What happens when you find yourself surrounded by the majesty of peaking mountaintops, vibrational heart-moving music, and authentic connections with complete strangers, while being under the guidance of endearing yoga instructors?
You find the Wanderlust Festival. Wanderlust is defined as the “desire to rove or travel about.”
Usually, when 1,000 plus people gather to rove without a specific direction, one can envision complete mayhem. However this is a yoga experience that embraces what it means to seek movement from the outside inward.
I had the fortunate experience of attending two of the nine Wanderlust Festivals that occur around the US and Canada earlier this month in Aspen/Snowmass, Colorado and Squaw Valley, California. As a yoga teacher and devoted practitioner, this is my time to geek-out on the abundant opportunities a yoga festival of this magnitude offers: meditation, guest lectures, hikes, yoga classes, sound healing, stand up paddle yoga, white water rafting, mountain biking, pool parties, music concerts, DJ’s, wine, food, and more.
With a smorgasbord board of options to choose from to fill my four-day pass, one may think, “how do you do it all?” But this is where the true magic of roving and travel come into play: you reconnect to your greatest self and follow your heart.
Like many of you reading this, I am the poster child or being in “go-mode” 100% of the time. As a full-time educator and part-time yoga teacher, my life is full of constant “to-do’s.” We all have obligations and responsibilities of career, family, and the relationships that drive them, however, when we push ourselves to the limits of overwork and stress, we lose sight of what it means to enjoy the gifts of life. Therefore, the journey of traveling inside to take retreat for the body and mind to recalibrate is part of the magical experience Wanderlust offers.
At the start of my first yoga class, I arrived with my mind racing from anticipation of what the instructor will offer — painful thoughts of past relationships, and aching muscles from the long car ride. Definitely a cocktail of disruption with limited hopes of being “present.” But then, I looked to unroll my yoga mat in a room of 150 other practitioners, and was guided by a sticker on the floor (to help accommodated large numbers and adequate space to move) that read, “surrender.”
Simply stated, this is one of the many examples where one can experience a sanctuary on the yoga mat to tap into an unlimited resource of self and energy that many times gets blocked by the craziness from our outside world.
By immersing myself in a place that allows thousands of strangers to freely wander together, celebrating the environment and embracing the uniqueness of yoga disciplines, I learned:
2. To look at the inner compass of awareness that serves as a reminder to seek connection, wholeness, and nourishment of the soul.
3. I was reminded to be kinder to myself by slowing down and allowing rest and ease to surface. This helped me identify my natural tendency to sabotage any efforts of healing by feeding the mind with distracting thoughts that fueled struggle rather then surrender to it.
4. By taking deep breaths of the pure mountain air, I could identify with parts of my mind and body that have been neglected.
5. But most importantly, I allowed myself to feel present to the abundant offerings of Wanderlust that ultimately led me to look at the direction that pointed right back to myself, my source, and inner healing.
This roving path is comprised of the souls journey inward. I am grateful to share my Wanderlust experience with others because sometimes it takes the unconditional love of strangers, pureness of the earth, and movement created from the yoga mat to deeply appreciate every step on my journey inside out.