My Experience at Wanderlust Whistler

Photo by Raffaella Dice for Wanderlust Festival
Photo by Raffaella Dice for Wanderlust Festival

Yoga is an inner journey of soul and body, or at least that’s what I’ve been told. I first came to practice yoga because it looked like easy exercise, but after I left my first yoga class drenched in sweat, I realized it wasn’t as easy as it looked. However, I liked it, I enjoyed it, and it was a good workout for me.

There was no spiritual journey about yoga that I could ever really grasp. I listened to my teacher’s words during classes, and thought deep and hard and let it all go, but there was never an enlightening moment – there was never an instance where I could truly say that I understood what yoga was really supposed to be about.

I was too busy making sure my posture was correct, and memorizing sun salutations, to make any sort of spiritual connection within myself. 

Photo by Stephen McVeigh for Wanderlust Festival.
Photo by Stephen McVeigh for Wanderlust Festival

I went to the Whistler Wanderlust Festival simply thinking that I would learn about the different varieties of yoga and try some new things, meet some new people, and have a good time.

I didn’t expect myself to start brushing away tears in the middle of a yoga class, suddenly in touch with a deeper connection, learning more about myself than just how to hold a yoga position.

Photo by Jon Chiang for Wanderlust Festival.
Photo by Jon Chiang for Wanderlust Festival

The Wanderlust Festival is an incredible experience, bringing together a worldwide community of yoga lovers – teachers, experienced students, and newbies, like myself  – for over 6 years now.

It offers a schedule that is packed to the brim with varieties of yoga classes like suspension yoga and yin yoga, but also experiences like hiking, mountain biking, winederlust, musical performances and farm-to-table dinners. The teachers at Wanderlust come from all over the world – some are renowned and sought after, and others might be local to the community – but every teacher I met was absolutely wonderful and brought their own perspective to their teachings.

Photo by Raffaella Dice for Wanderlust Festival.
Photo by Raffaella Dice for Wanderlust Festival

I sat in on a Speakeasy session with the co-founders of Wanderlust, Sean Hoess and Jeff Krasno, along with yoga teacher Eoin Finn. I was delighted to learn how down to earth and real they came across – their intent to bring together this community, to revel together in music and yoga and offer a transformative experience seemed true to who they were.

Their intent on expanding the festival further throughout North America and beyond was exciting – Australia has had a few one-day festivals already, and Europe is next on the agenda. The various locations chosen for the festival are all based on their natural beauty, whether surrounded by mountains or ocean or vast desserts.

Photo by Leah Martin for Wanderlust Festival.
Photo by Leah Martin for Wanderlust Festival

In the middle of a power fusion yoga class, where a live DJ would spin tracks according to the vibe of the room, an awesome idea brought together by yoga teacher Melissa Longfellow and DJ Hyfi, I had a breakthrough. Throughout the class we were encouraged to let ourselves go and to dance with the music however and whenever we felt the urge – even in downward dog we were shimmying our hips and going with the flow.

The freedom I discovered in this class, and so many others throughout the festival, was absolutely profound. Yoga suddenly wasn’t about hitting the Warrior II or Dancer pose precisely – and that usually consisted of me focusing on the people around me to make sure I was doing things right. Yoga suddenly became much more than that.

I was present in that moment. I was moving my body without any self-consciousness. It was like the light suddenly turned on and shone on me. It was something spiritual and almost magical – and I had to blink away tears as I felt this irrepressible  joy building up inside of me.

I’ll never forget that class. I’ll never forget that feeling.

I came away from Wanderlust more knowledgable and enlightened than I when I first arrived. I loved my experience at the festival and am so excited to be there to discover more next year!

Upcoming Wanderlust Festival tickets are available on the official Wanderlust website

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  • That looks like a lot of fun! I wonder if they are the same people that organizes the one in Tahoe. After seeing this pictures I would really want to go next year! The second photo is incredible.

    • Yes, the Wanderlust Festival was in Tahoe, Squaw Valley, and there’s a ton more locations! It really was an awesome time 🙂

  • Wow. This seems so amazing! I, too, am new(er) to yoga. I absolutely love it but I’ve not ever felt that spiritual connection. I want to see if there is a festival in my region as well. So happy you had a wonderful experience. Stopping by from the link up.

    plumtickledpink.blogspot.com

    • They hold festivals all over North America & now in Australia & New Zealand, I’m sure they’ll have one somewhere close to you 🙂

  • Visiting from Thoughts for Thursday! This sounds like an incredible experience! I’ve always wanted to join the wonderful world of yoga. I’ve been saying that as soon as I recover from my hip injury, I’ll start practicing. Unfortunately, 15 months and 3 surgeries later, I’m still holding out for that “one day.” I’m glad you finally experienced a connection 🙂

    • You should give it a try and see if it’s for you. I definitely don’t think EVERYONE would absolutely love yoga, but there are a ton of health benefits.

  • Wow this sounds like an awesome event! I’ve only done yoga at home with dvds but I always feel so good after I do it. I’m too scared to go to an actual class but I’m thinking I need to get over that fear and just do it!
    Life as I know it

    • GO to a class! I do dvds at home as well, since it’s inexpensive and can be done whenever you have time, but when I go to a class there’s a bit of a difference I feel even in my own yoga positions 🙂

  • This looks really cool! I have done yoga on my own for a while, but I did my first yoga class last week. I didn’t feel much of a spiritual thing going on either! I guess it comes as you keep practicing!