Travel To Magical Sedona Yoga Festival With Dana Damara This March
Cover Photo By Robert Sturman
By Deidre Norman
Once again, we will be heading to one of our favorite yoga festivals, the Sedona Yoga Festival, happening March 14 - 17, 2019. This festival happens in the magical land of Sedona, Arizona. This is the undisputed spiritual mecca of the American Southwest. There are red rock canyons, spires to inspire, the water element of Oak Creek Canyon, and of course, there is the power and transformative ENERGY. No matter your beliefs or background, Sedona is sure to make you feel something. And it has been known since time immemorial to support human transformation. Indigenous tribes frequented the area for ceremony and gathering, yet lived in the distant canyons. It is palpable. People have been coming here, to this small enclave in Northern Arizona for decades now to enjoy its intrinsic stillness and beauty. Some are called, others hear about the healing and transformational energies, regardless those who find themselves in Sedona have an experience.
The Sedona Yoga Festival’s line up , as always, is absolutely incredible. This year we had the opportunity to speak with Dana Damara about her thoughts on the festival and what she will be sharing at SYF!
We are super excited to see you at the Sedona Yoga Festival this March! This is not your first year teaching at the festival, can you share with us why you keep going back?
Sedona is a magical place. Every time I spend time in that part of the world, magic happens. The festival brings all these amazing people together in one spot sharing their love of healing, yoga, mysticism, and connection. Not only that, but Heather and Mark are the real deal. Their commitment to this practice and integrity keeps me coming back. They are up front, authentic and engaged in every aspect of the festival. I love that about them. It gives the entire weekend such a special feel.
You are teaching 3 classes, all of which look amazing. We’d love to know a little more about the Yoga Astrology class?
You know, Astrology has always intrigued me. When I found out that Ha-tha Yoga meant Sun-Moon, I knew the two had to go hand in hand. If we are part of “all that is” then the cycles of the Moon and all the aspects of the planets MUST affect us somehow! For starters, each planet carries certain energies unique to itself. As the planets orbit around they create “aspects” with other planets that can create harmony or disharmony within our bodies. When we know what’s happening “up there” it helps to understand what could be happening within our own bodies. Experiences in our life may begin to make more sense once we know what the planets are doing. Do we live and breathe by the planets? No, please don’t. But in this workshop I offer tools to support your learning and understanding of just how to prepare and align with each Lunation cycle if you so choose. I’ve spent some time studying how to best align ourselves with the Lunar cycles via pranayam, asana, meditation, essential oils, and various rituals. It’s a really fun workshop where we move, breathe and I talk all about astrology and yoga!
And then there is the Mysticism, Ritual and Yoga for the modern Yogi workshop, which we are super excited to attend! We don’t want to take away from anything we will be learning at the workshop, but we would love to know as a modern Yogi, can you share one ritual that keeps you grounded and centered on a daily basis?
Oh boy … just one?
Create an alter and sit at it every single day. Light your candle, recite your chant, apply your breath work and do not leave your room until you do this. Do not sleep with your phone and do not look at it until you connect inward! We are a society that has forgotten just how valuable ritual is. We are incessantly looking outward to find the answers. If we only paused to look inward and really check in with what’s real we would know our own magical essence. Every morning I pray and chant, practice pranayama and asana before I get on with my day. Essential oils are a non-negotiable for me. I have to get up early but it creates my day.
We love that in your bio, you have yourself as "A Spiritual Ninja,” can you tell us a bit about what that means to you?
I love that phrase. It always gets a laugh. Spiritual Ninja means finding that space between breath and reaction as quickly as a Ninja. Being able to sense the imbalances in your body and choose the right tool to bring things back into balance. It means knowing when your soul is speaking and when your ego has taken over. I think we think too much sometimes, instead of just listening to our hearts. The Spiritual Ninja follows her heart and intuition. She drops into her internal knowing and can make decisions using her tools and wisdom to move forward in truth, freedom and love.
Your Youth and Girls Elevate program is very inspiring to us. What inspired you to create this program? And can you share with our readers a bit about this program?
It’s a long story but suffice to say that as a mother of two teenage girls, I find it very valuable to support the next generation in any way I can. I was disheartened when I put my daughters into the public school system and witnessed the lack of social and emotional learning available to them. Now, I know that some schools (especially those in the private sector) offer fantastic programs like the one I wrote. However, every child should have access to something as simple as breathing techniques, emotional management skills, and basic day to day integration of listening in and compassionate training. What our adolescents are up against is down right frightening and I wanted to offer my own children with tools that could help support them like compassion, empathy, self-love, non-violent communication, and yoga and mediation to name a few topics. The classes run every week in the middle and high schools, and we have witnessed huge change in the kids after they go through our program. This isn’t just a yoga and mindfulness program, this is something that really supports the whole child, the teacher and the parents. We give them tools that will last them a lifetime, and support their classmates, teachers and family members so everyone finds a new way to be with each other.
Lastly, what is your favorite part about the Sedona Yoga Festival?
The connection, the people and the engagement of everyone involved. It’s an honor to be a part of this festival. My heart expands exponentially and I’m so grateful to be a part of this festival. I hope you can make it!
To learn more about Dana Damara visit danamdamara.com.
And learn more about the Sedona Yoga Festival visit sedonayogafestival.com.