We've all heard the saying the third time's the charm. But with two immensely successful events now under their belts, the organizers of the Sedona Yoga Festival are faced with a unique challenge for their third conference: how to empower their thriving grass-roots gathering to meet an ever-rising demand -- without losing the intimate, "sacred space" vibe that drew thousands of attendees for the first two years.
Feb. 5-8, Sedona's soaring red rock canyons will once again welcome yogis, spiritual seekers and other members of the conscious community for a long weekend of yoga, music and energy work.
The 2015 presenter lineup is the most robust to date, with a vibrant blend of new additions and returning favorites. SYF is pleased to welcome Saul David Raye, Steve Ross, Bhava Ram, Sara Ivanhoe, and Mas Vidal -- among others -- for the first time in 2015. Esteemed returning presenters include Rama Jyoti Vernon, Suzanne Bryant, Sarah McLean, Sunny Dawn Johnston, Ana Brett and Ravi Singh, and many, many more.
With more than 200 total classes, events, workshops and performances, PLUS presenters from both around the corner and around the globe, festival organizers are expecting a strong attendee base to match.
But the question becomes this: how to maintain the festival's intimacy within its growing popularity? Not surprisingly, there's a simple answer within the wisdom of yoga itself: balance.
"What we're doing here does have elements of a traditional yoga conference," says Marc Titus, SYF Founder and Director. "We're proud to offer world-class presenters, exclusive workshops and top-billing artists. But at heart, this event will always be a festival -- a celebration of life at the deepest level. For 2015, we're excited to give our attendees a beautiful balance of the two ideas."
So how will this delicate balancing act take shape? As with an asana practice, it begins with a subtle drawing in. Instead of 20-plus locations sprinkled throughout Sedona, SYF2015 will take place over just eight venues, including a diverse mixture of local yoga studios, centers for the arts and luxury resorts.
This structure will gives partners the opportunity to host visiting presenters and to highlight their own instructors and offerings, such as at 7 Centers Yoga Arts or McLean Meditation Center. Resort partner Sedona Rouge Hotel & Spa will serve as festival headquarters for the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts, while L'Auberge de Sedona holds a series of evening yoga classes in their cozy yet grand ballroom, as well as host a number of highlight presenters throughout the weekend. T
he Sedona Creative Life Center serves as this year's physical and emotional hub where participants can begin their weekend by attending a Sedona charged Opening Experience designed to welcome and ground participants as they begin their journey at SYF.
Evolving, too, is SYF's focus on bringing attendees together around celebratory music, movement, and conscious cuisine with performances by Arizona's Tuscon Circus Arts, Flagstaff Aerial Arts, AcroYoga Phoenix, Sacred Gs and others at every lunch hour and evening throughout the weekend.
Attendees can return to the Heart Center Village anytime to enjoy connecting and then mingle at the nightly Purium "Healthy Happy Hours" - complementing SYF's strong nutrition tract - before they jot off to evening kirtans or restorative yoga classes and after parties.
Many sessions will be accompanied by live music, sound healing, or djs, and Sunday night's Ananda Kirtan with Saul David Raye is sure to seal the weekend's experience with a spiritual kiss.
Sedona Yoga Festival attendees are also making plans to work "extracurricular activities" into their weekend schedules. And since the 2015 Festival lineup is already brimming with mindful music, land hikes, movement and social events, many have already added extra days to their itineraries to accommodate additional fun.
"Sedona has been on my wish list for years," says Deanna Hirsch, a Denver-based writer and yoga instructor. "There's so much to do there that you can't do anywhere else! Once I bought my Festival pass, I decided to make my long weekend a bit longer."
In keeping with the spirit of seva, SYF is donating a portion of conference proceeds to the Give Back Yoga Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting yoga teachers in the offering of service to their communities.
SYF2015 kicks off at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 4. For schedules and tickets, visit www.sedonayogafestival.com.