Wanderlust is “a strong desire for, or impulse to wander or travel and explore the world.” In July of every year that definition is expanded to encompass the gathering of yogis from all over the globe, in Squaw Valley USA, in search of inspiration, respite and release! And so five years ago it began, this “U.N. of Yoga” as it is sometimes referred to – a compilation of everything yoga, music and nature all wrapped up in a perfect little 4-day package.
This year Wanderlust encouraged us to find our “true north”. I think Rolf Gates explained it best this year when he spoke of the Buddhist “right way”. That perfect balance. That happy place where struggle succumbs to stillness, pain releases to love and ease replaces effort. The “sweet spot” or “happy place” if you will.
Some Wanderlust California class highlights:
• Day 1 started with a serene and beautiful morning meditation hike with Andy Rinder. An acroyoga officianado who led our early morning group while strumming his guitar and singing kirtan. The skies were clear blue and every step of our easy stroll up the hill brought us closer to cascading water and incredible views. Starting your day with meditation is such a gift, but opening up that gift in the midst of the mountains overlooking Squaw Valley – well that my friends is called the “icing on the cake”.
• Day 2 started VERY early – 5:25 am to be exact. We met up with our very own Rick Angelmoyer and headed out to experience some SUP Yoga at Sunrise. Robert and I were honored when Rick asked us to help provide some kirtan support for his 6 am class. Sitting on the rocks, watching the sunrise, singing kirtan as Robert drummed and Mark strummed his guitar was pure MAGIC. These are the moments that no amount of money could ever provide. Pure. Beautiful. Perfect.
• Our early morning chanting continued as we headed off to our next class – Chanting 101 with Janet Stone. I continue to be inspired by Janet as a teacher, mother and singer. She is real and approachable and warm. Her singing communicates this and so much more. Being a part of a room full of yogis chanting to Ganesha, echoing Janet’s call was amazing. When she handed me the mic and asked me to lead my heart (and luckily my voice) raised to the occasion. Such an honor!
• My love of Hindu Deities started with a chance encounter with Ganesha many years ago. Since then my love and fascination with all of the deities has continued to grow. I long to know all about them, hear their stories and include their mantras and chants into my repertoire. We were introduced to Manoj Chalam by MC Yogi during Wanderlust last year as we “lusted” after all of the deities he had displayed for sale. This year as we happened upon his booth Robert was immediately drawn to a large bronze statue of Hanuman that he had on display. He invited us to hear his Speakeasy talk on Hundi & Buddhist Deities and we couldn’t refuse. Manoj’s insight and intelligence is addicting – you just want him to keep talking and sharing his experience. At the end of the talk we were left wanting for more so we headed back to visit him at his booth, buy his book, and yes, we did ultimately buy that amazing statue of Hanuman.
Although it would be impossible to recap everything Manoj spoke of during his talk, you can view the talk he did at Wanderlust Colorado last year.
• To describe a Wanderlust California Pool Party would sound like a dream come to life – beautiful people, incredible music, a pool atop a mountain complete with mermaids, girls dancing in large bubbles that float across the pool, girls flying high in acroyoga poses that boggle the mind, elaborate costumes, hula hoopers, drummers, cocktails and more!
• My “Meditations From The Mat” book has seen better days. It’s accompanied me on trips and made it’s way back and forth to the studio as well as teacher trainings more times than I can count. When I found out that the author of the book, Rolf Gates, was going to be at Wanderlust I said, “Sig me up!”. Rolf is exactly as his writing portraits him – wise, gentle and insightful. When I saw him I immediately thought about Hanuman – a larger than life, muscle bound yogi with a heart of gold. His class guided us towards our “right way”, a buddhist inspired flow that kept me wanting for more. Next stop, Capitola on a Wednesday to get my Rolf fix and hopefully an impromptu surf session as well!
• Every year there’s a “Wanderlust Moment”. That voice, that message, that story or experience that just changes you and impacts you in a profound way. For me that happened on the last day with Sianna Sherman. The class was called, “Activate Your Purpose – Change the World With Your Teaching”. A pretty lofty title but I have to tell you, at least for ME, Sianna delivered. She infused Hindu philosophy, story telling, mantra, meditation and flow as a guide to help us discover our true path as a teacher. Tears flowed down my cheeks as my path appeared to me. I was no longer hiding, or denying or avoiding. Every truth I’ve been shown along this path was suddenly illuminated and I was flooded with gratitude and a strong desire to rush back to Leap to teach my next class. Thank you Sianna.
Check out this video of Wanderlust highlights:
If you missed Wanderlust California this year, no worries, there’s more! Check them all out here: