sierra hollister

last best book ~

This review originally ran on Yoga City NYC's page . Check out their "Must Read Book Club".

Sierra Hollister: Strand’s book is about our relationship to the dark, to the organic night without artificial lighting. It's about the consequences of not having the dark and how this is impacting not only our health, but also the health of our planet. It's a fairly quick and easy read and I found myself reading out loud, to whomever might be in the room as it was always fascinating enough to share. 

YCNYC: Favorite quote?

SH:  “All time is ancestral time. We stand atop Mothers and Fathers without end. Waking up in the dark helps us to remember that great reality, and helps us to remain connected to it once we do.”

YCNYC: What one person would you recommend this book to?

SH:  Humphry Davy, the creator of the first electric light in 1800.

YCNYC: What moment or part resonates with you the most?

SH: My favorite part of the book might be where he quotes from the Song of Songs- “I sleep, but my heart is awake”. This section of the book is about the time between what Strand refers to as “our two sleeps”. This was the time when we would turn to our beloved and share ourselves or perhaps turn inward and communicate with the divine from our deepest selves. There was no real fear of the dark as the dark was natural, part of the cycle and full of love and the mystical. 

This book is full of eloquent reminders of what our hearts know, what our souls know but what we have lost in our modern, busy lives. Reading this book has been an affirmation, moment after moment of remembering what I know in my deepest self: that the natural world holds the key to our wellness in more ways than we can begin to guess. 

You can purchase Waking Up to the Dark, Ancient Wisdom for a Sleepless Age here.

Have a Must-Read book to recommend? Email us here.

—Interview by Allison Richard


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

golden milk

Like the recipe for Yogi Tea, I learned this recipe from Yogi Bhajan. Golden Milk is every bit as delicious and nourishing as Yogi Tea. Golden Milk is the beverage to drink that will address those aches and pains in your body. Yogi Bhajan taught that this recipe is good for the spine as well as all the joints in the body.
Be careful working with the turmeric as it can stain materials. Below is the recipe for a cup of Golden Milk as well as the way to make a half a gallon at a time.
For one cup:                1/8 tsp. turmeric (heaping)
                                    ¼ cup of water
                                    8 oz. milk (can be cow or soy or rice or almond)
                                    2 tblspn. Raw almond oil (optional)
                                    Honey to taste
Boil the turmeric in the water for about 8 minutes. You are looking for a thick paste. You can add more water if you need to- the operative word being “paste”. In another pan, gently heat the milk and almond oil. If you are omitting the almond oil then warm just the milk. When the milk comes just under boiling, remove from heat and mix into the turmeric paste. Add the honey to taste. For me, the honey is a key part of the Golden Milk appeal. I am not a fan of the taste of turmeric alone. If it is summer time and you feel resistant to a hot beverage, you can add the honey to the hot turmeric paste and then add the milk at room temperature, stirring well.
To make half a gallon, increase turmeric to a heaping teaspoon, water to 2 cups, milk to 8 cups and almond oil to 16 tablespoons. You can also mix up the paste and then refrigerate it until you would like to use it. The paste will keep in the refrigerator for up to 40 days.
This drink is really quite delicious and I always feel that I am nourishing my bones and body when I drink it. There are many, many studies that verify the health claims made about turmeric. The primary active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin. Recent research has shown that turmeric:
            *addresses the pain and stiffness of arthritis
            *decreases the inflammation caused by arthritis
            *could be an effective tool in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease
            *inhibits the growth of cancer
            *delays liver damage that can lead to cirrhosis
All I know is that I feel a difference in my body and my yoga when I add Golden Milk to my weekly diet. Many of the studies about the health benefits of turmeric are readily accessible online as well as other recipes for enjoying turmeric. Next time you are in the supplement aisle of your local co-op or health food store, scan the labels of supplements- many of them contain turmeric. It is almost always better to boost your health and nutrition through whole foods and whole beverages than supplements.
An overview published in Advanced Experimental Medical Biology in 2007 attributes Turmeric with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anticancer properties. It would seem that a little Golden Milk can go a long way.