From Presents to Presence… the best gift of All.

From Presents to Presence… the best gift of All.

This is part 3 of a multipart blog series.  Click here to read part 1.

It’s time…  the glory and the chaos of the holidays is drawing to a close; the new year is ahead now and our sight may drift to the future as we contemplate where we’ve been and where we would like to go… in presence.

Where do you want to go?

This time of year is universal in its opportunity to grow and expand our horizons; to find an inner solace that soothes the past in hopes of wiping the slate clean.  We all carry baggage; our  bodies often bearing the scars of times past and humanity as a whole has come to see the New Year as the time for fresh starts and letting go…

On the heels of Christmas (I grew up celebrating this time of year in this way), I think we have an Aumazing Opportunity!  I mean, let’s think about it…  The Spirit of the Holidays is the same, regardless of the Holiday one celebrates… Presence.

“Be like Him that we celebrate today… regardless of race, religion or creed; kindness and compassion. Love everlast.”

Spirit…  The Life Force, Consciousness.  God.  Whatever you choose to call it, even whether or not you choose to acknowledge it, it exists and is the very fabric of reality that weaves us all together in inexplicable ways. 


But, what does it want?

I have come to see, through a lifetime of empirical studies, my path, that it, ultimately wants nothing more than to expand into new territories of experience, and we, the human being, appearing to be its most advanced avatar, must realize that in its omnipresence it could not possibly want to destroy us, rather it is the giver of LIFE and without it I could no longer write, sit, think, or type, nor could it experience itself expanding through me anymore…  Why would it want to harm me, let alone any of its Creations?

Yet, we look around us today and there is such uncertainty and fear… tumultuous times, I have said often, even now, this Holiday Season, humanity seems to be walking the razor’s edge, precipice on either side, wondering when it all may come crumbling down.

I awoke today, the day after Christmas, with a slight panic…  like, something is wrong, and yet, I know this is not true.  It means something is out of balance within me, the scales tipped to the darker side of consciousness where fear and uncertainty live and after looking deep inside, again I find my solace; my peace.  Presence.  Om Shanti.

I have come to realize that  I HAVE A HUGE PART TO PLAY IN ALL THIS.  (and so do you… it turns out.) 

You see, my teachers have all told me, as have pretty much ALL the saints, sages and masters that have come before, that I (and you… ) are Happiness itself… Joy itself… Love itself… BLISS… ANANDA…  Ecstasy.

I have experienced this to be true, maybe you have too!  Fleeting at times, yet  when I release all the stress and trappings of our modern ways,  quiet my mind, purify my body and tune into my Souls’ voice… Peace is there.  Joy is there.  Happiness is there.  Presence.

Mark Whitwell tells us that if we come away from our practice in any other state than described above, then we aren’t  doing yoga….  I laugh out loud at this now, as it sinks in…

And like a ton of bricks it hits me (again)…  head in palm…

I don’t go to my practices to seek aggravation, frustration, anger, or fear… those only exist in my fragmented and unbalanced mind, body and spirt…. NOPE!!!!  what happens when I find my way… my balance… is undeniably PEACE…. Happiness, Joy Itself.

THEREFORE… that is the underlying reality for ALL OF US…

So, we have our work cut out for us… and to be true it is our work… your work.  Mine.

Focussed practice ahead!  Presence.

It is time…. that we come hOMe.

(I am planning to do a spiritual detox and total body cleanse beginning in the next few days…it has helped me in the past to gain, presence and clarity… let me know in the comments if you would like to join in!  and Click here to see part 1 in this multi-part blog series!)


What happens at Sedona Yoga Festival? What can you expect?

What happens at Sedona Yoga Festival? What can you expect?

Photo: Alan Alcid Yogi’s Vo Vera & LaMonte Goode Inverted in the Vortex

What can you expect at SYF2017…?

Photo: Alan Alcid Yogini Taylor Kurz

Photo: Alan Alcid Yogini Taylor Kurz

Well, the conference and festival itself evolves each year so there’s lots we will be unfolding in late September about the Who, What, When,and Where of it all. But the WHY remains steady. We create and nurture this platform and the relationships built within and around it for the purpose of uplifting and expanding human consciousness and providing Sedona transformations with a focus on yoga and meditation.
SYF is accessible to all, and there is truly an access point for the newest beginner as well as in depth networking, studying, practice, and continuing education opportunities for the professional.  We believe this intermingling leads to authentic and powerful interactions.
Photo: Alan Alcid Taylor Kurz @ Bell Rock Vortex... Flying.

Photo: Alan Alcid Taylor Kurz @ Bell Rock Vortex… Flying.

Have a look at the SYF2016 pages to get a taste of what’s to come in March 2017. We hope you will join us in Sedona, where the magic happens…
March 2016 Sedona Yoga Festival overview
March 2016 Presenters
March 2016 Schedule
March 2016 Yoga for PTSD training
March 2016 pre/post conference overview
If you’re curious how we’ve evolved over the years, there’s a complete archive menu over on the “About Us” page.
Stay curious, friend.



SYF2017 Festival Promo Postcard2  SYF2017 Festival Promo Postcard




Consciousness Unfolding – the Creation of Transformation.

Consciousness Unfolding – the Creation of Transformation.

I have been watching a dear brother on the path lately… Nick Hansinger, co-founder of Source Movement  has been laying it down, Realzies these past several weeks.  I have been inspired. There is something deeply profound available to each and every one of us, literally right now.  The conundrum, oft mistaken as the Truth, exists in only the fact that humanity has become sensitized to a perception of reality, created over millennia, that is incongruous to… ‘what is really going on.’

Consciousness is seeking to take the leap and open into new experiences predicated upon soulfully divined and deeply intuited inspirations.  We can all feel it.  That deep knowing that propels oneself towards ease and grace in all that they endeavor in the world.  The Divine support lended to that one, steadfast in Truth, is what most would call Miraculous.

We have evolved and will continue to explore the edge throughout time, and yet, the ancient scriptures and mythology points to a human experience much likened to human challenges we face today.  We don’t have to reinvent the wheel.  Yogis have gone before us and smoothed the path to our enlightenment; to our awakening.  It is clearly defined and we are forging it anew in this fiery transformation of consciousness itself.

logowwwHeather, myself and the SYF Team have created the platform for your transformation.  SYF, a consciousness evolution conference is truly the environment for exceptional growth and change… a transformation into the next phase of your life experience.  Whether you have decades of practice or you are just drawn out of curiosity to this notion of a ‘good life’, SYF will meet you right where you are, impeccably providing the perfect teachers and classes to take you to the next level.  Newcomers to yoga can experience Master Yoga Teachers, adept at conveying the simplicity of the practice, along with the astounding benefits of a yogic lifestyle, to all levels of experience.

The lineup of presenters, speakers and special guests, each bringing unique and authentic perspectives, were selected to share the many and varied ways to begin or expand a yoga practice.  With over 77 presenters and 150 workshops, the fourth annual Sedona Yoga Festival is something to experience.

Our collective experience, cradled in the Sedona energies, will be filled with opportunities to release into the highest and best you.  Yoga, meditation, mindfulness, pranayama, energy medicine, kirtan, and more will be the landscape of transformation amidst the spectacular backdrop of red rock country.  Sunrise asana and meditation on the lawn, plenary speakers, forums, workshops & classes, blissful kirtans and a World Peace Meditation led by monks of the Dhammakaya Foundation and the World Peace Initiative’s Peace Revolution Project.  We are the first ever United States event, blessed and supported by World Peace Architect, Dulce Ruby.  SYF2016 will launch you into the stratosphere!

SYF Gives Back Logo 2016We have taken SYF Gives Back to new levels this year as well. Traumatic Stress: Resiliency and Healing with Yoga unites masters in the field of PTSD and Trauma and presents a holistic, deep dive training in the use of yoga, mindfulness, meditation, and other proven methods to alleviate the symptoms and heal the roots of post traumatic stress and trauma related illnesses. On the heels of previous years service projects aimed at supporting Yoga For Veterans and Yoga For First Responders, we recognize that the human physiological response to trauma is universal, regardless of the experience.  This years training will provide proven methods to heal and resolve past trauma, alleviate and eliminate symptoms and lead a more stable and resilient life, along with expert instruction on all aspects of trauma and its affects on the human being.  Focus groups, panels and expert testimonial to bring cultural competency various fields in need. i.e law enforcement, fire service, nurses, abuse survivors, etc.

shoes in sedonaAttending this pre-event training will prepare you to be in service to your family or community if you choose and/or provide insight,  awareness and solutions towards the very real and oft debilitating effects of Post-Traumatic Stress.

Dharma. Service in Action.

Click Here for more information about pre/post-festival experiences.

This is the yoga event not to be missed!  Feel into it and sense the Sedona experience that awaits you.  You will be ever so glad you did.



Blast from the Past, Paving the way to the 2016 Sedona Yoga Festival

Blast from the Past, Paving the way to the 2016 Sedona Yoga Festival

Marc and Heather Pondering

That’s us… Pondering… Well, I am Pondering, Heather is looking cool. On our way to another EPICasana experience at SYF2016!

Every year, as we deepen the experience of the Sedona Yoga Festival, there comes that time when we sit and ponder how it all began and where we are today.  SYF has become an event not to miss; it has marked the transformation of many a yogi these past 3 years.  In the beginning we saw an epic experience, situated in the Heart of Sedona, AZ that cradled the participant in the healing energetics and allowed for a truly transformative experience. Well, the Sedona Yoga Festival has become that and much, much more. 

The 2016 Sedona Yoga Festival is rapidly becoming THE yoga festival to attend next year. Whether you have never done yoga or you have practiced meditation and asana your whole life, there will be something for YOU!  Save the Dates and/or get your tickets at Early-Bird Pricing now because you will not want to miss out on this. Some big announcements are coming shortly, but for now, just cruise through the website to see what is coming so far… We have added little bits and pieces, so you yogi sleuths out there can start to imagine just how awesomenasana SYF2016 is shaping up to be.

We’ll leave you with a big blast from the past; Yogini Silvia Mordini honors us with her experience of the inaugural SYF2013.  See ya in the ethers, dear friends.

Marc & Heather

First Penguins at Sedona Yoga Festival

February 8, 2013. Feels a little bit like the first day at a brand new school. Starting today, I am presenting at the Sedona Yoga Festival to a whole new group of yogis. It is my first time teaching in Arizona (although I’ve taken many a workshop/training here in my Anusara days).

As always before teaching, my thoughts turn to how will I best touch the hearts and minds of my students.  What will they think? Will they understand me? Regardless of your experience, Yoga Teachers still get nervous. I may have over 11,000 hours of teaching experience but today will be my first hour in the teacher’s seat at this first ever Festival!

One of my biggest strengths is my humanness. After leading 15 RYT200 Teacher Trainings, I work hard to keep myself off the pedestal and keep things real. I am imperfect, fallible, sometimes quirky, certainly silly, and a bit earnest when it comes to manifesting happiness. Being born in Ecuador to an Italian father and Ecuadorian mother only adds to my uniqueness.

yoga2If you know anyone in Sedona coming to the festival, applaud them! They—like me—are First Penguins. The first penguin is a term coined by the late Carnegie Mellon Professor Randy Pausch who offered his last lecture there when he was dying of cancer. Here is one of his key pieces of advice: Be the first penguin.  “I encouraged students to attempt hard things and not to worry about failing…failure is not just acceptable, it’s often essential.”

Pausch rewarded his students who took the biggest risk with a stuffed penguin representing how when a group of penguins takes to the water, one of them has to take the FIRST plunge.  If that penguin survives in the potentially predator filled, dangerous water, then the other penguins follow.

I am grateful to everyone involved with Sedona Yoga Festival. It is heroic to manifest—from nothing—an entire yoga festival, replete with teachers, searchers and healers from all over the world. To every single attendee, presenter, volunteer, and staff, I present you the First Penguin Award!  Thank You Silvia!!!

You are magnificent and your courage to jump into the water not knowing what will happen is inspiring. And that is why I am proud to be involved—even if I am also a bit nervous.

To those who are considering doing something that really scares you this year, be encouraged.  Manifest your biggest dream! The world needs more First Penguins in yoga, in art, in science, in relationships, in life.  Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia


ABOUT SILVIA MORDINI, Happiness Coach, Yogipreneur, lululemon ambassador, manduka ambassador

Enthusiasm to love your life is contagious around Silvia.  Her expert passion connects people to their own joyful potential.  Silvia lives her happiness in such a big way that you can’t help but leave her classes, workshops, trainings and retreats spiritually uplifted!  Born in Ecuador, raised traveling around the globe she is an enthusiastic citizen of the world and spiritual adventurer. She is a long-time Experienced Yoga Teacher (E-RYT) with over 10,000 hours of teaching experience, owned a yoga studio for 9 years and has been teaching and practicing yoga over the last 15 years after being run over by a car and using it to recover physically and emotionally. Silvia will be leading a Tuscan Adventure in Happiness week long retreat in June 2013 and an Amalfi Coast Wellness Adventure in July 2013 as well as offering her Alchemy of Yoga RYT200 Yoga Teacher Training in Costa Rica this August 2013. Silvia is currently writing a book about Prescriptions for Happiness and has a popular blog called Loving Your Life, along with producing her “Loving Your Day” videos. 

Connect with Silvia Mordini:

Web: or

Email at

Twitter @alchemytours @inspiredyogagal

Facebook Silvia Mordini (

How Gratitude Improves Our Well-Being

thank-you-road-signWe make a point during this time of year to outwardly express gratitude for the good things in our lives. Some take to social media or a journal each day to write about something  for which they are thankful, while others specify time for prayer with the theme of gratitude. There seems to be no limit to the quotes, blogs, images, and articles (like this one) available on the topic.

As yogis we often advocate making gratitude a year-round practice. But what is the best way to incorporate gratitude into daily living, and what makes it worth the effort?

Gratitude is all about perception. As an example, think of the classic “glass-half-full or glass-half-empty” conundrum. One aspect of our yoga practice is learning to become observers of our thoughts and feelings so that we may avoid feeling consumed by the deleterious effects of negative thoughts and emotions. By becoming not the subject, but the observer of our inner monologues, we can alter our perception of transient events, and therefore decide whether to let them affect us in negative or positive ways. Gratitude is a strong positive emotion that we can choose to express whether we really feel it or not. But why work so hard to act grateful at times when we don’t feel grateful? What about when we are stuck in a doom-and-gloom mental cycle, and it seems impossible to think of anything good happening now or in the future?

read more…

Turkey with a Side of Gratitude!

Once upon a time a group of Pilgrims sailed from England to America to start a new life that included freedom. The independence they sought provided them with the liberty to believe what they wanted to believe and live the way they wanted to live. However, they were faced with many challenges and hardship, often resulting in death.

In the kinship of human kindness, the Natives of the land decided to lend a helping hand. First-thanksgiving-150x150They taught the Pilgrims how to grow and hunt for food, treat illness and care for their families. To show thanks, the Pilgrims invited the Natives to a three day dinner —the first Thanksgiving.

As we have continued to celebrate Thanksgiving for nearly 400 years, we have come to associate this special day with elaborate meals, parties, watching sports and everything else in between. Unfortunately, these lavish celebrations are also often accompanied by unnecessary stress and over exaggerated indulgences.

So how has the celebration of expressing our gratitude for the kinship of human spirit become secondary to the excesses we now know as Thanksgiving? How did it become turkey with a side of gratitude?

…read the rest on Denise’s blog


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