20 Minutes with SYF Photographer Ty Dobbs

20 Minutes with SYF Photographer Ty Dobbs

20 Minutes with SYF Photographer Ty Dobbs

Ty Dobbs is a renowned yoga photographer and conscious content creator, who has been making SYF look good since 2018. His talent lies not only in his ability to curate and create art with shape and light, but also in the energy of his soul, which creates the space for his subject’s true essence to shine through. His work has taken him all over the country, and we’re grateful that he will be returning to SYF in 2024. We sat down with Ty to learn a bit more about his process and his art.

If you’re an SYF presenter and are interested in booking Ty for a private shoot during the event, please reach out to Ty directly!


SYF: You’re a Texas native. In 2017, you made the move from Dallas to Southern California. How did this journey influence your photography?

Ty Dobbs (TD): This move was big for me. Having studied Joseph Campbell and The Hero’s Journey for years prior, I knew that I was facing my largest threshold yet. With that being said, my photography bloomed out of the experience because I propelled myself into a land of extensive opportunity. From sweeping National Park landscapes, to significant portraiture opportunities. My art grew rapidly once I landed in CA. 

SYF: Growing up, you found joy in using cameras to ‘freeze time.’ What is it about photography that continues to captivate you?

TD: Photography always had that magical and fascinating aspect with it growing up. Now, I seek the use of photography (and videography) as a way to express oneself and share a message. I also still value photography as a “time travel hack.” It has the ability to take us back to a distant and forgotten memory… sometimes allowing us to feel the rush of emotions all over again, good or bad. 

SYF: You say on your website that you attended “YouTube University.” How has being largely self-taught shaped your approach to photography?

TD: Ah yes, the great YTU. Being nearly 100% self taught means I do not have a conventional way of capturing the moment. It also means a lot of mistakes, but those mistakes are often beautiful in their own way. Instead of going through any formal schooling where I was instructed on the “good and bad,” I was able to determine my own style and answers to each of those labels.

SYF: You describe yourself as a world traveler and a student of life. How has traveling influenced your work, especially in your Vista Views and Memory Moments?

TD: Travel is one of the most potent doses of education I could have asked for on my journey of discovering my craft. It allows endless subjects, experiences, and stories that each leave a lasting mark.

I consider Vista Views and Memory Moments the two pillars of my photography work. Vista Views is my landscape portfolio and Memory Moments consists of my commercial and portrait work. Both are equally as important. Vista Views are quite literally the epitome of the subject matter, while Memory Moments have contributed to the relationships that have formed via traveling and living different places. 

SYF: Having your work featured in art galleries, like in Big Bear, CA, must be exhilarating. How does it feel seeing your work displayed in such settings?

TD: It truly is exhilarating. It feels amazing! It has been a few years since my Big Bear gallery days and still my wife encourages me to find a new local gallery where we live now in Southern Utah. I’m sure there will be a time where I enter into the local gallery scene again. I believe pictures are meant to pull you in… and that is more challenging to accomplish in an Instagram post or digital screen. 

SYF: As a yogi and a photographer, how do you feel these two paths intersect in your life and work?

TD: I was a photographer first, then I found yoga — and then I married the two into Yoga Photography with the help of some great mentors (ahem… Robert Sturman). The path of yoga allowed me to be more conscious with where I pointed my camera. Searching for the light became more than just a metaphor. As the Yogi within me grew stronger, so did my desire to capture people living their purpose. That has contributed to some pretty incredible international trips and experiences at festivals all around the globe!

SYF: Having photographed the Sedona Yoga Festival for several years, what are some of your most memorable moments or photographs from the festival?

TD: I will never forget my first SYF in 2018, and just being amazed by the intention and community. It felt like home. Now with each year that I return, I get to reconnect with new and old friends. It has become one of my absolute favorite annual pilgrimages.

SYF: In your opinion, what makes a great photograph, especially in the context of a vibrant event like SYF?

TD: In my opinion what makes a great photograph is being able to feel something when you look at it. In the sense of SYF, that could be the beautiful, warm, and welcoming landscape. Or a participant moved to tears from a transcendental meditation they just experienced. SYF provides so many beautiful moments to all who attend. That makes it so easy to capture the magic — if you are tuned into its frequency. ;)=

SYF: What advice would you give to aspiring photographers who wish to follow a path similar to yours?

TD: I would say to go for it! If picking up a camera and pointing it at ANYTHING makes time feel as though it stops… then photography is probably a path for you to consider. Don’t let experience, or equipment hold you back. Seek opportunities to work that Creativity muscle as often as possible. Live in that joy and be prepared for the miracles that will soon follow. 

SYF: What future projects or dreams are you currently pursuing or hope to pursue?

TD: I am currently working to build a large online course database for practitioners of all styles. From Yoga to Acupuncture and even Detoxing, I have had the pleasure of working with over a dozen experts in their field. I have always found the quote “If I have seen further [than others], it is by standing on the shoulders of giants” by Newton both fascinating and inspiring. 

We live in an age where we can learn and develop at increasingly rapid rates, and we can attempt to consume a career’s worth of knowledge in a rather short period of time. This realization left me feeling inspired to offer a platform for conscious entrepreneurs to share their skills. I call my platform Inspired Conscious Content. My current mission is to help colleagues discover new ways to put themselves out there! 

SYF: Finally, is there a message or a thought you’d like to share with our readers and your future clients?

TD: To anyone reading that has NOT been to SYF so far, my first message is to tell you that you’re missing out by not going each and every year. The experience is similar to that of an intensive yoga retreat in some distant land. It will leave you feeling full and embodied! To anyone who would like to connect and hear more about photography, videography, or Inspired Conscious Content… Please reach out! I would love to chat and see if there is an opportunity to work together. See you all at SYF. 

Join Ty and other luminaires at the 11th annual Sedona Yoga Festival, March 14–17. Passes available here

Lead image, of course, by Ty Dobbs.

Ayurveda and Quantum Physics: An Unexpected Pairing for Personal and Social Transformation

Ayurveda and Quantum Physics: An Unexpected Pairing for Personal and Social Transformation

Ayurveda and Quantum Physics: An Unexpected Pairing for Personal and Social Transformation

by Jill Robinson

Ayurveda and quantum physics might seem a strange pairing when applied to Yoga philosophy. Although these two frameworks might feel miles apart, they both speak to the importance of awakening to our interconnectedness, within our mind, body and spirit and the larger Oneness of the Cosmos.

Yoga practitioners have long known the vital link between the health of our inner and outer worlds, but only recently has Western science been able to prove our Oneness as fundamental to our universe. The implications of this merging of science and spirit are extraordinary in how we can show up as practitioners and world changers.

It’s why we’re thrilled to have Vaidya Jayarajan Kodikannath, “Dr. J”, from Kerala Ayurveda and Emanuel Kuntzelman, founding steward of the Holomovement, presenting on this topic together during the Sedona Yoga Festival this March. The language used within Ayurveda and quantum physics might differ, but they are ultimately two paths leading toward wholeness.

Interconnectedness at the Quantum Level

American physicist David Bohm, a contemporary of Einstein, believed there is an Implicate Order, which is the source of consciousness and the field holding the infinite potential of the universe. The Implicate Order expands and grows into the Explicate Order as manifest reality. Holding these two inner and outer spaces together is what Bohm defined as the ‘holomovement.’

This theory offers an explanation of how we can all be ‘one’ despite what appears to be a reality of separate beings. For Emanuel, reading Bohm’s book Wholeness and the Implicate Order was a lightbulb moment.

“I was first introduced to David Bohm back in 1984,” says Emanuel. “As I read that book, I found the term ‘holomovement,’ and for me it was the most beautiful concept I had come across in describing the oneness of consciousness. What’s more, it’s a great term, a single word describing a movement of wholeness. What could be better?”

Bohm’s theory of quantum mechanics, proposed back in 1951, has now been vindicated by the Nobel prize in physics of 2022. The award establishes non-locality, which Bohmian mechanics requires, as a “fundamental feature of the universe.” It further validates this concept of universal Oneness, bridging ancient spiritual wisdom with modern science and offers a sociological model for uniting humanity in our many pathways toward higher consciousness.

It was a defining moment for Emanuel in the importance of a social movement awakening us to our interconnectedness, guided by science and spirituality. It is imperative that the Holomovement (with a capital ‘H’), must also have a theory of change that is nourished by deep connection, compassion and purpose.

Health and Harmony Starts Within

Understanding the interconnectedness of the very building blocks of our universe is just the start, but how does this apply to our personal yoga practice and Ayurveda? At its most expansive, Yoga is “a practice of unity, an exploration of what it means to link body and breath, thoughts and movements, stillness and evolution.”

This philosophy guides us toward the integral health of mind, body and spirit. The Yoga Sutras offer wisdom for a way of living that is purposeful and mindful of our interconnectedness within our own selves that deeply affects our communities and our human family.

Ayurveda, (a Sanskrit word that means “science of life” or “knowledge of life”) is one of the world’s oldest whole-body healing systems that has long understood the necessity of holistic health. Understanding the doshas, diet essentials and daily routines of Ayurveda provides practical tools to personalize your practice and enhance the transformative power of our Yoga practice.

At the heart of this ancient healing system is understanding our cellular interconnectedness and what it means to be one cell of the interconnected whole. Like the holomovement’s unbounded wholeness, Ayurveda is a practice of interconnectedness.

“The very definition of life in Ayurveda is that nature flows through you without interruption,” says Dr. J. “You are always in relationship with everything — including fellow human beings, animals, birds, plants, nature. Your sustenance is based on an in-sync relationship with nature and its rhythms.”

Learn more about creating harmony from the inside out during the Sedona Yoga Festival! Dr. J and Emanuel will be on a panel in conversation on the similarities of Ayurveda and the Holomovement, and how they are powerful resources in personal and social transformation. Be sure to reserve your Pass before the schedule goes live to not miss a beat! Tickets available here

Vedic and Western Astrology: Our Life in the Stars with Dennis M. Harness, Ph. D.

Vedic and Western Astrology: Our Life in the Stars with Dennis M. Harness, Ph. D.

Vedic and Western Astrology: Our Life in the Stars with Dennis M. Harness, Ph. D.

Dennis M. Harness, Ph.D. is a self-proclaimed “Neo-Vedic or East–West Astrologer,” a professional Vedic Astrologer and lecturer who received his doctorate degree in Counseling Psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, California. For more than 30 years, Dennis has studied both Eastern and Western astrological techniques. Read on to learn more, and then study with Dennis at the Sedona Yoga Festival, March 14–17! Use code DENNIS10 for 10% off any pass. 

Many of our participants are likely familiar with Western astrology and the tropical zodiac. What are the main differences between the Western and Vedic astrological systems?

I think the main difference between the two systems is that Western astrology, which is called tropical astrology, is based upon, and keeps us in touch with, the seasons; particularly the Solstice and Equinox points. Vedic astrology is more constellation-based, so it’s more of an astronomer’s view. For example, at night, if you go and look at Jupiter in the night sky, Western astrology would say that Jupiter now is in the sign of Taurus, the bull. But if you look at where Jupiter is in the night sky, you’ll see it’s right in the head of the ram in Aries. So there’s about a 23–24 degree difference between the two systems. One of the ways that the two systems connect is the aspects between the planets in both systems as well as the planetary transits. 

In Vedic astrology, there’s much more emphasis on the Moon than the Sun sign. I’ve written a book titled The Nakshatras: The Lunar Mansions of Vedic Astrology, which describes the 27 divisions of the Hindu zodiac.  

I trained in Western astrology and I consider myself a neo-Vedic astrologer in that I use the outer planets, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, while many traditional Vedic astrologers don’t. For me, and this is just me personally, I think of Western astrology is like the waves on the ocean, and the Vedic system is more akin to the undercurrents, the riptides, the tsunamis in life. 

Is Vedic astrology one of the Vedic sciences, like yoga or Ayurveda?

In Sanskrit, Vedic astrology is known as Jyotish, which translates to “the science of light,” bringing light into darkness. Vedic astrology can help to shed light, in a sense, in what path may be most fitting for a person’s spiritual development. For example, when in a person’s Vedic astrology chart Venus is really pronounced, you may see that person more connected with Bhakti yoga. Whereas if Saturn is strong, they may be more connected to karma yoga. Jupiter is somewhat connected with Raja yoga, because in India, Jupiter is called the guru planet. So in some ways, the planets are reflecting the different limbs of the Vedas, which is really cool. 

Dr. David Fraley, a Vedic scholar who wrote one of the best books on Vedic astrology called The Astrology of the Seers, and included an entire section on these kinds of connections — particularly the chakra system and its connections to planetary energies. 

So is Vedic astrology more scientifically-based?

Swami Sri Yukteswar, was a great Vedic astrologer, and was guru to Yogananda, the great saint who wrote Autobiography of a Yogi. Sri Yukteswar said it very eloquently: “A child is born at that moment in time that is in mathematical harmony with one’s soul karma. It reflect one’s unalterable past life’s and probable future results.” 

I underline “probable,” because he said the message blazoned across the heavens at the moment of birth was not meant to emphasize fate, but was to arouse the soul to action or awaken the soul from slumber. So there is a mathematical, scientific aspect to it. And again, because Vedic astrology is astronomically based, there are in some ways more of a connection with a telescopic view of where the planets were.

Western astrology — and our zodiac signs — pulls deeply from archetypal characteristics. Is Vedic astrology also considering these kinds of archetypes?

It is very similar. I would say the significance of the planetary archetypes is very similar in the Western and Vedic systems. [Psychologist Carl] Jung had this beautiful quote, “The gods and goddesses no longer live on Olympus. They live in our minds as complexes and in our body as disease.” That is, the goal of archetypal psychology — and we could say archetypal astrology — is to feed the gods and goddesses. Astrology can help us to connect with the archetypes and planetary energies and befriend them. 

My main teacher from Kerala, India, Chakrapani Ullal, said that Vedic astrology is 25% technique, 25% intuition, and 50% the grace of God, or we could say God or goddess. So 75% of the equation is what I call Graceland. I think it is good to have some basic training in astrological counseling as a spiritual life coach so that you can empower the client; leaving them with a sense of faith, optimism and hope for their future journey toward the divine in a way that empowers the client rather than weakening their will.

Experience the empowerment of Vedic astrology with Dennis at SYF! Tickets on sale now

Spiritual People Launches with a Mission to Bring Communities Together to Thrive

Spiritual People Launches with a Mission to Bring Communities Together to Thrive

Spiritual People Launches with a Mission to Bring Communities Together to Thrive

There is an energy and healing that happens when people come together. It is an ancient truth that has been somewhat lost in our busy world.

This is one thing that the new app, Spiritual People, is aiming to address. At Spiritual People, we aspire to inspire. We believe that we are more alike than we are different and that it is by engaging with one another that we can build a better world. We are moved by the true meaning of mindfulness: to be aware of the present moment but also attuned to another’s mental and emotional state. We believe in cultivating clarity of purpose through emotional, spiritual, and physical health. We believe in taking care of our planet and in advocating for those in need. We want to create a shared experience for those who believe in having a positive impact around the globe.

Spiritual People wants to encourage and nurture the importance of having real-life moments. We are creating a vibrant community that connects like-minded people who may have never crossed paths before. We wanted to create a platform with tools that would make it simple to bring awareness of the whole wellness community whether in your city or the rest of the world so everyone can grow and thrive together.

Fun fact? We’re coming to the 10-year anniversary celebration of Sedona Yoga Festival, with some very special opportunities to augment your conference. We want to help make SYF an incredible experience and connect you with the rest of the SYF community during your stay. Our features are designed to be fun, as well as helpful tools.

Join Up
We have created a special SYF social community so you can share and see what everyone is talking about at the festival.

Get Inspired
Enjoy learning about trending topics and the latest discoveries in health and wellness. Listen to a calming podcast on your flight or a curated playlist for a road trip.

Daily Prizes
Fun Spiritual People give away every day, with check-ins with the app.

Where to Go
We have a guide to all the recommended places to go in Sedona. Discover the best that Sedona has to offer.

Easy Meet-ups
Drop a pin, and share your location so everyone can save time.

Social Events
Find all the social events at the festival. We’re sponsoring a nature hike, where you can take in the beauty and get to know one another. Also, one lucky hiker will win a fun festival prize.

Connect here at Sedona and beyond. Spiritual People is a place to stay connected with all the new friends you have made over your stay at the festival. But, it is so much more we are focused on building a global platform to help wellness businesses to grow by connecting them with a vibrant wellness community. We can be the perfect matchmaker for individuals to discover events and businesses around them so they can connect with like-minded people and support practitioners and businesses that are committed to greater wellness for everyone. Spiritual People is for connection and discovering how as a community we can make a difference in each other’s lives and have an impact for good on the world around us.

Find your people! If you’re a SYF2023 participant, be sure to download the app and set up an account before arrival. You’ll not only then have the opportunity to be entered to win giveaways, but you’ll have access to the connections, advice, and community-building opportunities mentioned above. Learn more and download for whatever device you use here.

What Not to Miss at the SYF Conscious Expo 2022

What Not to Miss at the SYF Conscious Expo 2022

The Conscious Expo is a signature SYF feature that showcases some of the best local and national mindful businesses, offering attendees an opportunity to shop small right from the comfort of the festival. 

According to Deborah Williams, local teacher and longtime SYF work exchange Angel and attendee, the Conscious Expo is one thing that really sets SYF apart. Unlike other large yoga festivals that tend to focus on international sponsors and larger chains, at the SYF Expo, “there’s a lot of local people, so you get a taste of the community,” she says. “It’s not just things that are transplanted here for the festival. You can really get a feel for what is rising from the land.” 

Local vendors are joined by regional purveyors and national mainstays. Here are just seven of our vendors who we hope you’ll visit at the event. Take a piece of SYF home with you to commemorate this transformational experience. Read on until the end for a surprise treat. 

Mandalas: Sacred & Spiritual Art

As a renowned teacher and fourth generation artist, Paul Heussenstamm has been sharing his unique gift of helping people discover their Soul through his paintings and Art As A Spiritual Path workshops worldwide.  Paul has created over 2000 unique and spiritual paintings while passionately sharing his artistic capacity to explore and create Sacred Art from many traditions such as buddhism, Hinduism and Christianity.  Paul gladly accepts commissions and offers the finest quality Giclee prints on canvas that he creates in his studio.

Pi Yoga Pants

Started by Larissa Miller after a trip to Southeast Asia, the mission of Pi Yoga Pants is to 1) Empower Women and Men of all shapes, sizes, race and religion to feel comfortable and confident on and off their yoga mat; and 2) Save the Sea Turtles! Pi Yoga Pants proudly donates 10% of net profits back to sea turtle conservation.

Mel Rowes Designs

Ethically-sourced handmade gemstone home decor and jewelry made lovingly by Melissa Rowe, based in Temecula, California. Featuring one-of-a-kind rings, skull art, pendants, coasters, sun-catchers, and more.


Unique, inspiring, eco-innovative fashion that encourages you to wear clothing that reflects an outer-expression of your inner-state. Yoganastix believes that aligning with your values and being conscious of how you show up in the world is empowering. Apparel lines are made with sustainable, eco-friendly, and recycled fabrics, with integrity and love in the USA.

Essential Elixirs

Natural skincare products made with the natural healing properties of essential oils. Each elixir is handmade and in small batches to ensure potency, quality, and positive vibes. Also offers home care products and product bundles.  

The Ritual

High-vibrational rituals for healing, self care, and living a spiritually-aligned life. Offering guidance and products for ceremonial rituals to enhance the process of connection to self and the collective consciousness.

Yoga Rocks

Yoga Rocks direct body weight into the pointer fingers and thumbs, allowing us to lighten in the heels of the hands where we almost always put pressure. Made from 100% silicone, Yoga Rocks attach to your yoga mat of choice to activate the muscles of the hands. Active hands encourage active forearms leading to optimal wrist stability and consistent strengthening.

Join us June 2–5 for the summer’s premiere transformational event! Save some money for the Conscious Expo and use code NIFTY50 for $50 your ticket. Enter on Eventbrite to redeem — good only through April 30, 2022.

3 Tools for Easing Life with Trauma – Today

3 Tools for Easing Life with Trauma – Today

Photo by Miguel Guzman at the 2018 Sedona Yoga Festival’s “Yoga for PTSD Training”

By Erin Byron

To large or small degrees, each of us lives with some form of trauma. In the past week, I’ve heard people identify trauma from common (though painful) life events such as parenting sleepless children, euthanizing a pet, or the illness of a loved one. 

It is traumatic to go through a shock or profound loss in life. Are there ways to lessen the impacts or prepare ourselves? Research on PTSD and trauma say YES! 

It is noteworthy that, while there may be a clinical difference between PTSD and trauma, the ways to ease their impact are the same. At the SYF Yoga for PTSD Training, numerous voices offer countless strategies, and the science behind them, to support you and your loved ones in healing trauma.

While we wait for March 14-17 to arrive, pick one of the following 3 ideas and start doing it today and let us know what happens when we see you at SYF2019. Betcha there’s a difference!

Do this first one anytime, anywhere to prevent or shift this…

1. Adapt your breath. 

Notice I did not say, “Take a deep breath.” While a 5-count-in, 5-count-out is an adaptation away from shallow breathing, it is not the only option. 

Instead, you can see what happens if you move only the abdomen instead of only the chest. Maybe you could sound the exhale or inhale with an ujjayi breath. I sometimes breathe out a merry “Ahhhhhh”, beginning on a high note and ending low. 

There are infinite combinations of breathwork. Throughout the day, simply change how you are breathing and notice what happens.

The next idea arises from a yoga for PTSD study. Yoga is continually proven to help reduce traumatic symptoms. What I love about this study is the awareness and self-reliance.

2. Listen to your body and make your own choices in yoga class. 

A study by Bessel van der Kolk, Laura Stone, and other researchers (2014) showed that when yoga students were invited to have curiosity about their bodily sensations and make their own choices about how long to stay in a pose, their PTSD improved. 

In fact, by the end of the study, 52% of the yoga participants no longer met the diagnostic criteria for PTSD! The yoga and their self-reliant practice had a dramatic improvement on their quality of life.

The final tool is simple. It is gentle, takes very little time, and can bring huge benefits to the mind, nervous system, and body.

“That’s me, at the Yoga for PTSD Training at the 2018 Sedona Yoga Festival.” Photo by Miguel Guzman

3.  Use firm pressure to rub in foot lotion before bed. 

That’s it?! Yes, it could change your life. Do this for 5 days and wait for revelations. (Bonus points for using sesame or coconut oil with a few drops of an appealing essential oil. I like orange and rosemary oils with a soupcon of ginger.)

Whichever of these 3 options you choose, I hope you have fun applying the new tool. Once it feels secure or habitual, begin to apply the next tool. You can return to this list or inspire yourself with other ideas.

For a wealth of ideas, research, and direct experience with effective practice, please join me and my friends and colleagues March 14 – 17 at the Sedona Yoga Festival, Yoga for PTSD Training. I can’t wait to learn, teach, and commune with you!


  • Bessel A. van der Kolk, MD; Laura Stone, MA; Jennifer West, PhD; Alison Rhodes, MWS Med; David Emerson, MA; Michale Suvak, PhD; and Joseph Spinazzola, PhD. Yoga as an Adjunctive Treatment for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Randomized Controlled Trial in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. 2014; 75(6): e559-65.

About the Author: Erin Byron



Erin’s Master of Arts research studied the benefits of Yoga practices in coping with Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome and the literary review of the study equipped her for helping people with a range of physical and mental health concerns.

Erin is grateful for the opportunity to support others on their personal growth paths.


Sign up for our newsletter, and be the first to know exciting presenter news, ticket discount opportunities, and ways to be invovled in the Sedona Yoga Festival community! We are so glad you're here. 

Important! Check your email to confirm your email address so we can stay in touch!

Pin It on Pinterest