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Emily Nichols Photography

Community Kirtan
@ Asheville Yoga Center

3rd Wednesday of every month
7:00 - 8:30pm

Join us for an evening of inspiring Kīrtan and community with Michael Johnson and friends!

Open your heart with Bhakti devotion to enjoy the presence of community and celebrate the divine energy within. With music and devotion, we will create a space for sangha (community) with one another.

Everyone is welcome, no previous experience required.

All Donations will benefit the Asheville Yoga Center Teacher Training Scholarship Fund

Bhagavadgītā and Yoga Philosophy
@ Asheville Yoga Center
[In-person & Online]

April 21 - 23, 2023

The Bhagavadgītā is a 700 verse poem that presents Yoga Philosophy within the context of the 200,000 verse epic called the Mahābhārata. Although the Gītā is required reading in nearly every Yoga teacher training, it is often out of context and confused with virtue ethics, consequentialism or deontology. In this weekend workshop we will integrate the context from the Mahābhārata and discern how Yoga is its own basic ethical theory from South Asia, so that you can discern it clearly from outcome driven theories like virtue ethics, consequentialism and teach it with competence and confidence. We will also explore how trauma can impact our nervous system and how Yoga Philosophy can be uniquely helpful with recovery.

Dr. Shyam Ranganathan (MA South Asian Studies, MA and PhD Philosophy) is a field-changing researcher, scholar, author, and teacher of philosophy, and an expert in the neglected traditions of Indian moral philosophy, which covers practical questions of how to live, what to aim for, and what we should value—including Yoga.  Dr. Ranganathan is a trained scholar and researcher of philosophy and is author, editor and translator of over 50 peer reviewed, scholarly works (including Ethics and the History of Indian Philosophy MLBD 2008 and 2017; the Bloomsbury Research Handbook of Indian Ethics 2017; and Hinduism: A Contemporary Philosophical Investigation, Routledge 2018).  A specialist in translation, having written his PhD dissertation on the topic of how we can understand texts without projecting our beliefs onto them, Dr. Ranganathan translated Patañjali’s Yoga Sūtra (Penguin 2008). After over 20000 teaching hours and 3000 students, in 2019 , Dr. Ranganathan founded Yoga Philosophy (YACEP and CYA-RYSGOLD), a scholar practitioner initiative, to bring anti-colonial, anti-Eurocentric, research based knowledge about Yoga and Philosophy to practitioners.  Shyam is a E-RYT-500 and CYA-RYT Gold. He is a member of the Department of Philosophy, and York Center for Asian Research, York University, Toronto.


In this training you will learn:

  • 4 Basic Ethical Theories

  • Polyvagal Theory and Yoga

  • Neuroscience of Decision Making

  • 9 Kinds of Bhakti

  • Discussion Techniques

  • Tools for Navigating Moral Dilemmas

Yoga & Live Music with Noelle Whittington
@ Asheville Yoga Center [In-person]

April 28, 2023
7- 7:38pm

Join us for a rare opportunity to experience an in-person Kunga Yoga class with Noelle Whittington and Bhakti Yoga with Michael Johnson taking turns leading and providing live music for each other.


Noelle Whittington (Narāyānī): ERYT500, YACEP, wants to help you find your power, stay inspired, and to be yourself unapologetically. Noelle is a full-time traveler with a base in her hometown of Wilmington, NC. You can catch her leading Yoga classes, teacher training and workshops, Live music events, concerts and Kīrtan, Yoga and Music Festivals, and International Yoga retreats. A lifetime of dance training led Noelle to become a full-time Yoga instructor in 2006 upon graduation from Nosara Yoga Institute in Costa Rica with Don and Amba Stapleton, She went on to study with her primary teachers Ashley Ludman in Anusara/Alignment-based Yoga, Kristin Cooper-Gulak in Kunga Yoga, Thomas Ashley-Farrand in Mantra and Sanskrit Studies, and Bill Mahony and Douglas Brooks in Yogic Philosophy. Noelle served as the Co-Director of Wilmington Yoga Center 2013-2105. As the Senior Kunga Trainer for the Kunga Yoga School since 2012, Noelle has trained students and mentored staff in Yoga Studios in North Carolina, Virginia, and South Carolina. Noelle’s service-based Kunga Yoga School has raised over $100,000 for charities like Homes of Hope Orphanages in India , the Farm Sanctuary, and Yoga Village nonprofits.

Michael Johnson has been a full-time yoga instructor for over two decades and a teacher trainer since 2003. He has traveled to India and studied many with many teachers and traditions. He is a lead instructor for Asheville Yoga Center’s 200hr Teacher Training and 300hr Advanced Training Programs. He offers in-depth online courses on the foundations of Yoga, Meditation, Prāṇāyāma, Āsana, Vinyāsa, Mantra, Sanskrit, Philosophy, Anatomy, History and Alignment. He also offers a 195-day Challenge that begins January 1st.
visit for more information. and

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Prānāyāma, Mantra, Dhyāna & Dharmamegha Samādhi 
@ Zen Yoga Center
[In-person & Online]

May 12 - 13, 2023

  Friday, May 12th,  6 - 7:30 pm "Prānāyāma, Singing Resolution & Meditation"  

 Saturday, May 13th,  12 - 1:30 pm "Mantra, Singing Resolution & Meditation"  


Experience the transformative power of yoga with Michael Johnson, ERYT-500, in this workshop featuring Prāṇāyāma, Mantra, Dhyāna & Dharmamegha Samādhi.  Learn breathing techniques, sing mantras, and practice concentration and meditation to calm your mind and reduce stress.  Discover a method for transforming negative patterns into positive ones and find inner peace and balance. Join us for this enriching and rejuvenating yoga experience.  All levels welcome.

5-Day Bhakti Vinyāsa Flow
@ Asheville Yoga Center
[In-person & Online]

May 15 - 19, 2023

Bhakti means devotion to living in harmony with our chosen ideals. Vinyāsa means to move skillfully without attachment to specific outcomes. Flow is a state of self-actualization, where we are fully immersed in the present rather than comparing ourselves to others, longing for the past or the future.

This Bhakti Vinyāsa Flow teacher training is for anyone interested in facilitating a safe and inspiring atmosphere for people of all kinds to practice Yoga. Teachers looking for more guidance, students looking to become teachers, students who are currently teachers with or without previous training, or students simply having the desire to deepen their practice, will find this course inspiring and practical.



  • How to design and teach dynamic sequences

  • Teaching ujjāyī breathing in a steady flow Bandhas for optimal alignment

  • Mantras for empowerment

  • 9 Kinds of Bhakti

  • Teaching prāṇāyāma & meditation

  • Deepening your personal practice as you gain insight into your own creative flow



  • A passion for Yoga

  • A desire to deepen your own practice 

  • A daily yoga practice as of today!


Special Guests:

Seán Johnson is a respected yoga teacher and teacher trainer who teaches at conferences and retreat centers internationally including Yoga Journal, Kripalu, Bhakti Fest, and The German Yoga Conference. He is the founder of Seán Johnson & The WIld Lotus Band, who have been touring and recording together for the last 17 years, Wild Lotus Yoga in his beloved hometown dubbed “New Orleans’ Home for Heart-Centered Yoga,” and Soul School, an interdisciplinary yoga teacher training program that focuses on teaching yoga with skill, heart, and imagination. He has a Master’s degree from The Naropa Institute-Oakland with focus on teaching chant as spiritual practice, apprenticing there with south Indian musician and teacher Russill Paul, author of The Yoga Of Sound He is the co-curator and coordinator of Putumayo World Music’s yoga music series. In all these roles, Seán relishes creating a playful, tender, brave space for people to open their hearts and voices, and embrace their innate creativity. For more info, visit 

David Newman is a renowned sacred mantra artist, singer-songwriter, author, and inspirational teacher. David has released numerous acclaimed albums, including the #1 iTunes World Music bestseller Love is Awake. David is also the author of the #1 Amazon bestseller The Timebound Traveler. David travels the world spreading the joy of mantra and the healing power of sound, and sees his life mission simply as “spreading the love.”

Luna Ray is a PSEP (Somatic Experience Practitioner) , and is ERYT-200 Yoga Certified. For over two decades, Luna has been leading a variety of body-centered classes, sessions, workshops and retreats locally and internationally. She is a musician and international recording artist, has a BA in Community Studies, and is an activist for developing holistic and sustainable community collaboration. Luna works with the deep intention of inspiring and encouraging humans to cultivate an awareness of their inherent wisdom. Learn more about Luna here:

New Orleans’ native Alvin Young spent years on the Crescent City music scene playing with Wynton and Branford Marsalis, local legends James Booker and James Black and many more. His voice on 6 string fretless bass and guitar weaves the jazz, rock, classical, and folk styles he’s been immersed in for the last 40 years. The hallmark of Alvin’s expression on the bass is a rare and deeply melodic quality that illuminates the band’s songs. Alvin is loved for his dedication, devotion, and knowledge of music as a deep craft, a spiritual path, and a form of service. Inspired by the richness of his life and education in music, he brings a treasure trove of musical gifts to each song that deeply define the band’s sound.

Deirdre Smith Gilmer Deirdre began practicing yoga in 1994 in NYC. From that moment began her 20 year love affair with the practices and teachings of yoga. Her passion is to create a sense of belonging in her classes by coupling her serious dedication with a light-hearted approach. In this way, you will find her classes are alive with questions, philosophy, and humor based on connecting real life situations to the physical practice.

Decoding the Yogasutra
@ Asheville Yoga Center
[In-person & Online]

June 16 - 18, 2023

Join Michael for a playful weekend workshop with special guest Dr. Ranganathan, who translated Patañjali’s Yogasūtra for Penguin in 2008! Over the weekend we will explore all four chapters, the central arguments of the text, the controversy over authorship, the most influential commentaries, and techniques to skillfully teach Yoga Philosophy in your classes. Each of the five 3-hour sessions will include an āsana practice with prāṇāyāma and meditation.

Recommended Reading:

Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra by Shyam Ranganatha

Yoga Sparśana: Hands On Assists
@ Asheville Yoga Center
[In-person & Online]

July 21 - 23, 2023

The art and science of Hands-on Assists is called Yoga Sparshana. It is part of yoga history to have competent and effective knowledge of adjusting your students so that energy can be freed up. Please join Michael for this fun and informative weekend workshop to explore the art of Hands-on Assists. Exploring partner assists, alignment assists, as well as feel good assists, we will also play a bit with organic sequencing and theming. This isn’t just for teachers, but for serious students who want to immerse themselves totally with inspiring community and invigorating practices. Leave the weekend with practical resources to strengthen your confidence in alignment and technical skills, as well as being able to trust your intuition in “reading” body energy.


  • Consent (techniques like utilizing cards to indicate their current wishes)

  • Assessment of their foundation and their unique concerns

  • Stabilizing assists

  • Breathing with them while holding the assist

  • Alignment strategies that favor function over form

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