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
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.
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…
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.
LoveYourBrain yoga has been the single most positive experience that I’ve had during my recovery. I’ve been through over nine concussions and never found something that I could do to make myself feel better besides waiting it out and weathering the concussion storm.
Each year over 2.5 million people sustain a traumatic brain injury—from concussions to severe trauma—in the United States. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) often leads to physical weakness, balance problems, isolation, and depression that compromise quality of life. This is why we at the LoveYourBrain Foundation have launched a program to support TBI survivors and their caregivers to participate in gentle yoga and meditation classes tailored to their needs. Check out our website and resources.
Kevin Pearce Anjali Mudra
We are working to partner with yoga studios across the US to offer our program. Sabra, one of the amazing TBI survivors that we have met through our program in Burlington, Vermont, shared how she came to LYB Yoga and why it has resonated with her so deeply.
I signed up for LYB yoga by accident. This happy accident was the beginning of a part of my life that I truly cherish. I was so overjoyed to hear that I could attend six weeks of yoga classes with people that understood my injury. I desperately wanted to feel better and was excited to try this new option. Over my 12-year struggle with concussion, I had yet to be presented with an active recovery option. Most people tell you what you can’t do and LYB told me that I could do something and it was tailor made for me and my recovery!
While nursing myself back from concussions, trying new things or even revisiting activities has seemed impossible or painful. The normal arch of a day can cause immense amount of pain in the form of headaches, nausea, dizziness, whatever symptom of the day my brain decided to trigger. That pain instills a fear of trying new things. So, I was nervous and wondered how would yoga make me feel better? I reassured myself that a yoga studio was one of the only places in public that was guaranteed to be quiet, serene, non-judgment—simply put, a really safe space. I thought if the class wasn’t going well, I could just lay on my yoga mat in the middle of the studio and at least be around people for an hour. Knowing of how accepting yoga is, I felt better and unrolled my yoga mat; ready to try.
After the first class, I physically felt the same. For me, moving for an hour and feeling the same is absolutely huge! I could do this and not feel worse or slide backwards in any way! My spirits were lifted! After two classes, feeling the same stretched into a breakthrough. I forgot for an hour that I had a concussion and all the pain and anxiety melted away. Forgetting the injury and the pain is like peaking around the corner at feeling normal, and LYB yoga was the sole reason I turned that corner of my last concussion. I also felt—for the first time in two and a half months—no headaches and completely pain-free. These classes have become the reset button for my body and my pain levels. It’s absolutely incredible!
Our program meets TBI survivors where they are so that they can draw upon yoga’s myriad physical, emotional, and social benefits to support their healing. To make this a reality, we are conducting teacher training workshops to train yoga teachers how to effectively adapt yoga and meditation for the TBI community. We provide a curriculum that incorporates TBIfocused yoga and meditation best practices, class themes to foster resilience and compassion, and group discussion to build community. We are so grateful to be able to share our training as part of the Sedona Yoga Festival.
The LoveYourBrain Foundation is a social profit organization that aims to improve the quality of life for people affected by TBI. Our message—LoveYourBrain—embodies our positive approach to brain injury prevention, recovery, and health. Learn more about us and our yoga program here.
LoveYourBrain makes me smile. Just the thought of those three little words. It’s involuntary. I have to smile. I finally get to love my brain during a concussion. It’s possibility, positivity, caring, and feeling more normal.
LoveYourBrain Foundation will be part of the faculty for the Pre-Conference Training at SYF2016!
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.
Heather, 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!
We 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.
Attending 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.
Click HERE for the latest blog – “Magic Portal, Winter Solstice”
My shoes hiking in Sedona Nov 2014.
This is where I live, and all I see is grey… My body pulses with electricity like current that activates every fiber of my being. My mind begins to panic, yet it, receiving stimulus from my senses, should be reporting to me that everything is ok; there is no threat.
Then why do I just want to explode out of my body, so tense… ready for action, taut as a wire and pulsed to manage… something.
Iron 44 Crash Site (Aug 2008)
But, there is no threat. No something… just the grey, foggy, unreal reflection of what my eyes are seeing at that moment. Today, the tears came again finally when talking to a former colleague about the worst aviation fatality incident in wildland fire history. Iron 44. To me, it matters, yet the story is not necessary to tell. It was traumatic, stressful and life threatening. It involved fellow firefighters (9) perishing in the line of duty, in a horrible way. There was chaos and confusion. It all happened in an instant and the aftermath begins. Hundreds of people counting on me, depending on me to keep my shit together… So, I did.
And so does each and every First Responder, Police Officer, Wildland Firefighter, EMT, Paramedic, and all the likes… Volunteer or paid, these men and woman are the front lines of this countries community safety and well-being, risking life and limb, placing themselves in harms way, so that others may come through, whatever the threat may be. These people give all of themselves in selfless service; putting mind, body and spirit through enormous amounts of stress, trauma, fatigue, and physical and emotional extremes. These are our countries unsung heroes; veterans in service of managing domestic incidents.
In the line of duty, each and every service has it’s own very unique and distinctive threats and situations that personnel must deal with, along with the things that they will see and experience. Most people not in these lines of work, will likely have no idea what these men and woman face each day and the things they must do in order to do the work and keep their shit together. But, that will only matter if you choose to serve them and you begin to see the anguish and pain in their eyes. Then, empathy will be your friend and allow you to guide these fragmented beings into a place of peace.
I can now officially say, I have suffered from PTSD. It has had a debilitating effect on my life, relationships, work… absolutely every aspect of life. I have experienced anxiety and panic attacks that have put me to my knees. I have had suicidal thoughts and put away sharp objects. It is very, very real. And, at the same time, it isn’t. I haven’t been on an incident in over 2 years and it has been 6 years since Iron 44. Every day stresses can put me over the edge and I have come to find out, that when that happens, something occurs in my neurophysiology that makes me believe I am back there, where the real stress and trauma happened. In that instant, now and then becomes a reality that at times, I can witness and talk myself through. Others, I can’t and then it is freak out city…
No human being should have to experience this… No One should have to wonder each day if today’s the day I lose it… Hurt my family, my friends… Loved ones.
Will today be a good day or a bad day… Will something trigger me and I lose track to where I am… That there is no danger right now… Yet all my physiology is reporting to my messed up mind is DANGER… And my body knows no different.
I can’t tell you how disturbing it is… How powerless and lost it makes me feel. And how enormous the climb out of this pit of despair looks…
That is the conundrum… Life goes on… Passing me by.
So, here’s the thing: the efficacy of Yoga, Meditation and other mindfulness practices as treatment and prevention has been beyond proven in our scientific community, as well as described in the ancient texts of this thousands of years old science. Whether known, diagnosed or not, our community service men and woman are, will or have a strong likelihood to experience some form of Post-Traumatic Stress and its related illnesses and mood disorders. Having experienced first hand the devastating effects this issue can have on peoples lives, on families and communities, I strongly believe that no one should have to suffer from these cumulative stresses that have such profound effects on the human body, mind and spirit.
Program Director, Olivia Kvitne
We have the ability to manage this; there are many tools available, most rooted in Yoga, Meditation & Mindfulness. We have the infinite ability to heal. Our bodies, minds and spirit ,life itself, imbibed through form known as I… This is an energetic fact. As the sky is Blue, Mark Whitwell would say. Undeniable. So, how do we get there? “This training bridges the gap between the yoga community and a population that may not have considered yoga as an effective and accessible tool to address their needs,” says Olivia Kvitne, Program Director of this year’s SYF Gives Back training. “I am proud to bring together top authorities in psychology, neuroscience and trauma-sensitive yoga to create a down-to-earth and science-based yoga system that can benefit our nation’s everyday heroes.”
But, how weird is that? There can be resistance from this population, so used to suppressing and muscling through.
Exec. Dir. GBYF, Rob Schware
Rob Schware, Executive Director of Give Back Yoga Foundation says, “No one should feel weird about doing yoga, especially first responders who experience injury, trauma, and death. This is the first intensive training to mobilize hundreds of yoga teachers and yoga therapists to come out of their studios and offices and bring their knowledge and skills into police and fire departments.
So, again, here’s the thing: there is no “my trauma is better/worse than your trauma…” or “just power through it…” or “it can’t happen to me…” or “I’m Fine…” Cause matters not. Trauma and stress-inducing incidents, that often involve actual life threat create the same physiological response. And, therein, lies the solution.
One faculty member, Bhava Ram aka Brad Willis, is a former award winning network news war correspondent. A broken back ended his career. After a subsequent diagnosis of terminal cancer he embraced mind/body/spirit medicine and the deeper sciences of Yoga and Ayurveda, through which he ultimately healed against all odds. As a yoga teacher he now shares the message that we all have the inner power to heal. “As one who was on the front lines of conflicts and crises in Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa and Central America, I can attest to the fact that yoga gave me the strength to lift myself out of an abyss of profound physical and mental anguish and ultimately find new meaning and purpose in life.”
Me… back in the day, Mt Rainier NP, WA. (hiking in because 10 minutes earlier we almost crashed at the helispot…)
I am getting better. Over the years in service there were perhaps 100’s of close calls, life threats, death, trauma and stress, I just buried it all, apparently. I have sought help and receive enormous support from my family, friends and community. I have personally experienced the wisdom and guidance of Bhava Ram and with his, and many others assistance am making progress. There is a solution… and I invite you to please share, comment, post, repost, talk about in your community and in general send out the blessings to these men and woman who put it on the line for us… May we never forget.
Marc Titus, Founder & Director
Sedona Yoga Festival
Former Wildland Firefighter & Aviation Manager on a SW Area Type 1 Incident Management Team
Time sure does fly quickly when you’re having fun! We are all working hard with stellar smiles on our faces and stars in our eyes as all the angels arrive and congregate to get this festival ready for you to arrive and delight in the experience of your transformation.
As you can see from the schedule above, we have a lot more going on than the festival itself. There are lots of free things for the community to participate in at the Heart Center Vendor Village.
If you are attending the festival, this will be the location that you check-in for registration. To help that process go smoother, we ask that you print out your ticket for easy scanning.
Please bring your yoga mat, your shining faces, an open heart, and a clear mind!
Our Opening Experience is taking place–THIS EVENING at 6:30 p.m. in the Heart Center Vendor Village. If you haven’t already, please take a look at the beautiful work-of-art that just so happens to be our program, where you will find schedules, maps, local information and helpful guides moving through the festival. To view the program, click here.
Much like a heart, the Heart Center Vendor Village has a flow and rhythm that moves in and out of the vendor’s huts, registration, John Soderberg’s sculpting studio, the outdoor stage, around a pond and
reaching out to the limbs of free yoga classes, local eats and areas to breathe. Bundle up and get familiar with the yoga community that is already forming around us all to create that beautiful lift and rise of consciousness.
Starting at 7 p.m. Friday night at the Mary D. Fisher Theatre, filmmaker Suzanne Bryant presents her film, “YOGA IS a Transformational Journey” . Through this journey, Suzanne meets the most prominent Yoga Gurus and teachers in the west and travels to India to explore the power of this ancient practice. Along the way she discovers what YOGA IS. Be sure not to miss her Tea Time Fireside chat on Sunday at L’Auberge Cottage from 3:30pm to 5:00 p.m.
Chris Spheeris will moderate Friday evening where he will show his short film, “Facets of Infinity” that has been ten years in the making. A collection of stills of cacti and succulents folding into mandalas and kaleidoscopes come alive in the perfect setting of Sedona. Be sure not to miss his other offerings, including his inspirational workshop, “All you have to do is Listen” .