When I followed the Grateful Dead in the 90’s and Phish still today, at the end of my run of shows I always thought, “I don’t want this to end! Can I make it to more shows by the end of the tour?” I would check my bank account and calendar, TRYING to make it happen. We call it the “post-show glow.” The community and group energy is so intoxicating and addictive that you want more. I wanted to be enveloped in the warm embrace of the sights, sounds, smells, and be around amazing like-minded people.
At the end of this past weekend I started thinking “How can I get to Whistler? I must go!” Squaw was my fifth Wanderlust and I’ve never had this feeling before. What happened? Was the event actually better than ever? I don’t think it was, in all honesty, as all the Wanderlusts have been top notch. I can only assume that I am a different person than I was in years past. I have just put behind me a really hard year and I also think I finally figured out how to “do” Wanderlust a little better this year. I’d love to share these….
1) Sometimes the “where” is as important as the “what” or the “who.” If I were to regret something from the weekend it’s that I didn’t take any classes at High Camp nor made it to a pool party. Inclement weather was the main reason for missing pool parties, but taking at least one class up there is so worth it.
2) Don’t skip out on music. The vibe in your yoga classes, when everyone is moving, breathing and meditating together, is the same vibe one can achieve on a dancefloor. When the band and the crowd are locked in, it’s the same as when a yoga class is totally locked in. I skipped a class to see the incredible Polyphonic Spree. I am very grateful for that. At night, Wanderlust curates an overall great line-up and this year didn’t disappoint. My only real complaint was the muddy sound for RJD2, and that DJ Krush had visa issues and did not show up (which is out of the hands of Wanderlust).
3) Mix it up. In the past, I would just sign up for yoga class after yoga class. I’d end up so burnt, my wrists and my shoulders sore and not able to handle another chataranga. This year I switched it up and scheduled things to give me breaks: Kevin Wimmer’s ELMNTL Fitness (only a break from yoga with bear-crawling up Granite Chief, squats with big rocks…yes, I was sore!), Dr. Sara Gottfried’s talk on Endocrine Disruptors in the Speakeasy, my first acro-yoga class, a suspension yoga class, workshops on the deep tissue self-bodywork Soma System…which brings me to…
4) If there is a series of classes taught by one instructor, sign up for them all. My first year I accidentally signed up for the same teacher over the course of three days, not realizing it was a series that built on itself. It really helped my practice. This year, I researched Roman Torgovitsky’s Soma System and it sounded really interesting, so I put myself on the waiting list and was eventually placed into all four classes before the festival began. My thinking was that if I didn’t like the first one, I could drop the rest. I’m glad I did sign up, because after that first class, word was out. It was at capacity for the rest of the weekend and they were turning people away that were on the waiting list. This strategy was really rewarding and I’ll definitely be continuing this at future festivals.
5) Every time you put your mat down next to a stranger, introduce yourself. Similarly, go to classes alone sometimes. It’s great to attend with friends, but take a solo adventure. You never know whom you might meet. I’ve found Wanderlust participants and instructors to be some of the nicest people. Go for it.
6) Know your limits. If you aren’t a morning person, don’t sign up for an 8:00am class. This is supposed to be a fun weekend and you aren’t really in prime physical, emotional or mental condistion for an early class if you danced till 2am, then didn’t fall asleep till 4am. The dancing, community and shit-talking with your new and old friends until the wee hours is all part of the experience.
7) Bigger is not always better. Search out lesser-known instructors and not just go for the “headliners.”You’ll find yourself in more intimate classes, with more hands-on instruction.
This was my best Wanderlust, by far. If I could figure out a way to hit another Wanderlust this year, I’d be there in two seconds. WANDER-MUST…and I’m not even a hard-core yogi. The vocabulary eludes me, I’m not vegan, I’m not into chanting in Sanskrit (although I do get down with a hearty group “OHM”), I still wear swimsuits and basketball shorts to class, and I don’t have any tattoos. Really though, none of this matters. There are a ton of different walks of life at Wanderlust and if you put yourself out there and stay open to any experience, you’ll inevitably be rewarded. See you next year Wanderlust…or maybe….later this year.
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