Wanderlust California: An Epic Yoga Retreat
I’m an avid music festivalgoer and regular yogi, but never in my life have I experienced something like Wanderlust. Bringing together spirits from all over the world in the celebration of film, music, nature, yoga, and well-being, Wanderlust at Lake Tahoe is the crown gem of self-discovery.
Here are the 10 things I took away as a first time yogi attending Wanderlust at Squaw Valley. Remember, whatever you do, the choice is all yours. That’s Wanderlust.
1) Recognize the beauty that Lake Tahoe offers.
From it’s lush landscape with one of the world’s most beautiful lakes, brisk air and warm sunshine, Lake Tahoe wins on every level. The weather was absolutely perfect, with sunny skies and a sweet breeze everyday. Bonus points for having the coolest locals ever.
2) Pick an intention.
Before you jet off to Wanderlust, know why you are there. Are you going to gain something? Are you going to give something? Hopefully, it’s both. Maybe it’s love, friendship, excitement, laughter, or your seeking a new path in life. Whatever you come for, do it with a heart wide open. I came to explore. For me, this was enough. Just remember, you have to let go of where you were to get where you can be.
3) Be present in the moment.
Amy Ippoliti’s Radiant Detox Flow class on Friday morning really brought home this message. Being in the moment – mindfulness – is to be open, active, and have attention on the present. To be mindful, you are far greater than your thoughts and rather observer of them without passing judgment. Stimulate your life by living in the moment; don’t let life go by without you. Immediately after this class I began to recognize that mindful people smile more often, exuberate more energy, behave more empathetic, and most importantly, are very secure.
4) Don’t try to plan too much.
My days at Wanderlust really made me throw away my 8 hours of sleep mentality. At the core of Wanderlust is yoga & meditation, but you’d be silly to miss out on all that Wanderlust has to offer – music, the great outdoors, hikes, Soulful cinema, Speakeasy lectures, Farm to Table Dinner, Winderlust, the Tea Tent, organic farming classes with Compass Green & rocking out at the Lululemon d’Om! Let the universe lead you, great things can happen when you’re flexible.
5) Say “Yes” to every opportunity handed to you.
So, you may end up at a party in the woods at 2:00am surrounded by yogis you’ll have class with at 8:00am. Maybe you’ll find yourself on a dream-like bike ride at 6:30am after not sleeping all night because the conversations and energy made you feel high. Perhaps you’ll be sitting next to Moby at midnight drinking tea after an epic DJ set. Say yes, explore, let it take you out of your comfort zone and see how you react. Life is a lot more beautiful and manageable when you proactively create moments of awe.
6) Feel the energy.
The energy at Wanderlust is undeniable, vibrant, and dreamlike. Spending most of my time between NY & LA, the mentality that “we’re all in this together” was so refreshing. It’s easy to approach people and make new friends. Being with a group of like-minded individuals who could see that passing judgment is a waste of time, allowed you to see the light that exists around everyone. Seane Corn talked about this in her Re-claiming the Secret Feminine in All class. To understand the vulnerable, intuitive, shadow, sensitive aspect of yourself is the much-needed balance for the world of the material, appearances, light, ego, and action. It was this type of insight that fueled my mind. Seek out people with different beliefs and views of the world to yours and get to know their side of the story.
7) Repeat mantras and pick one as a take away.
I’d like to share the three mantras that I look away from my weekend at Wanderlust. These came from new friends, old friends, and teachers.
“Change – now.” It encourages me to recognize that I may not be able to do a completely change my life this very moment, but transformation is a process that I can strive at everyday. I want to make the changes today that I will thank myself for tomorrow.
“See the light – be the light.” To view everyone with a bright aura is a beautiful thing! It’s so easy to radiate your own light – everyone should. – Thank you Tenielle!
“We are here together.” It’s easy to get caught up with the idea that we’re not connected and some days feel as though the world has it out for you. Recognize that you have a support system all around you and you will receive support.
8) Let your anxiety go.
“When the breath wanders the mind also is unsteady. But when the breath is calmed the mind too will be still, and the yogi achieves long life. Therefore, one should learn to control the breath. “ ~Svatmarama, Hatha Yoga Pradipika Through breathe, asana, meditation, lifestyle & philosophy, let it all go.
Don’t think about leaving Wanderlust with out an epic dance party! Whether it’s in your yoga classes or at the music events that included Moby, Gramatik, Caravan Palace, Random Rab, Quixotic, Hannah Thiem, East Forest, MC Yogi, DJ Drez and Fabian Alsultany. The mind, body, and spirit connect so when you’re moving and grooving, dancing provides a sense of unity. Plus, it’s a great way to meet people.
Let me break down this last but certainly not least take away! First, there is an automatic attraction to people who smile – you knew this right? Next, even when you’re in the hardest pose of the day, try striking a smile and it’s difficult not to feel good. Smiles are also contagious, so you’re helping others feel real good! Not only that, smiles relieve stress, boost the immune system, lower your blood pressure, and release endorphins & serotonin. Needless to say, my cheeks hurt everyday!
I came to Wanderlust to explore. What I found was beautiful. By travel, empiricism and adventure, we begin to find our most genuine selves. Be brave to break away from your routine and nourish your soul with individuals and communities that indulge your sensibilities. We all have the need to wander, discover, and be curious – and when you take the time to do this you will gain an entirely new perspective on what really matters and just how many possibilities truly exist in life. Most importantly, have fun. Namaste.
ps, I went alone and totally recommend it! Such a big thank you to Wanderlust for having me + Tennielle and Lorriane for blessing me with their friendship and beautiful home.
photo credits: 1: Daniel Craig | 2,3,4,5,6,9,10,11: Ali Kaukas | 7: Megan Kathleen | 8: Stephanie Horvilleur