All Together Now: The Power of Intentional Community
The biggest question of our time just might be “What does Unity look like?” Spanning in-person connection, video connection, text connection, and phone connection, there are plenty of ways for us to come together and explore what it means to be in a shared or unified space. And yet while technology has brought us closer together across the globe, we are still facing so much division internationally, intra-nationally, and societally. The theme for SYF2024, All Together Now, asks us to ruminate on this: Despite being more “connected” than ever, our world is still largely defined by what separates us. How does Yoga help?
Yoga, of course, is a practice of unity, an exploration of what it means to link body and breath, thoughts and movements, stillness and evolution. It can be a deeply personal and private endeavor, but is one most effectively explored with the support and guidance of experienced teachers and community. So what happens when we come together in intention and consciousness?
There’s no shortage of studies on the power of togetherness, and as we all continue to emerge into a post-pandemic lockdown reality, there are no shortage of personal anecdotes on the importance of face-to-face togetherness, either. As writer Gretchen Kelly eloquently puts it for The Good Men Project:
There’s something special that happens when people come together. There’s a humanity in showing up to share an experience. There’s connection with people who are otherwise strangers. It gives me hope every time I go to a show. Hope because there is power in people. There is energy and strength in being united and finding a common purpose. Hope because for all of our differences, there are times when we can come together and make something incredible happen. Hope because we are all broken, flawed, beautiful people just trying to make it in this world.
As you explore what All Together Now means personally for you, we invite you to consider the following:
How do we hold each other in community as we walk our unique paths?
What tools and practices and networks support us in evolution of the collective consciousness as well as our own?
How do the two interplay and are in fact one and the same?
How do we together build the future and how do our collective and individual actions in the now serve to co-create that future?
What does yoga have to offer us to support the will and energy required to build a just and abundant world joyfully while navigating the many crises we face together as one human family in the company and respect of our plant and animal neighbors?
Never has it been more compelling for us to proactively create — in our unique way — toward the collective goal of peace, equanimity, and compassion. The Sedona Yoga Festival is an opportunity to co-create the future you want to see, and that begins with togetherness. We can’t wait to be together with you in March!
by Lisette Cheresson, SYF Communications Director
photo by Ty Dobbs
The autumnal equinox is upon us — the moment of equal parts light and dark, night and day; the moment when the world is in a state of balance, at least on its axis. It ushers in the changing of the seasons, a moment of transition from the levity and playfulness of summer to the beginning of a more introspective season brought on by those shorter days and nights.
Yoga is many things, of course, but can be at its foundation viewed as a practice of balance; both physical and metaphysical, in mind and in body, in philosophy and in practice.
The idea of balance is touted often in asana classes: classes are sometimes constructed entirely upon sequences that build to a peak balance pose. Instructors will often use postures such as Tree Pose to illustrate that the sense of inner calm necessary to hold the pose can be illustrative in other moments or challenges in life. The resiliency required by balancing asanas can be viewed in other contexts as lessons for living a more balanced life.
The more general teachings of yoga are also pertinent as we explore the idea of balance in practice. We seek the balance of integrated movement and breath. We aim to live a life in pursuit of service to others and in the knowing of our interconnectedness. When living in integrity of our dharma, we seek balance of personal goals with those of our human family as a whole. We are called to explore the balance of light and dark in our lives, and strive for living in the light even while acknowledging the shadow of our darkness.
Sutra 2.46, “sthira sukham asanam,” can be interpreted as a philosophical call to balance. It translates to an instruction that postures need be both steady and easeful; that when we come to practice meditation or asana, we are seeking that balance of effort and ease. We open our minds and hearts to meditation when we are able to sink into our breath, and be fully in the present, without being aware of pain or unease in our physical bodies. We are in the most expressive version of asana when we are steady and still in our expression — not when we hit the most “advanced-looking” version. The balance of ease and effort defines the way that we integrate our yoga into our selves, and informs the way these lessons show up in our everyday lives.
And so, on this autumnal equinox, may you find both comfort and inspiration in your practice, and in the natural world as we tip the scales toward winter. Happy fall!
A philosophy for perfecting
through the art of the heart,
the timeless Truths of millennia
and graceful Goodness
to manifest our material matter
in harmony and healthful rhythm
to understand the Universe
to understand ourselves.
Ayurveda is the earliest form of medicine on our planet originating in India well over 5000 years ago. It was, at first, a Vedic oral tradition before it was eventually written down. From northern India, the knowledge and wisdom of Ayurveda spread and was modified as it expanded throughout the world. Ayurveda is the Big Bang of medicine.
Ayurveda for over 5000 years has continually valued what modern physics has shown to be reality—the foundation of life is consciousness and body or energy-matter, but the essence of life is the spirit-awareness, the “heart of matter” –part of the living cosmic web of life. Our lives are physics and poetry, matter and expression, context and awareness. It is this fundamental understanding and wisdom of all aspects of life that renders Ayurveda so valuable in maintaining our health.
The vital science and system of Ayurveda provides guidance for living in harmony with our inner, microcosmic, and outer, macrocosmic, environments as well as other beings around us. Ayurveda’s way of teaching us is very poetic, because life is poetic, with much more going on between the lines than is readily apparent by just the material facts themselves.
Ayurveda is unique in that it clearly informs us how to live in harmony with Nature. One may call it the original ecological worldview where the fundamental interdependence of all living systems is primary. Ayurveda encompasses all aspects of life—our physical bodies, our thoughts and emotions, our spiritual connections, our relationships and inter-relationships to each other and the other living systems in our environment. Ayurveda teaches us how to maintain a dynamic harmony with these concepts to maintain and regain our health.
The Five Phases of Ayurveda precisely and poetically, describes the energetic processes that are inherent in the energy and matter of our bodies. The actions and experiential effects of the Five Phases transmit the chemical actions or potency of herbs and foods into our bodies to help us heal and maintain our health. Ayurveda’s foundational theory of the Five Phases combine in different ways to constitute our doshas. Learning the roots of the Five Phases gives us a more profound understanding of our doshas.
Explore more Ayurveda techniques, recipes, and foundational philosophy with Judyth and many more at SYF2023 April 27–30! Passes available here.
Nature Beyond Threads: Artful Designs Inspired by Nature’s Beauty
Nature Beyond Thread‘s activewear are original designs curated by founder Noelle Kristine’s captivating photographs of stunning natural landscapes, encountered during her global travels. The images evoke a sense of tranquility, serenity, and harmony. Scientifically, looking at pictures of nature speeds up mental restoration and improves cognitive functioning — as well as restoring focus, reducing depression, and improving our overall mood. This means that stepping into NBT’s activewear will not only help you remember to ground throughout the day; gazing at the intricate patterns of nature on your body will also help put you in a better mood and help restore focus. Their activewear also serves as a much needed, gentle reminder that you ARE nature — fashioned from the very same particles as the powerful ocean, grains of sand, ridged mountains, starry skies, and rippling plains.
Their distinctive clothing line transforms these mesmerizing landscapes into wearable masterpieces that allow individuals to showcase their love for nature while embodying a sense of adventure and exploration. Through NBT’s extraordinary creations, you’ll discover the perfect fusion of art, fashion and sustainability brought to life in their stunning active wear collections. Immerse yourself in the beauty and serenity of nature, masterfully woven into every garment and join their mission to create a world where style, nature and ethical practices unite to leave a lasting impact.
We caught up with Noelle to learn more about how this incredible brand came to be. Read on for more!
So cool that you drew inspiration from your travels to create NBT clothing. Is there a particular space or story that stands out to you?
I had been traveling alone with my camera for years, capturing the intricacies of remote regions and environments that were only visited by others, occasionally. The photos from these solo adventures are filled with excitement, enjoyment, and fond memories of all that I have experienced and the people that I have met along the way. Nonetheless, solo travel is, inevitably, an isolating experience. My landscapes invariably capture that isolation. Much like my own approach to life, landscapes that we see in places like National Parks are content with themselves, fearlessly independent, and unafraid of changing on their own time, at their own pace. They change slightly, slowly and cautiously, yet never make an excuse for their own growth and transformations. I am hoping that our designs will inspire exploration for others and for them to create their own personal connections to nature, people and art.
What’s a way nature / nature-inspired beauty has fostered a sense of connection or calm in your own life?
When I was younger at my family’s cabin in Lake Tahoe, my dad introduced me to skiing at Heavenly Mountain and that forever changed my view of the natural world. Even though I was terrified at the time, I was so mesmerized by the superb beauty of the jagged granite snow-capped mountains that surrounded me. I was in absolute awe of the epic setting and from that moment on I began to have a love for the outdoors and the feeling it gives me. I am at peace when sporting yoga pants and a backpack on an outdoor adventure. Beyond capturing its natural splendor, outside — among the dirt, trees, rocks, sand, water, grass, and flowers.
What inspired you to create “wearable nature?” Was there an “aha / eureka moment” for you?
After learning about the positive effects that nature and nature photography have on the brain, it sparked a sense of hope + inspiration when looking at my landscape photographs in the darkest depths of 2020. I decided to take this inspiration in my work to pursue it further. It’s important to recognize the power that nature has in our lives, and to find ways to incorporate it into our daily routines. Sustainable fashion became a passion of mine after researching the impact that fast fashion is having on our planet. I loved the idea that this seamlessly blends some of my other passions such as landscape photography and the great outdoors. I also love that it has relived my adventures while inspiring others.
What do you want people to feel when they wear NBT clothing?
Our imaginative approach offers customers an opportunity to stand out from the crowd and showcase their passion for art and nature. Wearing NBT is not just about style; it’s also about sharing a story and connecting with a global community of like-minded individuals who value the planet and its diverse beauty. Not only do we want them to feel calm and grounded throughout the day, but we also want women to feel empowered – Nature is Art, so we want them to become the art and unleash the artist within them.
Do you have a personal favorite piece or collection?
Of course, all are a personal favorite but when deciding which designs to choose for our launch, my Death Valley photographic collection stands out. The stark beauty of the landscape provides compositions, textures, patterns, and shapes that are both subtle and striking. In this collection, you can see how the landscape changes depending on the time of day and how the shifting light can transform the scene from ordinary to extraordinary with colors and shadows that dance across the landscape and the details within. For example, our designs named Mesquite and Sand Dunes sets are taken at the same location but at different times of the day. Mesquite was taken at sunset while Sand Dunes was taken at sunrise.
How often do you come out with new patterns/series?
We launched at the beginning of 2022 so it’s been a year pushing the first 11 designs to bring brand awareness and sharing our story. Nature Beyond Threads will be coming out with new patterns and collections this year.
Be entered to win a vacation to Vista Celestial by joining us for our 10-year anniversary celebration April 27–30! Passes are available here.
The name Costa Rica means “Rich Coast” because of the many rich metals throughout the country. Today, Costa Rica is known for its beaches, volcanos, beautiful waterfalls, oceanlife and biodiversity. The Osa Peninsula, on Costa Rica’s southern pacific coast, has been called by National Geographic one of the most biodiverse places on earth.
Statistics show that approximately 3.1 million people visited Costa Rica last year. You may be thinking, “Why do so many people want to visit?” Do people visit the beaches, waterfalls and ocean life? Of course! But they also come to find more. We believe that visitors come back year after year for the natural beauty of Costa Rica but also for the magical energy present the moment a visitor sets foot in the country. Many are looking for a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. They are looking for a place to connect to their inner selves and receive inspiration from the natural world. That pause and connection so many seek can be found walking in the lush rainforest mountainside, gazing at majestic ocean views, or walking along the vast and vacant beaches; all of which make up the natural setting that cradles our boutique resort called Vista Celestial.
With just five, beautiful and newly renovated 1000 sq/ft villas set on 13 acres of mountainside rainforest with sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean, Vista Celestial is the ultimate sanctuary. Each villa features a private patio and private plunge pool. Your private plunge pool is the perfect place to cool off and enjoy the view of the Whales Tail shoreline feature by day; or to heat to a hot tub and stargaze at night.
With its incredible geography and climate, it is no surprise that Costa Rica is home to a wide array of freshly grown produce, fish, and more. You will find fresh, locally grown food all over Costa Rica and Vista Celestial is no exception. Our chefs take inspiration from our orchard and gardens and prepare nightly specials that incorporate the freshest available ingredients to create world class cuisine. Their 6-course, Taste of Costa Rica, chef’s tasting menu is out of this world!!
Beyond the natural setting and luxurious villas, the Vista Celestial team is what (or who) really delivers the magic of Costa Rica. Their heart and soul is put into meeting your every need, accommodating your requests and anticipating and meeting needs before they are even verbalized. They will become your friends and you will leave with a new family.
A few of the special touches created by our amazing team include cool eucalyptus scented towels and refreshing juice upon arrival, yoga props artfully displayed for each yoga session, local treats placed in your villa to welcome you in, and local coffee (grown by our general manager on his farm!) available complimentary in your villa. The list of magical touches go on and on. Vista Celestial sets the stage and takes care of every need so you can enjoy all the magical and spiritual experiences that arise throughout your stay. We welcome families, couples, yoga retreats and those seeking the magic of Costa Rica and Pura Vida.
A Costa Rican phrase that embodies the magic you will find here is “Pura Vida”. This term means simple life or pure life. It is used in everyday life to communicate “hello, goodbye, thank you, you’re welcome, and generally communicate a sense that ‘life is good’”. The phrase is a reminder of how little we actually need to be happy. We have the ocean, mountains, sunshine, hikes, coffee farms, waterfalls, waves and a culture that needs very little in order to find happiness.
I started my journey with Vista Celestial as a guest, I had a spiritual/transformational experience and I wanted more. Today, I live the Pura Vida lifestyle, literally. I find joy and happiness in the sounds of the ocean waves and the jungle. I find peace with the pure and simple pleasures of watching the wildlife, feeling the sunshine on my face, listening to the howler monkeys and knowing that all I need is within. Life is good here in Costa Rica, I hope you follow the path that leads you to Vista Celestial. Pura Vida!
We will be doing a vacation giveaway to Vista Celestial ONLY for SYF2023 attendees on-site during our 10-year anniversary celebration! To be entered to win, join us April 27–30. Passes are available here.
A One-of-a-Kind Holistic Experience in the Heart of the Mayan Riviera
A new vision into the path of wellness and personal growth! Win a 3-night vacation in an oceanfront king suite. Learn more and enter to win here.
Located at the tail end of the most breathtaking beach in the Riviera Maya, surrounded by 988 acres of lush jungle and a kilometer of pristine beach, lies a natural enclave where the effervescent complexity of contemporary Mexico meets with ancient roots and sacred rituals.
A true haven for the senses ready to be discovered, Palmaïa – The House of AïA stands apart from other resorts, offering unlimited wellness activities paired with a unique culinary experience. Everything is included in the rate, meaning guests can enjoy a fully immersive experience without worrying about additional costs or expenses, focusing on their wellness journey without distractions.
Integrating mystical elements of the region, the property offers a program dedicated to your personal growth: The Architects of Life (AOL), designed to awaken the exploration of the inner self through daily holistic practices and ceremonies inspired by ancient Mayan and other pre-Hispanic and Far East cultures. From Cacao Ceremonies and Temazcal to Sound Healing sessions, Yoga, Pranayama, and much more, Palmaïa honors the region’s cultural heritage and provides guests with a unique opportunity to connect with their spirituality
and discover a healthier, more balanced lifestyle.
Palmaïa’s location is also a key factor in the resort’s unique appeal, where the concept of AïA is presented as humanity’s connection with Nature. The lush jungle, turquoise beach and abundant wildlife make for a calming atmosphere, perfect for mindfulness and spiritual practices. AïA’s energy provides guests with a serene and peaceful setting to reflect and unwind, where deep connection to oneself, others, and your surroundings can flourish. Nestled between the mangroves and clear water cenotes is the Spa, Atlantis, a hidden gem where guests are pampered with true nature-immersive experiences in the hands of master therapists.
Although an ideal place to reset and recharge while taking a break from today’s fast-paced world, Palmaïa’s holistic approach to wellness is not just spiritual. The resort provides top-tier accommodations in beautifully designed suites featuring vegan and sustainable amenities while carefully curating its plant-based gastronomy. Crafted by experienced chefs throughout their exquisite restaurants, specialty menus range from mouth-watering Asian fusion to street and high-end Mexican, Mediterranean, and International cuisine, delivering an outstanding dining experience.
Expanding further into the realm of the senses, the Rituals of Sound sessions offer a nightscape journey of curated beats and live electronic music. A chance to mingle with fellow voyagers, dance barefoot around the flickering flames of a beach bonfire, and indulge in some of the best mixologies.
Be part of Palmaïa’s Progressive Wellness journey and experience soul nourishment through conscious cuisine, nature-immersed treatments, and holistic practices.
For a limited time only, sign up for our newsletter list and be entered to win a 3-night oceanfront king-suite vacation at Palmaïa – The House of AïA! Enter to win here.