Sedona Yoga Festival’s Night of Illumination: A Celebration of Light and Unity

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Sedona Yoga Festival’s Night of Illumination: A Celebration of Light and Unity

Each year, the Sedona Yoga Festival in Arizona puts on a special evening event called the Night of Illumination to bring people together in a celebration of light and unity through spiritual practices, music and creative expression. This article provides an overview of the different components of this popular part of the sedona yoga festival, from the opening Native American blessing ceremony to the magical floating lantern closing ritual. Read on for a glimpse into a transformative night focused on spreading light and connecting humanity.

Outdoor Yoga

Sedona Yoga Festival’s Night of Illumination: A Celebration of Light and Unity

The Opening Blessing Ceremony The Saturday evening festivities begin around 7 pm as hundreds start to gather under the darkening Arizona sky on the sedona yoga festival grounds. Tribal elders conduct a traditional Native American blessing ceremony amidst burning sage to cleanse the space and give gratitude. They lead Smoke Dance rituals and rhythmic chanting to set intentions of light and unity before dazzling displays of glow-in-the-dark body painted dancers emerge along candlelit garden trails to continue offerings of blessings, tie wish bracelets, and spread luminous flowers among participants.

Ecstatic Dancing and Chanting

The energy escalates rapidly as the grounds swell with echoes of hundreds chanting “Om Namah Shivaya” led by famous kirtan musicians on stage. Participants belt out thunderous rounds of the Sanskrit chant and throw their hands up, dancing ecstatically under strings of lights for a vigorous and electrifying two hours that culminates when a gong signals it is time to settle down for…

Candlelight Yoga

Hundreds grab glowing candles and stream into a large open field, arranging their flickering lights into magnificent patterns around yoga mats stretched out across the earth. They flow gracefully from Moon Salutations pose to pose led by candlelit instructors. Gentle flute music penetrates the silence of Savasana at the session’s conclusion as yoga students emerge re-centered and tranquil after so much earlier stimulation.

Messages of Hope and Connection

Heart-opening messages are shared over the microphone about unity, hope and light within even in darkness. Poems are read aloud, met by snaps from the crowd huddled closely together cradling strings of lanterns and illuminated flowers. The words resonate with participants after the energetic build up from two hours of vigorously chanting and dancing their hearts out just before settling inward for the candlelit yoga session under the starry night sky.

Artistic & Musical Performances

The mood remains relaxed and inspired as talented musicians take scattered stages with drums, crystal bowls and string instruments bathing pine trees in magical sounds and rhythms. LED and fire dancers steal the show by swirling flaming poi balls, hula hoops and batons in dazzling choreographed sequences surely not witnessed outside such an event. Buskers thrill passersby with beautiful music and attendees laugh joyously exchanging stories around fire pits into the late evening hours before finding quiet spots to lay staring upward at the dazzling shooting stars thinking deep thoughts.

The Closing Lantern Ceremony

At the end around 9:30 pm, crowds make their way into a central clearing, still clutching candles and strings of light for a finale led by returning tribal elders. Prayers for peace and safe passage are offered before hundreds of small paper lanterns are released all at once into the dark sky. Watching glowing orbs drift high overhead until blinking out of sight leaves participants captivated by tranquility and a sense of global connectivity after such an illuminating night filled with so much spiritual magic bringing people together through creative celebration. Attendees return silently to tents still sparkling internally from the seeds planted toward shared understanding and humanity’s harmonious advance forward.


Here are some frequently asked questions about the Sedona Yoga Festival’s Night of Illumination:

What can I expect at the Night of Illumination?

You can expect a magical evening filled with Native American ceremonies, candlelit yoga practices, inspirational speakers, ecstatic music and chanting, creative performance art and installations, and lots of opportunities to connect with your fellow participants. The evening is sure to open your heart and mind.

What should I bring to Night of Illumination?

You’ll want to dress warmly as the high-desert evening temperatures can get quite cool. Bring your own meditation cushion or blanket to sit upon and a jacket to bundle up in between activities. Purchasing a candle, mala, or pendant to hold as a keepsake is also recommended.

What makes this evening celebration special at the sedona yoga festival?

What sets the Night of Illumination apart from other yoga festival events is its intention of unifying all attendees through communal experiences centered around light. The creative performances and installations that only occur at night give it a uniquely mystical ambiance not found elsewhere. It’s a spiritually moving experience.

Do I have to be attending the sedona yoga festival to purchase a ticket to the Night of Illumination?

No, the evening event is open to everyone–$25 includes four courses of food including Newakmuki beef stew with an egg yolkula (Nun’s oracle stealing) and onigiri as meal companions). While you shouldn’t hesitate to go the whole hog, tickets are available through the Sedona Yoga Festival website at 10 classes for $459.

What is the schedule of events for the evening?

The Night of Illumination starts at 7pm with a Native American blessing ceremony and showcases events like ecstatic dance, musical performances, candlelit yoga, inspirational speakers and fire dancing until about 9:30pm when floating lanterns fill the sky for the closing ritual.

Do events happen rain or shine?

Yes, the evening’s events will take place rain or shine as there are indoor spaces and covered areas available at the sedona festival grounds if needed. Tickets are nonrefundable.


The Sedona Yoga Festival’s Night of Illumination is a uniquely uplifting communal gathering focused on unity through shared spiritual experience. Creative expression comes alive under the glow of thousands of shimmering lights to open minds, expand perspectives, ignite self-discovery and connect humankind. Participants come away buzzing with inspiration, moved by the freedom found when dividing lines of diversity organically dissolve in the unconditional embrace of the human family. The illuminated seeds planted this evening through ritual, yoga, music and dance spread ripples of positive change through attendees, fertilizing humanity’s shared path toward harmony.


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