I am a sucker for yoga retreats, and for sunny locales, so when I saw that the Sedona Yoga Festival was in early February I happily packed my bags and left the bitter cold and snowy east coast behind and headed west. There are a number of yoga festivals these days and each one has their own niche and focus.
The Sedona Yoga Festival is definitely more spiritual, and offers many interesting courses that relate to both personal and spiritual wellbeing – in fact most of the courses I signed up for were more about spirituality and physical health than active asana posture classes. As a spiritual center just being in Sedona opens your heart, so pairing this amazingly powerful and picturesque location with being surrounded by a group of like-minded seekers is a blissful combination.
The Sedona Yoga Festival has something for everyone, yoga philosophy, crystal healing, ayurveda, meditation, breathing/pranayama, a slew of different active yoga classes including aerial yoga, etc. There was also a number of kundalini yoga classes that I enjoyed taking, as this is a form of yoga that is not as popular as Hatha yoga so harder to find in festivals and local studios. It was hard to stay within my class limit! At a time in my life where issues around aging become a concern, the class that most resonated with me was Aging Gracefully, The Yogic Lifestyle by Pamela Quinn.
Pamela owns Elemental Om, a yoga, ayurveda and meditation studio in Greater Cincinnati and gave a very informative talk about the changes you should consider making in diet and movement for life after the age of 40. In addition to dietary guidelines, she proposed incorporating a daily ‘Sadhana’ practice, a personal spiritual practice to be done for about an hour every morning. It combines traditional yoga, kundalini kriyas, breathing exercises, meditation and journaling exercises. I continue with this practice at home and definitely feel a difference in my energy and focus throughout the day – and the ritual of it keeps the flame of Sedona alive in me.
As one of the speakers said, there is something about Sedona that draws you back, and I already look forward to Sedona Yoga Festival 2016!