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My time at the Sedona Yoga Festival

by Arundhati Baitmangalkar

Finally wrapping up traveling for a while now. I am looking forward to spending Spring at Aham Yoga with the teacher trainees and workshops that we have lined up. My time at the Sedona Yoga Festival was wonderful. I was invited to teach three topics initially at the festival. But due to scheduling constraints, we chose to drop one. On Saturday, I taught the Story of Yoga. This is one of my signature topics at conferences and festivals. I taught the same one at the Minneapolis yoga conference, the weekend prior. This topic traces the journey of yoga through time, how it was passed on and made it way down centuries and finally crossed over into modern yoga. We also look at ancient sources and traditions influencing this topic. It is truly fascinating.  Sedona Yoga Festival, has introduced a live stream of a few topics.  The story of Yoga was chosen to be one of them. (You can buy your copy here) I was due to teach this topic over 4 hours, but they changed it two hours. So it is more an express version of Yoga through time. I love geeking out on classical yoga, modern yoga, the roots, the legends, the future of yoga so this topic is totally up my alley. The participants were warm and friendly. I appreciate people who choose to learn topics beyond asana when possible.

On Sunday, I taught an asana class. It was called Pathway to Padmasana. Having been born and raised in India. Squatting or sitting down on the floor comes naturally to me. Padmasana or Lotus pose was no exception. Since Padmasana is considered to the ultimate yogic pose for meditation. When I began teaching yoga classes in  Yoga in the US, I noticed that poses like Lotus were challenging for many of my students. So I began teaching “pathway to padmasana” in my classes. And gradually started offering this to a larger audience as I began noticing how this sequence benefitted my students. I will be teaching this again in Portland this April at the Yoga Expo but in a condensed format. The class had yoga teachers and students from many different parts of the country including Seattle.

If you follow my blogs regularly, you know that I am not big on taking yoga class pictures while teaching. So most of what you will see will be pictures out of class or a picture that I snuck in. I believe in focusing all my creative energy towards the class and not be caught up in getting pictures for social media. In my head, I am somehow discouraging the social media culture that had overtaken yoga.

But here is an account of my weekend at the Sedona Yoga Festival. Since Seattle has had only 3 sunny days since October. I could not get enough sunshine and Vitamin D. People who live in sunny places, really do not know how lucky they are. Friday went in travel. I do not like flying, but seems to be getting easier with every flight I take.

The view of the Grand Canyon from the air. Do you know, this is one of my most favorite places on the planet. The wonder doesn’t seem to end for me. Arundhati at the Sedona Yoga Festival

Such a difference from the gray skies of Seattle as we got in Phoenix.
Arundhati at the Sedona Yoga Festival The giant size cacti all over were most entertaining on my drive into Sedona.
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I taught my first class, the Story of Yoga at the Vista Hall at the Collective in Sedona.

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Not a shot of my class. All my classes were indoors. But check out the mountain view. It was all over! Just never ending, breathtaking beauty.

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This was day 1 of my class. The Story of Yoga! This available for Livestream purchase. You can buy your copy here.

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Seriously could not handle how bright Sedona was! Living in Seattle does that to your eyes…This is another view of my class before it started. IMG 1044

More red mountains. IMG 1049

And finally a picture of me teaching the class. I know it is not a great picturethat’s thats all I have.

IMG 1051 Yes! I took a lot of pictures. Like I have never seen mountains before.
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And more…

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A picture of my Pathway To Padmasana class. Again not the best of shots. But it was a great class with many eager to learn students. Two were from Seattle too. But they all worked so sincerely towards mastering their way upto Padmasana.


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I managed to get Karthik to come along so he could get a break from work as well. IMG 1164

Sedona is so new! Just a little over a 100 years old. This is a few years older than my grandparents! Coming from an old country like India, this amazes me.
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I got to do some hikes after teaching and it was wonderful to be out in nature. IMG 1175

Airport Mesa vortex! I did not find any energy at the vortex. Guessing I am not as connected to the Earth to feel this energy. Lol! IMG 1176 I really tried! Was difficult to keep my eyes closed with this gorgeous beauty in front of me.
Arundhati at the Sedona Yoga festival

I do have a lot more pictures of mountains and rocks. But I think I will stop for now. Overall I realize that there is a good difference between a yoga conference and a yoga festival. A yoga festival definitely has more of a relaxed atmosphere to it. A yoga conference is also more intimate and has a different atmosphere of learning attached to it. To me, Sedona is the biggest attraction because of the sheer beauty of mother nature. I had a great weekend teaching and unwinding, looking at the mountains, being in the sunshine. And doing something out of my ordinary routine. I look forward to being at a lot more yoga festivals and conferences in the years to come. I notice how there is a need for people to connect to yoga beyond just yoga poses, to understand Yoga’s rich heritage and to become more responsible yoga practitioners because how we pass on yoga to the generations to come will determine how well preserved it remains.


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