Give It Up For Grace!

Sedona Yoga Festival is back. We couldn’t be more excited to gather with you, and to welcome our community back to Sedona for our 2022 event. While our themes typically revolve around personal transformation and spiritual evolution, this year we’re encouraging the contemplation of outward motion. We’re Giving It Up for Grace for the 2022 festival — throwing our hands up exploring what it means to return to joy, to celebrate safe and intentional community, and to cultivate grace and gratitude.

We don’t know about you, but we’re ready to throw our hands up and dance. We’re ready to lift our voices, both individually and collectively, and tune into the small beauties and bounties of the world that make life inspirational and magical. This may feel like the synchronicities of bodies moving together in asana flow — in the fresh air of the great outdoors — or the resonance of a whole-hearted Om. It may feel like the transcendence of breath filling our bodies with power, or the softness of sinking into an expressive kirtan. It may be the enthusiasm we feel after a particularly inspirational talk, or the motivation of education after a particularly resonant course. 

Because yoga, at its core, is truly about seeking, encouraging, and creating light in the darkness. It’s about prioritizing the bliss that is one’s birthright — both for yourself, and all living beings. 

Having said that, we’d be remiss not to acknowledge that the past couple of years have been tough. In her seminal book, “When Things Fall Apart,” American Tibetan Buddhist scholar Pema Chödrön writes: 

Things falling apart is a kind of testing and also a kind of healing. We think the point is to pass the test or to overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.

It’s apt advice to keep in mind as we return from the past two years: years of great upheaval, transition, and healing. Some would say that 2020 and 2021 have prepared us for an awakening, that the disruptions we’ve experienced — as a global, national, and yoga community — have primed us for a greater understanding of our humanity, and have paved the way for a healing that will transcend even the parameters of that upheaval. In these cataclysms we’ve experienced loss, but we’ve simultaneously created room, as Chödrön would say, for that joy that we’re seeking as we come together in celebration of community and practice.

In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali instructs surrender in the fifth of the niyamas, Isvarapranidhana. The idea is to give it up to the divine, to release the need to hold on and control, even in the midst of what seems impossible to let go. As we prepare to intentinoally and safely gather, we’re leaning into not just the “practice” of yoga, but what it means to live in our yoga: to softly lay down the burdens in favor of wonder and delight. We’re leaning into what it means to be in grace, and to live grace with those around us — even those with whom we may disagree. 

Whatever it is that helps you Give It Up for Grace, we want to find it with you this May.

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