There is a saying here in the islands: Lucky you live Hawaii. Despite not being grammatically correct, it captures the sense of wonder and excitement that really does infuse everyday life. A beautiful surf session, a day in the forest, or a beach picnic during the ‘winter’ months can inspire us to utter this statement. This sense of lucky we live Hawaii was apparent during the recent Wanderlust Oahu Festival. The yoga event brought together yogis, dancers, musicians, artists and surfers to celebrate the bliss of yoga and mindful living in one of the most beautiful places on earth.
Wanderlust Festival is growing, global movement to celebrate the yoga community. Founders John Krasno and Seane Hoess explain that while they enjoy their time ‘on the mat’ they also want people to experience a connection with nature. This has inspired them to start festivals in areas of incredible natural beauty: Stratton Mountain in Vermont, Copper Mountain in Colorado, Squaw Valley in California, and Whistler in Canada and in Chile, where the first Wanderlust was celebrated in February 2013. Hosting the Oahu Wanderlust Festival at Turtle Bay was a unique opportunity to take advantage of our relatively warm winter weather, but also expose people to ocean based activities like surfing and stand-up paddleboarding. But it also allowed visiting yogis experience Hawaiian culture in a respectful and mindful way. Hula lessons, ukelele, surfboard making, and cultural walks immersed Wanderlusters in the vibrant cultural heritage of the Hawaiian Islands.
And there was yoga. Lots and lots of yoga! Wanderlust Oahu was my first experience with a yoga festival of this sort, and I was super impressed with the long list of local and national teachers and the wide range of classes available. Big names like Shiva Rae, Baron Baptiste, Eion Finn and Shakti Sunfire, alongside local teachers representing a range of studios: Coco Zhang, Marissa Sinclair, and Gerry Lopez. There were flow classes, slow classes, power yoga, hooping and slackline yoga, Thai yoga massage, meditation with kirtan, and even yoga on paddleboards! There was yoga inside ballrooms with 300+ yogis, and yoga outside in small classes under the sunshine. There was spontaneous breakout sessions of acro-yoga and partner yoga in the grass in and the hallways. Yoga was everywhere!
And there was music! Wanderlust Oahu featured local favorites Paula Fuga and John Cruz alongside big national names like Kaki King, Michael Franti, and ALO (Animal Liberation Orchestra). There was spontaneous music in the hallways, in the grass, and there was live music during most yoga classes. Couple this with hundreds of blissed out yogis, beautiful (if windy) weather, and it created a wonderful long weekend shared by visitors and locals alike. Click on the image below to see the myriad of classes and workshops offered during Wanderlust Oahu.
If all this yoga, music and bliss sounds good to you, check out the upcoming Wanderlust festivals this summer in your neck of the woods. If you can’t make it, follow them on Facebook for photos and updates about the festivals. Already looking forward to next year’s festival. aloha!