Sianna Sherman: The Urban Priestess
Sianna Sherman is an internationally celebrated yoga teacher who shares the depth of her practice with passion, devotion, and soulfulness. She is known as an inspired storyteller and community activator, bringing people together through conscious, collective gatherings. Her initiation into the fires of yoga occurred in 1989, and she has been immersed in the practices ever since.
In 2008, she was featured in Yoga Journal as one of 21 talented young teachers shaping the future of yoga worldwide. Sianna weaves alignment, therapeutics, potent sequencing, mythology, Tantra and the power of the practices with accessibility for everyday transformation. Her Mythic Yoga Flow offerings have garnered a global following where she pours mythic consciousness into the embodied art of yoga with unbridled creativity and love.
Sianna is the founder of Mythic Yoga Flowâ¢, a featured teacher of YogaGlo.com, and a writer for multiple magazines. Sianna co-created the Goddess Yoga Project with Yoga Journal to help women step into their power and serve the world more fully, and she leads 200 + 300 hour Fearless Heart Teacher Trainings around the globe.
We would love to share with you our most recent conversation with yogini muse Sianna Sherman about her newest program, The Urban Priestess Mystery School, co-founded with partner and friend Ashley Turner. The Urban Priestess Mystery School is a modern-day mystery school intended to help women fully embrace a life of freedom and unleash their truest, feminine spirit.
KG: What inspired you to spearhead the Urban Priestess Mystery School? What makes it a "mystery" and why is it unique? And how exactly does this year-long mastery course work - is it entirely online?
Sianna: The seeds of the vision for me were born after my first year apprenticing in a mystery school in 1994 where I trained in a Celtic priestess tradition. My whole notion of education was radically altered through this experience, and I knew that one day I wanted to bring a mystery school to life. A mystery school speaks to the soul and works through both the seen and unseen dimensions. I have been preparing myself the past two decades and waiting for Spirit to show me the way. A few years ago, I was teaching at a yoga festival, and the particular class I taught was a ritualistic class of asana moving through the four directions. A beautiful yogini, Ashley Turner, who was also a feature teacher of the festival, came to my class. At the end of class, she asked me if I was running the energy as a Priestess. It was a huge moment of recognition between us and our worlds began to converge. Shortly after, my husband and I moved to LA, and Ashley reached out to me immediately. She's always been so warm and generous, like a bright Sun energy. Ashley had conceived of a priestess training called Urban Priestess and she was waiting for someone to collaborate with. We taught our first Urban Priestess weekend together and it was total magic! The doors blew open and our Urban Priestess Mystery School was born through our sisterhood.
KG: How does a year-long course work for students?
Sianna: In the Celtic tradition, there is a traditional length of time for the first spiral of learning, which is one year and one day. The structure of our program includes both online and live retreats. There are thirteen live teaching calls in honor of the thirteen moons, eight heart counsel calls in honor of the eight festival days in the wheel of the year, and four live retreats to immerse in the magic of the elements: Earth, Water, Fire, and Air.
My highest encouragement is to take both the thirteen moon online training in conjunction with the live retreats, in order to be steeped in the transmission that happens when the women join together in ritual, ceremony, and deep soul study.
We recognize that many women cannot travel for their studies, and this is why we have created such an in-depth online program. We will teach potent tools of the priestess and empowerments for the cycles in a woman's life. The online course is quite comprehensive and will offer tools for a lifetime.
KG: You state that a priestess is "a living, holy vessel, serves spirit everyday, bridges the unseen and seen, and holds ceremony and ritual to help humanity move through doorways." These are no small tasks! Do you think that deep down every woman is called to be a priestess or is it more of a rare and exceptional calling?
Sianna: We all have magic, and we all have soul medicine for the world. A priestess is a woman who owns her magic and uses it to serve others. Every woman has the capacity to be a priestess, but not all women are called to this path. It is a journey of immense dedications and requires bravery, courage, and ferocity to transform in the initiatory fires. I believe that if a woman feels the call from within, then she has everything it takes to be a priestess.
KG: What do you see as the greatest strength of the modern day woman? The biggest struggle?
Sianna: One of the great strengths of the modern woman is her increased societal freedom to create, innovate, and be respected for her talents. This is not true in every country, and I pray that women everywhere will be exalted in my lifetime. I praise the path for so many of us. I believe that the modern woman is hearing the call of her ancestral sisterhood through the lifetimes and rising up in sisterhood in this lifetime. Women in the corporate and political world are calling out for collaboration versus competition. Women are challenging the beauty myth and claiming their dignity in aging gracefully. Women are at the forefront of environmental awareness and creating movements of consciousness. Women are definitely on the rise!
A modern woman is challenged by her expanding roles as she may have both family and career. This is not easy and women are forging a new path. How do we do this without becoming overly masculine? The modern world thrives on masculine ways of doing things and often works on a vertical model where you strive to get to the top. The priestess really drops in and gets to know her feminine power and learns to balance it with her masculine energies. I feel that the modern times are ripe with needing women to hold their power in a feminine way, integrate the energies of masculine and feminine within, and relate to the outer masculine in a respectful and harmonizing way (versus rejecting it or making it wrong). This is all the training of a priestess.
KG: What is the modern day woman's relationship with the ancient priestess? Why do you believe that ancient, traditional tools are important for her to reclaim in order to reach her fullest potential as a woman?
Sianna: Modern day and ancient ways are forever connected. There's really no separation once you step into the magic world, which crosses through time and space effortlessly. The ancient world was attuned with nature, a direct relationship with all beings as one ecosystem that the modern world has forgotten. The priestesses we once were in past lifetimes nourished a most intimate relationship with nature. The cycles of the moon, the rhythm of the stars, and the spirits of the plants and animals were her teachers. She has left us with the memories, tools, and imprints to learn this now in the modern world and re-awaken the encoded matrix from within. When we learn her ways and integrate this with our modern day skills, we will amplify the field of creating positive change on this planet and taking care of each other as one global family. We have what it takes to make sure that everyone has wholesome food, fresh water, and safe shelter. We can re-create the modern day to be in harmony with nature by remembering the ancient ways.
KG: What is the significance of the twelve most potent areas of a woman's life? Why do these areas tend to get blocked and disconnected? Is there one that is particularly challenging for you that you are intentionally working on in your life right now?
Sianna: The 12 key areas are based on the Zodiac wheel and in honor of our lunar rhythm with the 13 moons. The exercises are based heavily on the archetypal energies we are working with. For example, when we work with finances, we will ask women to become accountable for their finances â sit down and truly evaluate the bank accounts, the expenditures, and really dial in with conscious knowing of how money is being spent. Then we will give tools and ways to create a healthy relationship with money. Another example: when we come to the Mystic, we will ask women to open up their channels of true prayer and invocation. We must be greater than our limiting beliefs and trust our innermost knowing and teach people how to do this. It requires a trust in the mystery and giving voice to this as well.
We all have different blocks, blind areas, vulnerabilities and constricted patterns in our psyche. We are human and we are real. And we all have a choice to make: Do I remain a victim to my circumstances or do I choose to be the hero or heroine of my own life?
My biggest challenge right now is in home and marriage. I live a very global life and Iâm birthing metaphorically on a grand scale. My lifeâs work is coming together both for Urban Priestess and in the creation of a yoga school based on Tantra and what I call the Heart Tribe Collective. Iâm asking myself some really tough questions and doing the deepest work I possibly can with my own shadow. Am I running away from intimacy? What is my motivation for bringing these creations into the world? Am I addicted to the adventurous nature of my life?
I try to be very honest with myself. Sometimes I am blind in my own shadow and need help from others to see what I cannot see. Iâm aware that with increased responsibility comes greater accountability. Iâm choosing to bring Urban Priestess and this yoga school into the world. This means I must be willing to continually refine myself and do my own inner work in order to show up for others in a steady way. I have not mastered a balanced lifestyle yet. I tend to be quite visionary and very active in my gypsy ways. I am learning about balance, letting go and showing up more for my family and beloved. I am trying, but not necessarily succeeding. I flourish in some areas and drown in others, yet I stay committed and devoted to serving the best I can. Where I have weaknesses, I call another to serve in her mastery and together in sisterhood, we will help each other from wounded-ness to wholeness.
KG: What are your hopes for this program?
Sianna: My main wish is that women come out of hiding and open their magical wings into the world. Women share collective memories and it runs deep in our psyche the times of hiding our magic, our healing capacities, our truth and our power. Many women have been taught to distrust their own intuition and to compete with each other. What if women all over the world started looking to each other for inspiration, support, and truly wanting to see each other flourish? What if we said YES to our magic and shared our soul medicine with the world? This is my big hope.
Sianna: I have already encountered one of my main fears, which came with launching Urban Priestess â how do we promote in the modern day world such a deeply personal and soulful journey without it seeming like spiritual materialism or more New Age consumerism? This has been tricky and there was tough feedback along the way and some harsh criticism too. The internet and social media have created such a vast network and we can reach each other more than ever before, yet itâs challenging to convey the real essence of something so genuine in oneâs heart through the lens of marketing. Now that itâs launched, I feel much more at ease and know that I am answering the call of my divine lifeâs purpose through this program.
KG: What is the best way to fully immerse oneself in this program and reap the most fruit?
Sianna: In any form of immersion, the most integrated way to learn is to spend a little time each day steeping in the studies. Some days will be a few minutes and other days a few hours. We will offer practical daily remembrances that every woman can do in her everyday schedule and more in depth embodiments, depending on what the woman is choosing for her program. The online course can be worked through in your own time and the live retreats will require more commitment and dedication along the way. Each woman of Urban Priestess will be welcomed to unfold her journey at her own rate with encouragement to follow the flow that we are offering.
KG: How do women know if this program is a journey they want to take?
Sianna: A woman knows from inside. Women are very intuitive and can feel the tug on their hearts when something is truly calling them. If she feels her heart racing towards Urban Priestess, then she already knows.
KiraGrace: In your opinion, what does it look like for a woman to live in full freedom?
Sianna: She trusts in herself and knows her worth. She is established inwardly in her sovereignty and has an embodied intimacy with her feelings and intuition. She speaks with honesty and vulnerability. She yokes her power in service to the greater whole. She is empathic and sympathetic without losing her own boundaries. She holds space for whatever rises and falls with non-judgmental, loving awareness. She stands her ground when falsely accused and rises in the face of adversity as the empowerment of love and compassion. She is authentically herself, wild in her own way and at ease in her own skin. She knows she is sensual and sexy by the sheer force of her femininity. She supports and exalts others and honestly confronts her own envy. She is emotionally available, neither consumed by the immensity of her feelings nor dissociated from them. She shows up as herself, willing to see another personâs point of view and with a willingness to open her heart into life and grow. She chooses empowerment over victimhood and raises her voice for those who are not able to protect themselves. She runs with wolves, dances to the rhythm of her soul and sings out loud whenever she feels life surging through her. She is pulsing with creativity and steps out of her own way for Spirit to move through her.
Interested? Learn more about the Urban Priestess Mystery school here!
If you enjoyed this blog, check out our others like: "Prayer for a Pandemic" "Empowering Women Series: Octavia Raheem," “As I heal, my Ancestors heal," and "The Art of Aging Gracefully: Issue 2."