Photo By: Wari Om

2020 Vision: Clarity Of Purpose

Setting Your Intention for a Meaningful Decade

It’s Resolution Season, y’all! Which means for the next six weeks or so, it will be virtually impossible to enjoy a nice meal with your newly minted (and probably temporary) vegan/paleo/keto/whatever friends. But now that it’s officially 2020, your friends at Sedona Yoga Festival would like to suggest digging a little bit deeper than quitting carbs, starting a compost garden, or whatever it is you’ve decided to forego or build this year.

It’s a shiny new decade, after all—and that gives us all an incredible opportunity to fill our tabula rasas with brand-new intention for the next 10 years. Now, we’re not against carb cutters and whatnot; there is absolutely nothing wrong with resolving to live a healthier life. But did you know: simply having a defined life purpose can be good for your health, too? Multiple studies suggest that the pursuit of meaning supports a deeper and longer-lasting (eudaimonic) sense of well-being than living a more self-centered (hedonic) life.

Born in Fire

For those of us here at Sedona Yoga Festival, finding that sense of purpose was not only nurturing on a deeply personal level; it also helped to foster physical and spiritual healing for hundreds of total strangers. And, like so many transformation stories—with narratives crossing multiple spiritual disciplines—it all started with a fire. In Hindu mythology, the fire god Agni is an agent of wisdom and rebirth. But as always, transformation is not without discomfort.

For many years, conference co-founder Marc Titus was a trained wildland firefighter and served as Air Support Group Supervisor/Helibase Manager on the SW Area Type 1 Incident Management Team. It’s not like his life didn’t have purpose. He had dedicated himself to a life of service, protecting life, property and resources from catastrophic wildland fire: a job that requires perseverance and no small amount of personal risk. Then, during the catastrophic California Firestorm of 2008, in what is believed to be the worst aviation loss-of-life incident in wildland firefighting history, a helicopter went down. Nine wildland firefighters—Marc’s brothers in fire—lost their lives.

Photo By: Wari Om

Yogi, Heal Thyself

For the next seven days, Marc helped to manage the heartbreaking aftermath of this horrific accident—which lived at the heart of an equally horrific natural disaster. And then, for the next 10 years, he struggled with a level of physical, emotional and spiritual chaos he couldn’t begin to understand. He didn’t have the language to express what was happening inside him. The people close to him struggled, as well; he was difficult to work with…to live with…to be with. But he got help. Ultimately, it took a 40-day stint in a psychological treatment center to even begin unpacking the mysteries of Marc’s significant post-traumatic stress disorder. 

Understanding PTSD—and getting the help he needed to rise from the ashes of his trauma—quite literally saved Marc’s life. Trauma-resilient yoga was a big part of the ongoing solution. So, years later, when Sedona Yoga Festival was in its infancy, festival co-founders Marc and Heather made it their mission to help others step out of the darkness. Today, our Yoga for PTSD Training has trained hundreds of teachers to help people living with PTSD. 

This life-changing immersion is a complete 20-hour certification track offering training in all the ways yoga benefits trauma survivors. Based on the understanding that trauma is held in our cells—that it’s physiological rather than psychological—our curriculum is rooted in yoga’s ability to heal the communication between mind and body with conscious breath, movement and concentration in a safe, secure and supportive environment.

What is it YOU Plan to Do? 

We’re fortunate to have an incredible platform with which to spark healing on a grand scale. And, from the beginning, our Yoga for PTSD training has provided us with a meaningful way to give back to the communities that have supported us for so many years—from Marc’s firefighting peers and other first responders to our Sedona neighbors and the global community of yogis that has enfolded us over the past decade or so.

Maybe you’ve already got a favorite cause; if that’s the case, it’s the perfect time to recommit yourself to making a difference there. But if you don’t—yet—what a blessing! We encourage you to explore new ways to share your energy this coming year…and all the years after that. As renowned nature poet Mary Oliver once said, “Tell me—what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

Read more about PTSD and Marc’s journey here.

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