Let’s be upfront and honest; I had no plans to attend this or any yoga fest for that matter. I’m not averse to yoga, I practice it (not often enough) but didn’t see myself attending a big yoga shindig. I’d never even heard of Wanderlust until a few weeks beforehand when one of my old friends asked me to join him. It seemed like he needed someone to go with and he had been there when I needed him so, off to Wanderlust I went. It had to be a great idea after attempting a 50k trail race, right?
The day before leaving, I met my friend Pete to grab a bunch of his stuff to bring up that way he could drive his motorcycle. It had been nearly 3 years since we last saw each other; it was under much different circumstances as well. It was 2015 and I was attempting to be a finisher in what was supposed to be the final Winter Death Race in Vermont. After twenty hours I dropped out but not before enduring physical torment and mental torment. That was all while plodding through the snow and mountains in -20° temperatures.
But I digress, this weekend we were about to get into some temps much higher than that, so I was welcoming it.
I left my house at 5am Friday morning and got up to the campground we would be staying at around 8:30 am. Our first class wasn’t slated until noon so there was some time to catch up, set the camp up and head to Stratton for class number one! It was by renowned yoga teacher, Seane Corn. This was a pretty intense class to start with and it really got the blood pumping and brought a good amount of focus to be ready for the day. I think there was a bit of a break for a while so I checked out some vendors.
This is where I think Wanderlust could do better. They brought in vendors that were super expensive. I get it, most of the stuff was homemade, but if you are charging hundreds of dollars for the fest, even more for lodging and or camping on site then you have to find some middle ground. Yes, pun intended. I also ranted a bit on Instagram about the fact that while there were plenty of vegan options at the various food vendors, it still bewildered me that it wasn’t more prominent. For an event focused on compassion, alignment with the earth and such it amazes me that there is such disconnect. Though I guess I will take a little rather than none at all, so I wasn’t freaking out on people for that. I did scoff at the woman trying to sell me some leather bullsh*t when I walked by her booth; not today lady! I did pick up my wife some nice homemade earrings from a vendor, pricey yes, but they were beautiful and they look amazing on my wife!
From here on out times started to melt together. My next class was called “Yogathlete” and was taught by Caley Alyssa. She is pretty well known, maybe not as “celebrity status” as some yoga teachers but she has done stuff with Beachbody and partners with a bunch of other brands. That aside, she is humble yet not timid. Her class was so amazing that I forgot about the knee injury I had been dealing with; it felt great afterward. I made sure to look at my schedule for the weekend and change whatever I could to get into another class of hers.
Later on in the day we went on this great hike to the summit of Stratton and set up our mats on the ground, sat down and waited. This amazing artist, Garth Stevenson, had lugged his cello up and started playing it. I swear this may have been when of the most in tune with the world that I ever felt. Click the link on his name to see a sample from another event, it sounds like the piece he may have played for us as well.
Our day came to and end and I slept like a baby that night.
Saturday brought rain, tons and tons of rain. I had another class with Caley and was looking forward to a loving-kindness meditation later in the day. When I got to the Trailhead and signed in to the class I walked in, got set up and waited for the class to start. I began noticing some folks at the front of the room that looked familiar, they had taught an acroyoga class I watched the day before. Why were they here? Were they going to teach the meditation? That might be cool! Nope, I was in the wrong class, this one was to teach how to deal with counter-balance when practicing yoga with a partner.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
“I’M IN THE WRONG CLASS,” I wanted to scream out.
As I silently panicked and tried to figure out a way to escape I figured that was futile; I was set up in the front and at this point I would be a distraction. I rolled with it and figured maybe I was sent to this class for a reason. I am awkward as f*ck when it comes to people, it’s nearly painful for me to meet new people never mind share the same space with them. This class forced me to not only talk to people but touch them and practice very closely with them. I still felt a bit weird at the end, but all in all I came out alive so I guess it wasn’t that bad.
The last thing I had left for the day was a talk, or speakeasy as Wanderlust calls them. This one was put on by Robert and Julie Graham. It was a great talk that talked about the importance of nutrition to one’s practice and life. The one thing I wasn’t a fan of was that Robert said “eat mostly plants and if you are going to eat meat, eat good meat.” What does that even mean?
They did talk about this great book, Ikigai, which I ordered on Amazon shortly after getting home. It’s a book about how the people of Okinawa have some of the longest mortality rates. I’m just getting into it so I don’t have much to report on it but I felt like I connected with the info they were giving about it so I’m hoping I can find my Ikigai!
Sunday morning I decided to leave a bit early. It was raining again and I had just had enough. I think I got what I was looking for at Wanderlust and more. Since them I’ve been more attentive to my breath. I’ve tried to be more conscious of the words I say and the actions I take. We shall see how long it lasts but for now; all is well.