Mountain, NC.'
Paige offers private sessions for individuals and small groups. Receive Paige’s newsletter by contacting her at email@example.com
Check out her new Embodied Meditation Podcast on iTunes. The episodes feature gentle yoga combined with guided relaxations and meditations. These short, portable audio sessions blend breath-centered movement, music, and mindfulness practices to help you sleep, center, ground, release stress, and generally soothe your system.
She also recorded a lovely episode of the Asheville Awake podcast about how to take yoga off the mat.
Tuesdays 10:00 - 11:15 AM Slow Flow & Restorative Asheville Yoga Center
Thursdays 10:00 - 11:15 AM Gentle Restorative and Yin Asheville Yoga Center
Joe Taft = Magical Movement
Joe began a dedicated yoga practice in the early 90’s after a decade long career in whitewater kayaking. He still does Pilates, weight training, mountain biking, kayaking, rock climbing and running and applies his understanding of how the breath, meditation, balanced musculature lead to a healthy mind and body in all activities.
Joe has been teaching yoga for over 18 years and always greets me (and everyone else as far as I can tell) with a big smile. Joe’s yoga classes incorporate slow-flow and alignment styles of yoga while building balanced overall strength and core stability with some stories and sense of humor woven in.
Tuesdays 10:15 – 11:45 All Levels Asheville Yoga Center
Thursdays 8:15-9:45 Grove Park Inn (Drop-ins welcome)
Thursdays 10:15 – 11:45 All Levels Asheville Yoga Center
Thursdays 5:45 – 7:00 All Levels, Asheville Yoga Center
Fridays 10:30-12 Level 1&2 West Asheville Yoga Center
Saturdays 10:15-11:45 All Levels, Asheville Yoga Center
In addition to weekly classes, Joe teaches several workshops and trains teachers at Asheville Yoga Center.
Lillah Schwartz = Queen of Alignment & Longevity
Lillah is a master yoga teacher, author, mentor and back care specialist and has been teaching yoga for over 35 years. She pioneered the Iyengar yoga method in North Carolina from 1981- 2009, founded and operated Lighten Up Yoga, her studio in Asheville, NC from 1981-2013, and offered certified yoga teacher training programs for 20 years.
Check out her impressive lineage which includes Pir Vilayat Inayat Kahn, BKS Iyengar, Felicity Green, Eric Small and Aadil PalkhiLillah continues to offer weekly classes, private lessons, workshops, and Yoga and Massage CEU courses at various yoga studios in Asheville. She also travels throughout the eastern and central U.S. sharing her alignment-based yoga wisdom and therapeutic back care workshops at yoga studios and other venues.
Lillah stars in a series of DVDs and Digital Downloads to help you relieve neck, shoulder and back pain. She recently created two signature courses that complement her book, Healing Our Backs with Yoga, through the Yoga U Online platform. Part 1: Yoga for Back Pain Relief and • Part 2: Yoga for the Asymmetric Pelvis. You can sign up for her mailing list to receive free yoga resources delivered to your inbox.
Mondays 10:00am – 11:30am: 50 & Up: Yoga Therapeutics at Hot Yoga Asheville
Tuesdays, 10:00am – 11:30am: Dynamic Alignment/Level 1/2 at Hot Yoga Asheville
Lillah now has four courses Yoga U Online which you can read about on her website - https://yogawithlillah.com/new-store/
• Yoga Fundamentals for Back Pain Relief
• Yoga for Pelvic Asymmetry
• Yoga for a Healthy Spine and Prevention of Osteoporosis
• New Release - Restoring Your Fluid Spine for Healthy Aging
Shala Worsley = Teacher of All Trades
Practicing or training with Shala is a rare treat.
She has taught yoga since 1999 and uses yoga classes, workshops, and trainings to create a space for people to release stress and tension and tap into deep inner knowing. She instructs with a style which blends intuitive flow and attention to detail, a combination informed by her background in Kripalu, Iyengar, Vinyasa Flow, Yin Yoga, and bodywork. She incorporates pranayama, meditation, world music with tribal beats, therapeutic and yin yoga, as well as, yoga philosophy into each class. She is also knowledgeable in Ayurveda, yoga’s sister science with deep roots dating back to the Vedas of ancient India.
Shala is E-RYT 500, Asheville School of Massage & Yoga, Director, Lead Instructor for both Asheville Yoga Center's 230hr Teacher Training and 300hr Advanced Training Programs. I personally learned so much from her 300 hour Mindful Assists weekend training in March.
Mondays 4:00 - 5:00 PM Warm Yin Asheville Yoga Center
Mondays 5:30 - 6:45 PM HOT Flow & Yin (No Pre-Registration Offered) Asheville Yoga Center
Tuesdays 12:15 - 1:45 PM HOT Flow & Yin (No Pre-Registration Offered) Asheville Yoga Center
Thursdays 12:15 - 1:45 PM HOT Flow & Yin (No Pre-Registration Offered) Asheville Yoga Center