Wanderlust Revisited - One Year Later
A little over a year ago I found myself at the Wanderlust festival on Stratton mountain, yoga mat curled under my arm, heading to my first ever yoga class. During those 90 minutes, I had absolutely NO CLUE what I was doing (and stayed in the very last row just so I could copy everyone else’s movements), but found that I didn’t care..it felt amazing. And I was hooked.
While most of my fellow festival goers had booked their tickets and planned their schedules months in advance, I showed up on a whim. I was working for a brand that was sponsoring the event, and went in with a very blasé attitude toward the whole thing. Me? Yoga? It seemed like a completely different world from my adrenaline filled, muddy boot adventures. Admittedly, I had a stigmatized view of what yoga IS, and had a million reasons why I thought it wasn’t for me. But even so, the energy of the festival won me over, and I started to get curious. The next morning, I joined a meditation class.
Meditation might sound like an ambitious place to start, but I figured if this whole weekend was centered around being a stress-free environment, why not start with the least stressful practice of all? After that class, I wanted to dive deeper. And that’s when I found myself in The Greater Place (their name for a giant outdoor tent meant for the big - and I mean BIG - group classes) waiting to begin my first ever yoga class with the renowned, Seane Corn. At the time, I had no clue who this woman was (that has definitely since changed!), but the way she spoke and guided our bodies for those 90 minutes sparked a fire inside me. I left the class with one of those classic “yogi highs”, and started questioning WHY DID IT TAKE ME SO LONG TO TRY THIS?! A few classes later, our weekend was wrapped up. I left that first Wanderlust filled to the brim with inspiration and a million questions. I needed to know more about yoga.
The real practicing - and research - began when I got back home. I learned that the classes I most enjoyed at the festival were Vinyasa flows. With a couple quick app downloads, MINDBODY is still a favorite, I was able to find countless studios near me, with dozens of types of classes. Don’t get me wrong, I had no idea what the difference was between a Hatha or Ashtanga practice at first, but that’s the fun of learning something new! Especially a physical activity, you feel what works for your body. After a week of classes, there were already some pretty amazing changes. I woke up with more energy, I felt stronger, and my skin was glowing. I also realized that in that week, I hadn’t had a single tension headache or migraine (two things I suffered from quite often). That alone kept me going, because I knew if anything could naturally keep my migraines at bay, it was worth investing in. Since I travel so often, practicing in a single studio has never been a viable option. That’s when I really started getting more into home practice. My favorite sources for this are Yoga International, Alo Moves, and Wanderlust’s own channel - Wanderlust TV. There are obviously THOUSANDS of videos out there online, so this is just a starting off point if you’re interested!
So back to Wanderlust. Months before the event, I knew I had to go back. I had to! After a year of practice, I couldn’t believe how much yoga had changed me - mind, body and soul. I had to pay homage to the place where it all began. Since Stratton is my home IKON mountain, I have come to know the terrain pretty well. And the thing I love about Wanderlust is that it really invites you to get out in that terrain! I took full advantage of every aspect of the festival this year, participating in SO MANY classes - including going back to Seane Corn’s!, hiking on the mountain (while experiencing one of the most incredible sunsets I’ve seen in the Northeast), and dancing with strangers during Saturday night’s concert. Some of my favorite classes this time around were the ones that had the whole class came together as one. Gina Caputo’s Vinyasa flow on the summit was amazing, as were David Vendetti’s and Donovan McGrath’s classes (those two had me in tears, their classes were so powerful!). I think my biggest takeaway this year was just letting myself entirely surrender to what the festival can offer - yoga of all types, people of all types, meditation, mountain air… after three days, I was emotionally spent. I had laughed, cried, danced, and just loved more than ever. And that’s been my biggest transformation through yoga - to just allow these opportunities into my life instead of shying away from them. With one year down, I can’t wait to see how my practice will transform in the next.