SYF GIVES BACK offering FREE Trauma and Stress Relief to Fire, Police and First Responders at inaugural Healing Village in addition to Yoga for PTSD training!
Firefighter Yogini, Essie Titus | Robert Sturman
March 14-17th, 2019 Sedona Yoga Festival unrolls the proverbial mat in Sedona for the 7th year running. Held at the Red Rock High School and Sedona Performing Arts Center (SPAC), SYF2019 features world-class teachers and students alike presenting and soaking in the high vibes these practices are known for. Sedona, a powerful place, amplifies the experience. 200+ curated workshops, classes and experiences provide ample opportunity for the experienced yogi all the way to a complete beginner unfamiliar with downward dogs to experience Yoga. SYF is a platform that attracts thousands from near and far, an international conference recognized the world over. “SYF Gives Back is our way of supporting service, or Seva in yogic terms, and exists to do just that, be in service and since the start, this program has provided trauma-informed training to over 500 teachers, practitioners, service providers and trauma survivors. Focusing on service providers has amplified our effectiveness, “ says Festival Founder, Marc Titus, “We share proven efficacious tools, techniques and practices, that ameliorate the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress. These folks return to their communities and begin helping those who suffer; by training 100’s we have helped thousands.” This year Marc aims to train over 200 and will personally ask them to return to their communities to support the Local First Responder Community.
First Responders in this country are here to ‘protect and serve’, and consist of a wide range of professionals who when the call comes, drop everything to manage crisis, and bring order to chaos. As natural disasters and the like, continue to present greater and greater challenges for First Responders, the scope and emotional weight of the work required of them has become more intense than ever. Serving the very communities affected by natural disasters, these brave men & women push their bodies and minds to the limit, sometimes in the face of their own familial tragedies unfolding.
Stephen Lam | Reuters
In times of catastrophic events, such as the extreme urban interface wildland fires, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods we have witnessed these past several years, these responses can last for weeks and months at a time. In the daily battles to save lives and to protect many First Responders can lose the most precious thing a human being can lose. Their will to live. This doesn’t happen overnight, seemingly unforeseen and often long ignored, trauma builds and is stored in the body. Severe depression, PTSD and other high-stress symptoms stemming from chronic endurance environments are still not completely understood, nor properly addressed within the responder communities.
SYF Founder Marc Titus on Assignment circa 2005 | Mount Rainier NP
The solution is not always to run to a therapist who has never worn a bulletproof vest or nomex jacket for years on end. That’s why there is such a gap in treatment as well as a resistance in the community. SYF wants to help raise awareness around and eventually overcome this bias as it takes its toll on personnel; people… just like you or me. Often they can be the last to know there is a problem lurking within. “When I finally broke,” Marc shares gazing off into the distance, “I had no clue what was happening… I was completely, ya know, f’ed. Suffice to say, I was unable to function. I was in a constant state of hyper-arousal and having flashbacks daily. It was ugly. Period. Dark, cold, nasty and alone. Mean and callous; cold and calculating. Did I say it sucked!”
CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO ON TRAUMA-INFORMED TRAINING AT SYF2019!
Not only is SYF hosting its 6th official training, this year presented by the Mindful Yoga Therapy team from Newington, CT, they are creating a Healing Village that will provide a place for First Responders to explore and experience various healing modalities and educate First Responders by providing an array of services, providers and educators in an mini- expo type setting for free. Healing sessions are also offered on a limited basis to First Responders at no charge. “SYF intends to ‘bridge the gap’ between the first responder community and an oft confusing world, known as yoga and meditation. We want to make it easy and safe to explore what scientists are now proving incredibly effective at combating the symptoms of PTSD, trauma and the stress of high performance work teams, “ says Festival Director Heather Titus, “by offering a trauma-informed track in the main festival program, we are sure to provide many opportunities to learn and experience the effects these practices provide. They’ve worked for us; we want others to benefit as we have.”
Marc Titus & Les Finkel on a motorcycle adventure
The 2019 Healing Village is the brain child of Marc and retired Phoenix Police IT System Specialist and Founder of Unstoppable Healing, Leslie Finkel, himself, offering healing sessions to First Responders. With a bond they share in service, both have dedicated themselves to finding alternative solutions to their high-stress careers and are now bringing these healing technologies to their brothers and sisters in the trenches. “We know what it’s like. We’ve been there, healed and come back with the good news. You don’t have to suffer anymore.” Les says. “You wouldn’t walk around all day with a 50 pound dumbell strapped to your thigh, right? The stuff we’ve experienced becomes just that; these practices and techniques facilitate dropping the dumbell, and that feels real nice!” Nothing at all to be ashamed of they both share, in fact at times these practices can be challenging both physically and mentally, no different than other training regimes. “Yoga requires discipline,” says Heather, “So, with all the warrior poses and such, it’s actually an effective and approachable healing modality for First Responders.
SYF2019 provides a unique opportunity for area First Responders to ‘get away’ for the weekend or in the middle of a shift; the village will be open daily during festival hours and the training available to yoga teachers, practitioners, service providers, first responders and more.
Jane Tyska | Digital First Media | Getty Images