A festival full of yoga, music, and opportunities for one-of-a-kind experiences nestled in the heart of the mountains? Yes, it exists. This powerful combination of soulful healing has been packaged together on life’s roadmap to bring anyone seeking a fresh direction, personal discovery, and template to ignite the spirit into a realm of becoming truly awake.
Last month, I had an opportunity to be a yoga and meditation presenter at Wanderlust Snowmass-Aspen followed by a participant at Wanderlust Squaw Valley which is where such a festival occurs. People from all over the country gather to become One – a community that thrives based off the seeking nature of our human element – to find happiness within.
There is a yoga movement in our Western culture that goes beyond placing the body in shapes, getting a workout with short recovery after. As the human need for happiness increases (partly due thinking that nothing is ever enough: finances, relationships, career), the pursuit becomes an endless chase, without taking a moment to find pause and appreciate the journey.
There is a void of what it means to be connected to our conscious state. We are overworked, overstressed, overstimulated, and overfed which results in trying to make sense of the residue consisting of under appreciation, feeling unrested, unfulfilled, and unnourished.
By practicing yoga, the opportunity presents itself to connect and unveil our true consciousness that brings forth the essence to be a human being instead of a human in constant doing.
The valuable teachings of yoga from over 5,000 years ago have remerged heavily into our Westernized society as we continue to fill our mind and body inboxes with constant junk mail due to a faulty filter of priorities, obligations, and misconstrued sense of self that alters the ability to connect and find peace within.
As an “all-American girl”, I too am a seeker of happiness, but have found refuge in the ancient and sacred art of yoga to light insightful direction on my path. Like many, I suffer from life’s ailments that bring forth frustration, doubt, sadness, fear, and anything else that seems to justify that the present moment is not enough. However, it is because of these components that I rely heavily on the teachings of yoga to offer a sense of healing to mind, body, and spirit.
My favorite Wanderlust takeaways that have helped me seek the route of happiness from within:
Connection & Community
(Sangha) we are nothing without it. Imagine being surrounded by complete joyful strangers? Feelings of unfamiliarity become obsolete. There is a place to belong, just as you are where you are never alone. Like minds moving in all different directions seeking similar results. With the embracement of spirituality as a movement away from organized religion, individuals need connection, comfort and a place that offers hope, regardless of what you look like, sexual orientation, beliefs, status, etc.
(Yamas & Niyamas) how do daily choices create refuge on the path of kindness, truth, and authenticity? Actions, thoughts, and words create the mirror in which we live. Making a small adjustment to internal dialogue and interaction with others creates a ripple effect. Ultimately what you put out there will find its way back.
Sing, dance, laugh, move – Science is continuing to offer quantitative research on the effects of energy and neuropathways that lead back us to the subtle energy body. The yogic chakra system needs constant clearing to remove the stale, lethargic, negative energy accumulated by the lingering toxicity of our daily lives. By doing yoga, meditation, singing, dancing, any sort of physical act, our bodily energy works to find inner attunement.
(Svadyhaya) Take an inventory, self-study of where you are. Can you do more with less? What happens when there is an emphasis to non-reactivity? When moments of inner reflection are created, do we then allow for growth, freedom, and change.
Live your Dharma. It takes courage and exposure to be what you consciously are. Are you living your life to the fullest? Get uncomfortable. This is how we grow and face fear that debilitates the highest self. Habits keep us tethered to the vicious cycles of failure and fear. By selling short of living to our greatest purpose, potential, and meaning within each moment, we lack the ability to make impacts and differences in the world.
(Pranayama) Not everyone has the luxury to breath fresh invigorating Aspen filled air, but we do have breath—each and every second. When was the last time you stopped to take ten deep breaths without doing anything else but just that? The breath is our lifeline. Find it. Cherish it and use the breath as a tool to keep presence at the forefront of daily living.
Love & Gratitude
Unconditionally. The act of offering, receiving, and allowing love and gratitude is a devotional practice itself.
Practice. Practice. Practice
(Abhyasa) it’s not going to be perfect and that is the entire point. Show up as you are, day after day. The process of discovery is the reward.
(Vairagya) Let go. Grasping and trying to control circumstances result in wasted time, effort, and energy. By trusting the inner light that shines with ever presence, a true balance of conscious surrender clears the path to invite life’s greatest pleasures in one moment at a time.
As or culture continues to thrive at its current pace, human beings are going to end up depleted without having the opportunity to make sense of the inner turmoil that exists within each and every one of us.
However, taking an adventurous leap of faith on an ancient path that directly correlates to happiness and well-being, is a way to find true inner peace among the distraught pieces of mind, body, and spirit are that become unveiled. The yoga movement goes well beyond putting the body in “stretching” mode; it is a movement that provides direction, inner guidance and healing that doesn’t require anything else but showing up with a willingness to do the work.
Live Free – Be Happy – Find Your Center Friends!