What was your intial experience with yoga?
The first yoga class that really captivated me was a power flow style with Sarah Powers. I was young – still in college, and a dedicated runner and climber at the time. Yoga was poetry for the body. In my attempts to find a class / teacher similar to Sarah, I stumbled into Ahimsa Ashram in Washington, DC and found kundalini yoga- which felt like rocket fuel to me. Some 30 years later, I am still enchanted with kundalini and the incredible power of the practice to transform. And, I still love flowing vinyasa and many other styles. I think of myself as a “yoga universalist” – I love all the lineages and paths deeply but kundalini is the maha (great) practice of my heart, the one that I do every day, no matter what.
Photo courtesy of Sierra Hollister.
What do you find most rewarding about teaching yoga?
It’s funny … even though I’ve been teaching for almost 30 years – I always think of myself as “sharing” yoga rather than “teaching”. I think that we ARE yoga; that the union of body, mind and spirit is our true state. As far as I can tell, the time we spend on our mats is about remembering our way back to our true selves ~ where we experience our infinity, awaken again and again to our deep connection not only with ourselves, but with each other, all beings, all life.
What happens on the mat is only the tip of the iceberg … this practice is 24/7. We get to wake up every day and start all over in our efforts to embody the practice – to live it. Yoga is the map to the deepest part of your heart, the deepest part of you – to illuminate that for another person in any way, however small – is the deepest
honor, the ultimate privilege. Those little glimmer moments when you’ve been instrumental to someone feeling that connection, whether it’s feeling better in their body, better in their lives, hopeful about the world …. that’s everything.That’s the reward.
Rumi wrote “Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground”. Sharing the practice of yoga is one of the ways that I kneel and kiss the ground.
Ardha Chandra Chapasana “Sugarcane Pose” Photo courtesy of Sierra Hollister.
Do you have a favorite yoga pose?
Ahh – guilty! I give my best effort at loving whichever pose I am in, at any given moment and yet, I am drawn again and again to Ardha Chandra Chapasana (Sugarcane). It unlocks something within me… some holy river of joy and so I keep going back for more.
Sierra Hollister is a mother, a runner, a devoted yoga student and wildly, deeply, madly in love with gorgeous earth, along with the moon and the sun. Sierra is an E-RYT 500 as well as a YACEP. Sierra teaches at Asheville Yoga Center, West Asheville Yoga Center, Warren Wilson College and is a featured teacher on the Yoga International platform. Sierra‘s first book, Moon Path Yoga, was published this past Autumn by Shambhala Publications. Sierra is certified in kundalini, ashtanga, vinyasa, and yin yoga (1000’s of hours of certifications!) as well as trauma sensitive practices. Sierra co-founded a non-profit – Light a Path – to bring somatic modalities to all populations lacking access- including people who are incarcerated, people in recovery and people lacking financial means.