10 Years of SYF with Hemalayaa Behl

10 Years of SYF with Hemalayaa Behl

10 Years of SYF with Hemalayaa Behl

Sedona Yoga Festival vanguard presenter Hemalayaa Behl is a Life Enhancement Coach and Mentor. Passionate about leading women to their own truth as well as inspiring a yogic lifestyle, her work inspires and motivates thousands of women to live healthy and joyful lives. She provides tools to break down barriers that hold us back from experiencing a powerful spiritual connection, and hosts her own TV show, “Bolly Blast”, bringing fitness to a whole new level of fun through yoga and dance. Hemalayaa has been featured in numerous publications such as NY Times, Origin, Yoga Journal, LA Times, and Shape, as well as on the talk shows Ellen, Lisa Oz, and The Today Show.

We caught up with Hemalayaa to share her experiences with SYF over the past decade, in celebration of our 10-year anniversary in April. We hope you’ll join us this April 27–30! Tickets are on sale now.

What is your history with SYF?

I have been a presenter first and simultaneously an attendee. Being a presenter at the Sedona Fest is extraordinary — to be held in these incredible mountains, as well as to hold our community coming together to “do the work/play” in this ideal location. A stand-out moment at SYF is teaching outside in the cleavage of these incredible mountains while we are dancing, moving, breathing and meditating …and looking all around us to be held by this extraordinary magical place.

What makes SYF different from other festivals that you have attended or worked?

The Sedona Yoga Festival is a one-of-a-kind event that distinguishes itself from other festivals in several ways. Firstly, the festival is held in the stunning red rock landscape of Sedona, Arizona, providing a breathtaking backdrop for attendees to practice yoga and connect with nature. Additionally, the festival offers a diverse array of classes and workshops, taught by master yoga instructors from all over the world, emphasizing the deepening of our practice and learning new techniques.

What sets the Sedona Yoga Festival apart is its focus on creating a supportive and inclusive community. The festival offers a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere, encouraging attendees to connect with others who share their passion for yoga. Additionally, the festival offers a variety of opportunities for attendees to connect with local businesses and organizations that align with their values, making it a unique and immersive experience.

Lastly, the Sedona Yoga Festival is dedicated to promoting wellness and sustainability, offering eco-friendly options and promoting environmentally responsible practices. This focus on sustainability sets the festival apart from other events and demonstrates the commitment to creating a positive impact on both the local community and the planet.

Overall, the Sedona Yoga Festival is a truly special event that combines breathtaking natural beauty, world-class yoga instruction, a supportive and inclusive community, and a commitment to sustainability to create a truly unforgettable experience.

SYF has long been at the forefront of conversations that move our community forward. In what ways have you experienced this?

One year I was part of a panel…with the conversation being about Public Profile Vs Personal Practice. It was a juicy conversation and perfectly curated 🙂

I am proud to be a part of SYF because it is always evolving and growing with a honoring of the master teachers as well as newer teachers who are stepping into really honoring the lineages and being integral for yoga teachings and philosophy.

Learn from Hemalayaa alongside other luminaries at our 10-year anniversary celebration, April 27–30, 2023. Tickets are available here

Lead image: Hemalayaa & DTO Music at SYF2022. Photo credit: Ty Dobbs.

Hawah Kasat: Finding Yoga Everywhere

Hawah Kasat: Finding Yoga Everywhere

Hawah Kasat: Finding Yoga Everywhere

Yoga is all around us — in art, in poetry, in colorful food, in the small moments of magic that make life full of beauty and wonder. For Hawah Kasat, who weaves art and sacred activism and a plethora of healing modalities into his teaching around the world, it’s all about the transformational experience that the container of a yoga practice can provide. 

“It’s important to see the mind-body connection,” he says, “because I think our world is spinning out of balance. Our social, economic, and political systems are driven by the head — they require us to move fast.” This is antithetical to the spiritual human experience. Yoga, says Hawah, allows us to connect to the heart; to take time and consider other people before ourselves. It requires patience with our movements, which translates into our lives. 

Hawah says that the blending of modalities and the infusion of art and sacred activism to his teaching fosters an opportunity to bring true peace and understanding to the world. “For me, the reason it’s important to connect social justice with mindfulness,” he says for example, “is because it allows us to become whole again. To see past the illusion of separation. It allows us to realize that there’s great opportunity in creativity to bring peace to the world —  by realizing that we’re not as different as we think we are.”

To say — some people may discover the universal understanding of yoga through the lens of a “ninja training ground” or poetry (both of which are offerings that Hawah plans to bring to SYF this June), while others may resonate with a more traditional asana practice. However it resonates with someone, Hawah says, it leads to the place of knowing that “our healing journey is one that we do together. It’s not one that we do in a bubble, you know?” 

Bringing the Practice Back to Communities

This is all fine and well, of course, for people who are able to experience a transformative weekend at a yoga festival. What about people who for one reason or another are unable to share in that experience? “It’s important to remember that without taking time for ourselves,” says Hawah, “we are not able to actually show up and support others. There is a really deep need to work on our own individual healing, because that’s the only way we can show up to support and heal others.” 

He says that spaces like SYF are integral not only for teachers and aspiring teachers for this reason, but for anyone who is just needing to find joy in their life, and to realize that they are not alone. “It can be tough to wake up these days,” he says, “when you see what’s on the news and what’s happening in our communities, and with the isolation of the pandemic. It’s when we’re together and we’re breathing together and we’re laughing together and meditating together — these are the moments that remind us what’s important. And these are the moments that give us the fortitude to go back into our communities and be inspired,” he says.

How Grace Plays a Role

This is part of what grace is for Hawah — but he says that there’s also an element of kindness, generosity, and forgiveness when we discuss the idea of grace. When we operate from a place of grace we are allowing ourselves to go with the flow, resisting the temptation to force something. When we live with grace, he says, “there’s something beautiful beyond our wildest imagination and dreams. In the mystical sense, grace is about opening up to — and being okay with — the unknown. In the ultimate sense, grace requires a deep trust in the world and in the universe.”

Hawah will be sharing spoken word at the opening ceremony for SYF, as well as several other unique offerings. Join him and other luminaries this June 2–5 at stunning Posse Grounds Park. Tickets on sale now!

Desiree Rumbaugh — Moving Through the Ages with Yoga

Desiree Rumbaugh — Moving Through the Ages with Yoga

Desiree Rumbaugh — Moving Through the Ages with Yoga

When we tend to think of yoga that’s accessible for all ages and for aging bodies, we trend toward restorative and gentle yoga, as if our aging bodies across the board lose the will for a physical challenge. It doesn’t have to be that way, according to international teacher, author, and PBS contributor Desiree Rumbaugh. “When I was younger, I’d always hear older people saying, ‘I used to do this or that,’” she says. As a very athletic and disciplined practitioner, this wasn’t how Desiree envisioned her own practice changing through the years. She figured that there had to be a way to continue to age well, without giving up the difficult physical practice. 

As she herself crossed the threshold of 50 and beyond, that’s what her teaching began to showcase. “How do we keep the party going? How do we keep the fun going? How do we keep our wrists and our back and our knees and our neck able to withstand these poses without injury? So that’s what my teaching is like,” she says, “answering those questions and giving people a lot of ideas.”

Creating a Community 

Desiree isn’t alone in this pursuit. She has what she calls a pit crew of physical therapists, weight trainers, and different people to advise her and keep her — and her students — safe as she explores what it means to embrace physicality for older bodies. As the Western yoga world continues to move toward accessibility, Desiree says that she inhabits an important space. “I think that’s kind of interesting to go learn from the lady who’s 63,” she says, “the lady who has been doing this for 35 years, and does everything like handstands and backbends.” 

It’s not only an inspiration because of her age, but because of what that kind of flexibility — both physical and of the boundaries we consider in our own minds about the physical — represents. “It’s not because I’m lucky,” says Desiree. “I’ve had to work to change habits and figure out why these pains were there. I’ve had a lot of ups and downs just like everybody,” she says. “How have I gone into it instead of around it or avoiding it?” 

This doesn’t mean just haphazardly experimenting with advanced poses. In her thirties, Desiree recalls just being able to go the park, for example, and kicking up into a handstand. This isn’t a possibility at 63, when the stakes are much higher if she falls. This “makes me more aware and conscious,” she says, “so there’s the mind aspect. I think as we age, we need to have stimulation of new thoughts and new ideas and new experiences.” That’s what Desiree’s teaching is really all about. 

What Students Can Expect in Her Class

Desiree recognizes that her approach may not be for everybody — but she’s not trying to be. She wants her students to explore their own boundaries, and learn something about themselves that they may not have thought was possible. Her classes inspire students to understand that hard work and dedication results in progress; that you have the power to change your body and your mindset for the better. She also wants to “stress the fun of playing in a yoga class with your friends, even though it can be solitary practice. That’s a big one for me,” she says, “the joy of connecting with others in a playful way where we encourage each other and the support of the community.”

That’s what being at SYF is all about for Desiree — that connection of being with others of likemind, “supported by the breathing and the chanting and the working together mindfully in the present moment.” It’s why we’re so excited to be back together after two years apart, and why we hope you’ll join us in June. 

Tickets are on sale now! Come experience the transformation of SYF with us. We can’t wait to see you soon.

Crisanto Santa Ana: How Music Creates the Space for Grace

Crisanto Santa Ana: How Music Creates the Space for Grace

Crisanto Santa Ana: How Music Creates the Space for Grace

A big part of what makes SYF special is undoubtedly the music. It’s true that music is the language of the soul — when in the pursuit of mind-body transformation, music can have a powerful effect. In addition to its renowned lineup of spiritual and kirtan music, SYF also brings some of the best regional and international DJs and performers to Sedona, who not only inform the experience and provide a foundation for true evolution of the soul. 

Crisanto Santa Ana is a California-based DJ, artist, videographer, and creative director who currently helms creative operations for LiveFree Productions. “I wear a lot of hats, as far as creating art,” he says, but “music has been my first love. It started with DJing. I’m excited to showcase and share space at Sedona in 2022 and share my music.” 

Crisanto will be providing a soundscape for several yoga classes — an experience that is different than his usual on-stage showcases that have taken him all over the country. “It’s very energetic,” he says, “between myself, the teacher, and the students.” At previous SYF conferences, Crisanto has also put on nighttime shows, sharing the stage with the likes of MC Yogi and DJ Drez. “And then I’ll just DJ maybe at the pavillion or the marketplace, and just keep it mellow,” he adds. “Wherever there is music needed, I inch my way toward that.”

Through music and his day job, Crisanto is no stranger to the wellness world, but he’s also a regular in the party circuit. He plans to bring some of those vibes, albeit mindfully, to SYF. Events like SYF, he says, are more intentional — people come with an intention to feel the vibe, and to be with people and interact with them. 

“Mindfulness is the word that comes to my mind when I think of Sedona in comparison to other transformational festivals,” says Cristano. “It’s the amazing programs, classes, and workshops,” he says, “but there’s also a vibe to it. It’s the vortexes, too.” 

The SYF theme to Give It Up For Grace is an apt one for this year, says Crisanto, given that we’re coming out of lockdown, coming off of all the time we had to spend apart. We’ve had time to be with ourselves and to examine what grace is necessary to deal with these difficult times. Crisanto says that the idea of grace is particularly interesting when considered through the lens of music. 

“People are just graceful about being in that space, you know?” he says. “Music automatically puts you in the present moment — it just takes over. And you’re there, rather than drifting into the future or to the past.” He said that he’s looking forward to being in that present moment of grace with SYF attendees, and through sound and movement co-creating the space of grace together. 

Crisanto said he’s also looking forward to being back together in community after two years apart. “Time tends to slow down a little bit,” he says. “I’m looking forward to being united with the yogi community, and seeing all the teachers and students I haven’t seen in so long — just reconnecting with the festival and the land.” 

Join Crisanto Santa Ana and many more luminaries, leaders, and teachers this June! Tickets on sale now. We can’t wait to see you there. 

What happens at Sedona Yoga Festival? What can you expect?

What happens at Sedona Yoga Festival? What can you expect?

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

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.

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…
March 2016 Sedona Yoga Festival overview
March 2016 Presenters
March 2016 Schedule
March 2016 Yoga for PTSD training
March 2016 pre/post conference overview
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.



SYF2017 Festival Promo Postcard2  SYF2017 Festival Promo Postcard




Teri Undreiner

Teri Undreiner

We recently chatted with Teri Undreiner who excels at Loving and encouraging people, and being an LMT , Life Recovery Consultant, Yoga Instructor, Songwriter/Singer/ Writer, Essential Oils Wellness Advocate/ Workshop Teacher, Warrior Posse Designs ( Yoga Shirts & Apparel)…

NAME: Teri Undreiner

EMAIL: velvetsteel@q.com


SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook, Twitter/Instagram: teriundreiner

Occupation:  Loving and encouraging people, LMT , Life Recovery Consultant, Yoga Instructor, Songwriter/Singer/ Writer, Essential Oils Wellness Advocate/ Workshop Teacher, Warrior Posse Designs ( Yoga Shirts & Apparel)

Hometown: Phoenix

Current Town: Phx. Az.

teri undreiner guitarWhere has yoga taken you?

Yoga has taken me to a deeper place within me and challenged me to live a much more conscious life than I was doing before it.  It’s opened me up to reading different things that help me to get in touch with the “inner woman of the heart”. It brings me so much joy and peace and helps me live a more contented , yet adventurous life. It’s given me courage to branch out and challenge myself to do things I haven’t done before or things that fear use to stop me doing. It has connected me to so many different types of people as well. I feel that my world and my heart has become so enlarged to take in so much more of life. Yoga has taken me into other venues, and stretched me to reach out to demographics that I had no previous connection with, such as the Military and First Responders world.

What are the 4 most pivotal occasions in your career both in and outside of Yoga?

1. About 5 years ago, I was choosing between going through Yoga teacher training and Life Coaching and so I decided on a 200 YTT certified through Holy Yoga,, because I wanted to bring Yoga to the Church since most Churched people didn’t engage with yoga I wanted to show them the two were compatible.  I use theme related classes that challenge not only our bodies but the way we look at things emotionally and spiritually.

2. Two years ago I began a journey into Life Coaching because I thought that including Yoga with how to help others live more productively and positively would be helpful to my career. Venturing into becoming a Yoga Instructor that included Life Coaching themes and meditations has enabled me to begin my dream of holding Workshops.

3. I began doing Essential Yoga Workshops just this year that incorporates a yoga class, essential oils, and a Nidra class with powerful affirmations to encourage people to move forward in their lives. This Workshop helps them learn how to intentionally relax and let go of those things that n o longer serve them.

4. I have also ventured into becoming trained for Trauma Sensitive Yoga and working with a Veteran and his equine therapist Horse, Bella and have began making videos of such work.

 What do you never leave the house without? My phone, computer, backpack filled with books, journal, pens and food/water.

Where are your favorite places to experience? I have traveled to the Mediterranean and it is my favorite out of the country place by far. But I travel although right now to see my kids and first grand-baby, Barrett and that is my favorite of all and my daughter in Ventura Beach.

What are the first three words that come to your mind when someone says: “grounded” or “connected?” Centered. Content. Strong.

teri undreiner horseWe want to know what your typical morning looks like! What does your daily practice look like?

My daily practice …First thing in the morning I make coffee and I take it outside with my Bible, and or another book I’m reading about living a conscious lifestyle. I also take my journal to write down my thoughts and then my computer as well. I like to share my most fun thought of the day first to encourage others if I can.

I either go to a yoga class or I do a 5/15 minute sequence of my own before work. I put on some emotionally moving music and use those moments to do my sequence as a dance. I use it as a worshipful practice to begin my day off in the right attitude and mindset.

What is one mantra that is like a remedy for your soul?

I made this mantra up coming from a lifestyle before Yoga that was a people pleasing lifestyle. “ I’m not who I thought I was, and I don’t know who I will be, but I am confident of this, that I am becoming who I am.” I also ask myself the question, “ How are the connections?” I do this because if the connections aren’t encouraging me to live that life of authenticity and worry free of pleasing others, then I seek to change that.

How do you channel your inner 5 year old? 

I think that I live with such wonder already in my life, that I stay in that child-likeness all the time. I also play with my crazy dogs. They keep me playful. Plus having a grandchild. Nothing better than that for calling out to that child within.

Tell us one fun fact about yourself. 

I got my nose pierced at this years SYF ( 2015) and my first tattoo at 62 years old a bit later. It’s the lotus because I love the story of the journey of the lotus. When the light draws up the lotus from the muddy and murky pond, the pressure of the rising against the water enables the soil on the lotus to begin to fall away and by the time it reaches the world outside of the water, that which muddied it up and held it down has been purged. That has been very fun to watch happening in my life!

Teri Undreiner GraffitiWhat is your favorite pose to teach in your classes? And why?

I love Warrior Two straight into Exalted Warrior because it is so strong and confident. I love that it is reaching forward as well as back signifying that often life takes you back and forth and you get to learn how to steady yourself. I love going straight into Exalted Warrior because as a faith based yoga teacher, the strength I receive from God through that gives my heart such a burst of gratitude that it just is natural to go from warrior 2 straight there. I like to add on Humble Warrior right after that because it just makes sense to me in that trinity. I think I love these because they give great ideas for intentions, meditations, and themes. So, even though there are 3 here, they become as one pose for me together.

If you’re not on a yoga mat, where can we find you?

Work, writing,  songwriting/ singing, walking dogs.


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