A Full Day of Yoga and Such

As part of our volunteer benefit package, we each get one full free day to experience Wanderlust as we wish, without having to stand on the sidelines watching a yoga class or pick up trash. Yesterday was my free day and I took full advantage of it.

My morning started out with a Mysore Ashtanga practice. Because I had taken a class with the teachers (Kristin and Barbara from The Shala in NYC) the previous day, they knew I practiced Ashtanga and thus placed me and another girl at the front of the room so those who didn’t know the sequence could follow our movements. I know I’m supposed to be moving beyond the ego, but it felt good to lead the class.

After Mysore, I grabbed a coffee and settled into the Omega Speakeasy room to listen to Adam Kelinson talk about how a diet of good, fresh, local whole foods is essential for optimum health. It was interesting and informative, but I didn’t learn much apart from what I already know – processed food is bad!

My second yoga class of the day was with Byran Kest from Santa Monica, California. Before I go into detail and the class, I forgot to mention that I ran into someone who I haven’t seen for six years! When I was in Kenya with the St. Lawrence program there was another girl from Vermont – Kristi Post – and as I was doing my Greening shift, she and I ran into each other. It was great to catch up and hear about her travels (Vietnam and Tanzania). We both took Bryan’s Power Yoga class, which was challenging , but hilarious. He is an amazing teacher and the jokes he cracks in class help you to forget the burning in your legs and arms and the sweat dripping down your nose.

After Bryan’s class I moved to the Kripalu yoga space for a workshop on pranayama, or breathing, exercises. It was relaxing and made me motivated to pick up my own pranayama class again. My goal is half and hour every morning!

Finally, my last class was a goal setting lecture back in the Speakeasy room. It was led by a Lululemon ambassador who challenged us to think about where we want to be in ten years and how we want to get there. It was helpful to map out our goals and make plans as to how we want to get there. I’m sure you’re all wondering what my goals are, so my biggest one is to get an apartment or space of my own within a year so I can stop living out of a backpack 🙂 I just need to figure out where I want that place be…

I had a few hours to relax and walk around (and have another go at slacklining) before the music events started. First on stage were the Mayapuris, a group of drummers, dancers, singers, and symbol bangers who got the crowd pumped up and dancing, despite the light drizzle. After them, Shakti Sunfire came onstage with two fire-rimmed hula hoops and performed, without flaw, a spectacular routine.

Finally, after a long wait, Michael Franti and Spearhead took the stage just as the clouds cleared and the stars came out. As much as I was looking forward to seeing him and as much as I enjoy his music, I was a bit disappointed. It was SO LOUD and I couldn’t make out any of the lyrics. He had a lot if energy on stage and was fun to watch, but I left after a few songs with my eardrums throbbing. I guess that just emphasizes my dislike for large crowds and loud places!

All and all, though, it was a great day. No surprise I woke up stiff and sore the next morning!

Wanderlust Day 2

The great thing about volunteering at the Wanderlust festivals, I’ve noticed, is that when you’re not working a shift, your pink volunteer wrist band will pretty much get you into any yoga class, workshop, talk, or event. Yesterday I arrived at the mountain around 9:30 and dropped into a 10:00 class held in the huge Gaiam tent. It was led by Rodney Yee and Colleen Saidman, two very influential and well known yoga teachers. The class was good (it was entitled Grounding Through the Proper Use of the Legs and Feet), but more workshopy than I would have liked. My ideal class is a nice flow with less talk rather than one that focuses mainly on alignment. After class I wandered over to the PrAna yoga room and dropped into a beginners led Ashtanga class. It was a good contrast to Rodney and Colleens class because Ashtanga is all about flow! We only did the first half of the Primary Series and the finishing poses, but I was still sweating and tired by the end!

Then it was time for me to check in at the volunteers tent and receive my instructions for the afternoon. I was on the Greening Committee, which basically meant that I walked around the grounds for four hours, making sure people were recycling and picking up any trash I came across. My partner in crime was named Macin (pronounced Marchin) – a tall, bald, very friendly Pole who was visiting his sister in New Jersey. The hours went by quickly (although we were soaked by the end), especially since we stopped and watched a Nimble Arts performance of a woman “dancing” on a hanging length of red silk and had a go at slacklining with help from a few YogaSlackers.

Towards the end of my shift I meandered over the the Gaiam tent to watch Deepak Chopra give his talk. Unfortunately I didn’t get too much out of it because I was sitting on the floor towards the way back and couldn’t see him on the stage. Andrew Bird was on next, but I was cold and damp and tired, so I headed home after the first song. I needed my strength and energy for a full day of yoga on Saturday. It’s my free day to take any yoga class or workshop – a major benefit for volunteering at Wanderlust!

Day 1 at Wanderlust

I took my brand new shiny (rental) Ford Focus for its first long road trip yesterday, making the three hour drive from Underhill to Stratton, Vermont where Wanderlust is being held. A few weeks ago I had made arrangements (via good old Facebook) to rent a room in a woman’s house in Manchester, so I stopped off there first to drop off my bags before heading up to the mountain. Wendy and her small dog, Spanky, live in a really cute log cabin house located on a quiet dirt road. I didn’t have much time to chat because my first volunteer shift started at 12:15 and I wanted to look around a bit first. As I slowly ascended up Stratton mountain, the weather continued to get decidedly worse until it was a full-out downpour. I was glad I had remembered my rain jacket!

For those of you who haven’t been there, Stratton Mountain is a bona fide ski village. Beautiful lodges, signposts pointing you in the right direction, cute coffee shops, retail stores, and a cobblestone street. Of course everything was geared towards yogis rather than skiers (I’ve never seen a carton of soy milk on the coffee station at ANY event) and I wistfully meandered through the vendor tents looking at Buddha inspired clothing and colorful yoga mats. Finally, after five-too-many loops in search of the Volunteers Tents, I managed to locate it (it was a non-descript white tent that I passed five times). I checked in for my shift, which wasn’t for another hour, and got my green volunteers t-shirt then went to warm up with some coffee.

It was still raining when I returned to the Volunteers Tent to get my assignment and they sent me to the Gaiam tent to help sop up the rainwater that had seeped in. The previous class had been evacuated because of thunder and lightning, but the next class, led by Seane Corne, was still on schedule. I was handed a clipboard and list of names by a frazzled British-Asian woman and told to check people in and make sure they had a wrist band on. I did, then stood back and watched the class. I could have participated, but I was in jeans and didn’t have my mat with me. Plus it was cold, so I was content to sit by the big hose that blew hot air into the tent.

Later that night there was the opening ceremony held in the chapel (it was supposed to be outside by the pond, but the pond was flooded and it was still raining). They did a great job with the chapel, though. Pink and blue lights shone on the walls and star-like white lights made it seem like we were outside under a clear sky. The first performer was Garth Stevenson who is a young musician and composer and is incredibly talented on the bass. I would definitely recommend checking him out. Then we watched an equally impressive performance by Shakti Sunfire and her “flaming” hula hoop. Can you imagine dancers pose with a hula hoop twirling around the standing leg? She is pretty incredible.

The evening ended with everyone lighting candles and placing them on the alter as a symbol of something they want to let go of or leave behind. It was a nice was to wind up the first day as well as kick off a weekend filled with yoga, music, and fun!



Hi everyone! I’m back! As I was driving down route 89 early this morning, I was thinking about how I should start up my blog again. I kind of lost motivation these past few months, but now I’m ready to get back into it! Part of this renewed interest is inspired by a new blog I found called Choosing Raw. Ever since I got home from Alaska in early June I’ve been experimenting with raw foods – dehydration, soaking, sprouting, etc… pretty much turning my (or my parents) kitchen into a science lab with all the glass jars and bowls of soaking nuts sitting around. Anyway, this blog I’ve been following has been really informative and helpful in my quest to make (and eat) good raw food and it has also inspired me to pick up my own blog again.

But raw food is not (entirely) what I intend to blog about, although I may share a recipe or two in the near future. Instead, I’m going to document my next few days of volunteering at the Wanderlust Festival in Stratton Vermont. The Festival is a “revolutionary yoga retreat and music festival” – “a place to root down and rise up, to get centered on your yoga mat and get funky on the dance floor”. There will be big name yoga teachers like Seane Corn, Rodney Yee, John Friend, and Bryan Kest (among many more), and larger-than-life music stars such as Michael Franti and Spearhead, Andrew Bird, the Mayapuris, and Krishna Das.

It may be raining and thundering, but I’m sure this weekend will be a blast and I’ll have many stories to tell. I’ll keep you posted!