In partnership with Delta Air Lines, I was finally able to experience what I call, “The Bali of the U.S.”. After an incredible trip to Bali, I was determined to find a place in the U.S. that was energetically charged like Bali. I wanted to visit a city that was situated in nature, a place where I could find peace yet connect with others. And that place happened to be Sedona, Arizona. Luckily, I was able to experience Arizona while the Sedona Yoga Festival was occurring – which was the cherry on top.
I flew Delta Air Lines from Detroit to Phoenix and luckily had the opportunity to experience the brand new Delta Sky Club in Phoenix (Terminal 3, near gate F8). After a 4-hour flight, I needed to refuel and to my surprise, the Delta Sky Club offered healthy Southwestern-inspired cuisine. From eggplant wraps, to vegetable chili, I enjoyed a hearty meal before my mini road trip. Not to mention, the Delta Sky Club was decorated with local art, which was a beautiful touch and warm welcome to a new city. If you’re wondering about access to Delta Sky Clubs in airports, there are a couple categories: Individual or Executive Memberships. You can purchase a Membership or access the Club if you have a select Delta SkyMiles Credit Card. You can get an exclusive rate for you and up to two guests with the Gold and Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Cards or complimentary access to the Delta Sky Club with the Delta Reserve Credit Card. If you go the Executive Membership route, it allows complimentary access for up to 2 guests and an Individual Membership allows you to bring up to 2 guests for a fee (terms apply).
(FYI – For those of you who fly into DTW, there are 4 Delta Sky Club locations. I recommend the Delta Sky Club near Gate A38 because you can shower there - so convenient!)
After the two-hour drive to Sedona, I arrived to our Airbnb, which was nestled between red rocks with scenic views of the city. The following day I put on my yoga attire grabbed my mat and was headed to the Sedona Yoga Festival. Not only does the festival include yoga classes, (amidst the beautiful background) but also there are workshops available for varying interests (breathing techniques, trauma healing and much more). I really had no expectations, but any expectations that I did have, were exceeded when I was able to practice yoga with 100-year old yogi, Tao Porchon-Lynch.
This class was absolutely packed with yogi’s who wanted to share space with Tao and learn from her deep-rooted yoga practice (she started practicing at 8 years old). As our class progressed, many enlightening comments were shared, one which stuck with me, “wake up every single day and say, this will be the best day of my life”. As I reflected on this, it’s the absolute truth. If you can set your mind to a positive state, you naturally create a higher state of energy, which therefore attracts more good into your life. We then were asked to do a few partner sequences. One of the attendees and I started to chat and she mentioned that she was from Chicago. And I informed her that I was from Detroit. She then said, “I knew you were Midwest because you’re so nice, Midwesteners are always nice!” From there, we instantly connected over our Midwest bond.
Following the class, I headed to my next yoga session named, “Blissed out Yoga”. I had no idea what this class would be but I was intrigued. We started the class in a circle (there were about 12 of us). The instructor said, “Okay, we’re going to start with a bit of laughter yoga”. In my mind, I thought… “Hmm, interesting”. Then the instructor gave us a task, “You are to go up to every single person, look them in the eye, and quack like a duck”. My first thought was, “okay, how do I make my exit” but as I watched the instructor demonstrate, I bust out laughing and I continued to do so as I approached all 12 attendees. I think I need laughing yoga everyday.
As the day was winding down, I wanted to make sure I found the best view for a sunset. Many locals suggested Airport Mesa, so I headed there just before the sun went down. One piece of advice is that it gets pretty packed so make sure to get there early to find a parking space. Other than that, it’s truly spectacular.
As I continued to explore Sedona, I stumbled upon what is called a “vortex”. So what exactly is it? A vortex is a swirling center of energy that helps rebalance various parts of your life; whether it’s for spirituality, healing or purely meditation, vortexes are considered to have a positive impact on your mind, body and spirit. (Just think of those mini dust tornadoes that form, it’s quite similar except that you can’t see it).
The hike to Boynton Vortex has two different paths, one that is about .25 miles and the other, which is over 2 miles; I chose the former (I’m an amateur). Nonetheless, the experience was simply magical. As I hiked to the top, I found a lovely spot to sit back and enjoy the scenery. As I sat there, an older gentleman approached me and reached into his pocket, handed me a heart-shaped rock. He then pointed to his head and said, “the problem is here” and then pointed to his heart and said, “and the answer is here…take this heart shaped rock home with you and spread the love, that’s all you need no matter where you are.” I was absolutely in awe of what this man was saying; goosebumps ran down my back and I started to ask him questions. He told me that he comes to this vortex each and every single day to send love to Mother Earth and all of the inhabitants. Additionally, he plays his flute at the top of the vortex and each song is dedicated to a different intention. I sat back for a while, soaking up all this vibrant energy. In that moment, I felt so connected to myself, as well as with the others who happen to share the experience with me.
The rest of the trip consisted of exploration; Chapel of the Holy Cross, Aura Photo at Sacred Elements of Sedona, Cultural Park and delicious breakfast at the Local Juicery.
Chapel of the Holy Cross: Hands down the most stunning chapel I’ve visited. I recommend visiting early in the morning or right before sunset, as it gets pretty busy during the day.
Sacred Elements of Sedona: I randomly drove past this store and was very intrigued with the ‘Aura Photo’ sign. Aura photos are fascinating because they take a still-shot of you and capture the color of your aura. Depending on the color that is presented, it represents deep insights into your emotional, mental, health and spiritual well being.
Cultural Park: This is another perfect spot for catching the sunset. Luckily, when I arrived, there was a man playing his drums and chanting. I gravitated towards him and listened to the sounds as the sun set.
Local Juicery: I absolutely loved the menu at Local Juicery – everything was health conscious with the highest quality ingredients. The ‘Superfood Coffee’ was packed with ingredients that have more benefits that a regular cup of joe. I highly recommend this spot if you visit Sedona.
I certainly wasn’t ready to leave Sedona, but I am so happy that I’ve found my new favorite city. Sedona is truly a place of exploration and inner/external connection – I can go on and on, but I encourage you to experience it for yourself. As I headed back to the airport, I was assisted by a friendly Delta Air Lines agent – who double checked that my precious cargo (wine) would make it back safely to Detroit (visible ‘fragile’ stickers and handle with care tags) – appreciate the little things.
As I sit back and reflect on this trip, I can’t help but smile. It was just want I needed to reconnect back with myself through the practice of yoga and exploration; yet, connect with strangers through beautiful (unplanned) moments. If you ever have any questions about Sedona or Yoga Festival, feel free to reach out to me.
Photography by @valhallacris
In love and light,