Sedona Yoga Festival 2018
February 8 – 11, 2018 – I was delighted to moderate two talks with the vibrant 99-year-old yoga master Tao Porchon-Lynch and assist in her yoga class at the 2018 Sedona Yoga Festival. Tao shared insights, taught yoga and danced. As soon as we flew into the Phoenix Airport on Wednesday, a yoga teacher recognized her in the bathroom. Everywhere we go now she has fans. Our volunteer “Angel” Brenda Clark picked us up from the airport and drove us two hours to beautiful Sedona. It’s amazing how the landscape changes along the way–much less visual “noise” than in New York. We stayed at the expansive Sedona Summit, a property of Diamond Resorts. We stayed there last year and it was like going home.
Since my mom and I am producing Tao’s feature-length documentary, I met with Danette Wolpert from Illuminate Film Festival. She has created a much-needed platform for conscious films. I’m so delighted that she is interested in our project. The first event for Tao was an intimate luncheon at Mariposa Restaurant. Chef Lisa Dahl created a custom menu for us. Every dish was like a piece of art and delicious as well. Long-time friend of Tao’s, Valerie Romanoff, sang and played music with other very talented musicians. That evening, I moderated a conversation with Tao related to The Gandhi Effect program we’ve done before. Heather Titus, the co-founder of the Festival, presented Tao with flowers in celebration of her upcoming 100th birthday. It was a very special moment.
On Friday during the day we did some filming of Tao and others for the documentary. Shayan Motion, from Visionary Organics, came in from New York to capture footage throughout the trip. We interviewed Tao, musician Jesse Kalu, yoga teacher Peter Sterios, as well as myself. Tao also did some yoga with the red rocks behind her. It was gorgeous. Thank you to volunteer “Angel” Christina Jobe for shuttling us around. That evening, I moderated another conversation with Tao. Rama Jyoti Vernon was supposed to join us but was under the weather. Instead, her long-time student Ruth Hartung joined us. Tao, Rama and Ruth were all at Yoga for Peace in Israel in 1995. The event was organized by Rama and brought 400 spiritual leaders together to help bring peace to the region. Although we very much missed Rama, it was a magical conversation between Tao and Ruth about yoga, peace, activism and citizen diplomacy.
Saturday was super busy. Tao taught a packed yoga class and I was delighted to assist. Then, she was gracious enough to do a Meet-and-Greet where attendees could get a hug and picture. Tao’s books did not arrive on time so attendees received a special code for free shipping online. Tao’s autobiography, Dancing Light: The Spiritual Side of Being Through the Eyes of a Modern Yoga Master, has won ten awards and her quote book, Shining Bright: Quotes and Images to Inspire Optimism, Gratitude & Belief In Your Limitless Potential, was recently released.
The final event was the OmComing Ball. Tao’s dance teacher/partner, Vard Margaryan, flew in from Florida and they did two dances for the Ball with a dress change in between for Tao. It was electric! Vard danced with Tao on America’s Got Talent in 2015 (watch here). After their dance, MC Yogi performed. He is a phenomenal hip-hop artist/yogi. It was a treat to meet him and his wife Amanda Giacomini. She has a fun and inspirational project called Ten Thousand Buddhas. Thank you to Heather and Marc Titus for hosting a wonderful festival, and their team–Tish Dragonette, Lorrie Lawrence, Bianca Smith, Mike Negron, Erik Flint and so many others. Check out the pictures below. Click on each image to make it larger and feel free to share with friends.