asheville yoga center

understand through compassion or you misunderstand the times

“Understand through compassion or you misunderstand the times.”

        ~Yogi Bhajan

The sutra above is one of 5 that Yogi Bhajan shared with us to guide us through the Aquarian age. This year, 2016, the global sadhana (practice) is devoted to this sutra, the 4



Clearly, this sutra is incredibly timely. From the degradation of earth and atmosphere to the unending flow of Syrian refugees, from the debacle of American politics to North Carolina’s recent House Bill 2, compassion is our only way forward.

To be compassionate is to allow our minds to be guided by our hearts, to allow our perspective to be ever informed by love. If it were as easy to practice as it is to write, the world would be a profoundly different place. As it is, the practice of compassion involves serious commitment, a relationship between head and heart and reconciliation between thought and deed.

This sutra is a bridge, a channel from what we have been to what we must be if we are to be the light. Compassion implies a singular relating to a whole, a core way of being, and a constant remembrance. Committing to compassion means that we will bow our head to our heart in any given situation so that our heart may rule.

To live this sutra, to take the guidance of this sutra is to experience oneness. Join me for our next curriculum, a 9 week series to support body, mind and soul in perceiving another way to be, another way to relate, to ourselves, each other and the world.

Offered: Mondays 10:00 am & Thursdays 7:00 pm at Asheville Yoga Center and Fridays 8:45 am at West Asheville Yoga Center.

Week 1: 5/2, 5, 6     Pituitary & the neurobiology of Compassion

Week 2: 5/9, 12, 13         The Sun shines on all of us

Week 3: 5/16, 19, 20       This body is beautiful

Week 4: 5/23, 26, 27       Apana & the art of letting go

Week 5: 5/30, 6/2, 3       Release, no room for fear

Week 6: 6/6, 9, 10           Balance, as Compassion

Week 7: 6/13, 16, 17       Synchronization, as Compassion

Week 8: 6/20, 23, 24       The head & the heart

Week 9: 6/27, 30 7/1      Infinity is a foundation

Come or don’t come ~ no need to RSVP ~ there is always room for you, always space held with love. It is an honor & a privilege to share these teachings.

Always with so much love, Sierra


Asheville Yoga Center runs a sweet little feature on a different teacher each month. This month, it's me. You can check it out

online at their website

 - or, below.

Why do you teach yoga?

It seems to me that we are yoga; that the union of body, mind and spirit is our true state. If we are lucky, the time on our mats is a remembering of a way back to our true selves, a way to experience our infinity, as well as our accord not only with ourselves but with all life. Yoga has been the path to the altar within my own heart- to think that I could illuminate that path in any way, however small, for another person is my reason for teaching.

What is your teaching history?

I began sharing the practice at Ahimsa Ashram in Washington, DC in 1992. We left DC in 1994 adn did some traveling, arriving in Asheville in 1995. I have taught in various studios in Asheville over the years, as well as Warren Wilson College. I have been with Asheville Yoga Center since they opened, in 1996.

What is your favorite pose at the moment?

I give my best effort at loving which ever pose I am in, at any given moment. With that said, I am experiencing a special fondness for inversions lately.

What's your sign? (astrological)

Gemini #AirSign #AirIsLife

What is your most challenging pose?

Kurmasana. I am somewhat resigned to never experiencing this posture in full, along with a few others, due to shoulder injuries.

How long have you been practicing yoga?

Since sometime in the mid-eighties. Then it was quite sporadic and more of a gymnastic mind set for me than the way I've viewed my practice since 1992.

Describe yourself in three words: 

Learning, Loving, Grateful

What is your favorite quote?

Aadil Palkhivala said this and it inspires me every single day: "True yoga is not about the shape of your body but the shape of your life. Yoga is not to be performed; yoga is to be lived. Yoga doesn't care about what you have been; yoga cares about the person you are becoming. Yoga is designed for a vast and profound purpose, and for it to be truly called yoga, its essence must be embodied."

What is your favorite word?

Always changing. Right now it is luminous.

What are you reading right now?


Love Letter to the Earth

by Thich Nhat Hanh;

An Open Heart- Practicing Compassion in Everyday Life

by the Dalai Lama;

The Radiance Sutras

by Lorin Roche. I've just finished

Waking Up to the Dark: Ancient Wisdom for a Sleepless Age

by Clark Strand and it was an awesome read!

What are some favorite songs on your playlist?

Lean In



both by Rising Appalachia, off their newest release,

Wider Circles. Nectar Drop

 by DJ Drez, and re-appreciating Krishna Das, all songs.

What is your favorite food?

I really love leafy green salads and smoothies with superfood add-ins

What is your favorite movie?

My absolute favorite movie is

I heart Huckabees

What inspires you?

Kindness, Compassion, Authenticity, all efforts to participate in co-creating the more beautiful world that we know in our hearts is possible.

Sierra's classes at Asheville Yoga Center happen:

Mondays 10:15 am & Thursdays 7:00 pm