Wow. It is has been an incredible past few weeks. Wanderlust Whistler was mind blowing and I feel so blessed I had the opportunity to be a part of it. It was so different to work for lululemon as part of the community team and have a bit of an inside look at the event versus when I attended in Oahu this past February. Outside of lululemon in our courtyard we had the Wanderlust ‘front yard’ with tons of amazing events and activities all weekend. I worked in the front yard both on Thursday and Saturday which was so much fun. Our front yard had enormous bean bag chairs, hammocks, a dreamcatcher making station, a giant dreamcatcher where you could write out your biggest dreams and attach them, organic fruit and complimentary juicing from spud, a palm reader, Kris Kupskay body painting and so much more. Not to mention we had huge musical acts like DJ Drez, MarchFourth Marching Band and Hannah Thiem and incredible Acro Yoga performances.
On Thursday I ran the dreamcatcher making station and got an incredible flower painted on my leg by local artist Kris Kupskay. After my shift in the front yard I was super excited because one of my favourite teachers from Oahu, Dorian Wright was at the festival. Unfortunately he wasn’t teaching any asana but he was leading a meditation and light kirtan workshop. We didn’t have wristbands for the Thursday but I dragged my girlfriend Kris along and they allowed us to take part in his class. He started with a gentle flow class to prepare the body to sit still. Dorian owns Power Yoga Hawaii and his father was a serious yoga practitioner. He was raised with yoga and meditation and believes that meditation is at the core of yoga. His class was beautiful, inspiring and beautifully located in Ross Rebagliati Park under a tent surrounded by trees, with enormous dreamcatchers everywhere and a gurgling stream in the background. Later that night we attended the white themed Wanderlust Spectacular. The white party was so beautiful with all the guests decked in white we were amazed by DJ Drez, MC Yogi, AcroYoga, Budokon’s Cameron Shayne, YogaSlackers, Shakti Sunfire and Quixotic. The show was so visually stimulating with incredible dance, acro and movement performances set to some of the best music in the yoga world today. I was so stoked because my good friend from home Meg was in town and was able to attend with me. I thought it was incredible that this event was put on by Wanderlust for the entire Whistler community. Anyone wishing to attend the party could do so.
On Friday I had the opportunity to go to three classes in the morning before I had to go into work. The first class I went to was just on a whim with my girlfriend Kate. It was called ‘Sing Yourself Awake’ with Suzanne Sterling and it ended up being my favourite class of the festival. Suzanne works in partnership with Seane Corn with the charity Off the Mat into the World and believes in using your voice for positive change. She started the class by asking who had ever been told they shouldn’t or couldn’t sing to which almost the entire class put up their hands. She then told us that when she asks that question in many developing countries nobody raises their hand and in other cultures they think the question is absurd. Suzanne talked about how for some reason in the Western world we stifle singing and noise. We silence and push down our voice which is so intuitively linked to our mind, body and soul. She said she had never in her entire life met someone who couldn’t sing only a voice that hasn’t been trained or encouraged. At the start of class I was pretty apprehensive to be vocal and still had a lot of inhibitions. As the class progressed and we danced and chanted Suzanne strapped a drum on to her chest and we all started dancing and echoing different things people in the class shouted out. It was so upbeat and fun. To wind down the class Suzanne had us all gather in close and take a seat. We chanted one of my favourite chants Om Mane Padme Hum over and over again while she added in harmony. She then had us say out loud the name of someone who needed our prayers. At the end of class she told us that we have the opportunity through our voice to stand up and speak out for those in other parts of the world who don’t have the same privilege which really resonated with me. I felt so uplifted after her class and can’t wait to attend her class again in the future. I really want to volunteer with Off the Mat into the World with one of their projects for women in developing countries. Suzanne was so inspiring and I strongly encourage you to check out her music and classes.
After Suzanne’s class I had the opportunity to take class with my own recent teacher Eoin Finn. Eoin’s class was incredible as per usual. He has such a presence and an ability to not only open people’s minds but get them in tune with their bodies and laugh along the way. His class was filled with laughter and hip openers which are my nemesis. Finally I attended Kerri Kelly’s class Daring Greatly which unfortunately was moved from the mountaintop to the conference centre but I loved having the opportunity to meet her. She also works with Seane Corn and Suzanne Sterling with Off the Mat into the World and was really fun and inspiring.
Saturday I worked in the front yard all day and had an absolute blast. Before I started my shift I had the opportunity to adjust in Eoin Finn’s class in the conference centre. I was so appreciative to both Eoin and Insiya for giving me the chance to walk around and demo and adjust students taking his enormous class. I was super stoked and rejuvenated afterwards on my way into work. In the morning we had one of our yoga ambassadors Crystal Jennings teach a fun filled yoga class to the most adorable group of ivivva girls in our front yard. I was just obsessed with how adorable the girls were. At the beginning Crystal had them put one hand on their heart and their other hand on their neighbours back which was so precious. The girls had a great time and drew quite the crowd of admirers. In the afternoon, DJ Drez my absolute favourite musical act from Wanderlust Oahu was spinning in our very own front yard and the biggest dance party we’ve ever had at lululemon was born. The entire courtyard was filled with yogi’s of all ages busting a move to DJ Drez. An impromptu round of limbo arose and back flips, break dancing and acro yoga was in abundance. I had SO much fun and could not believe this was where I got to work. After work Seane Corn led a complimentary class in Olympic Plaza which I observed but my body was not up to the class! Later that night my roommates and I went to Moby’s DJ set which was incredible. We were right up front against the gate and Moby was so entertaining.
I was so lucky to be given a day pass and the day off on Sunday to attend the last day of Wanderlust Whistler. First I attended our incredible ambassador Erin Anderson’s class in the lululemon d’Om. As per usual Erin was wildly inspiring, energetic and filled us with excitement, ambition and aspiration. She worked us hard in her power flow class all the while making us laugh. I went with my good friend Ellen who also teaches at Erin’s local Whistler studio White Gold. Erin does a ton of work with Africa Yoga Project and told beautiful stories of inspiration, dedication and the power of practice. Getting on your mat and changing your perspective and in turn your world. Following Erin’s class I headed up the mountain to attend Karlito of One Yoga Vancouver’s class. His class was much like Suzanne’s in that it was not your traditional yoga class but filled with movement on and off the mat and wicked beats spun by DJ Prince Reno who DJ’ed the private lululemon house party over the Wanderlust weekend as well. The class was so fun and flowy ( my favourite! ) and Prince Reno’s music was super incredible. I asked him after class if he was in my head because he honestly played all of my favourite songs mixed into one incredible set. You can download his mixes on SoundCloud here. After class my girlfriend Miriam and I gushed about how rad the class was while we looked at the snow on top of the mountains. My parents had just arrived so I went down the gondola to meet them and we ended Wanderlust by attending Moby’s acoustic set in Olympic plaza. His acoustic set was such a contrast to the intense DJ set he had performed the night before. The acoustic performance was open to anyone and it was the perfect end to the most incredible four days of my life.
If you haven’t experienced a Wanderlust I can’t recommend it enough. They are all so unique and have so much more to offer than just yoga. There are speakers, musical performances, meditation, acro yoga, slacklining, chanting, hiking, paddleboarding and so much more. I truly think there is something for everyone. I am already planning which Wanderlust festivals I can make it to next year and my five year goal is to teach a class at Wanderlust Whistler. For more information and to plan your Wanderlust check out their website www.wanderlustfestival.com
with love and wanderlust,
Sarah Alicia Harvison