I love Wanderlust. I am now a die-hard fan. I feel so lucky to have gotten to experience Wanderlust this year, even if it was only for one day! Yes, there were trendy Lululemon-clad women who probably didn't understand the history and power of yoga, but the majority of people attending were amazing, positive people who wanted to experience a yoga-filled weekend with like-minded people.
(Also, be forewarned, this is a long post!)
My husband and I left Boston around 5:45am. We arrived in Bondville around 9am, wandered the grounds a bit, checked in, snagged some free swag, and then I went to wait in line for my first class. This was the class I was looking forward to the most, I was geeking out so hard...Backbends from Earth with Rodney Yee and Colleen Saidman Yee...WHATTTTT. I went right up, front row, a little to the right of the center of the stage. It was amazing. I wanted to cry for the first 20 minutes because I was so excited! Rodney and Colleen actually went down into the audience and walked around, assisting folks with alignment and cracking jokes. Rodney says "uh-huh" a lot, which kept making me laugh. He does not do that in his yoga videos, haha. So I'll totally disclose this to you, readers, but I was so hoping one of them would come assist me in a pose! They didn't, but it's cool. Overall, the class was amazing. Lots of "move up but ground down" movements, which was totally do0able despite sounding impossible. At the end, we attempted [for me, the dreaded and unattainable] wheel pose or Urdhva Dhanurasana. So, this pose is challenging for me. I cannot get my head off the ground or get my arms to be straight enough. I have arthritis in my wrists (and knees), and working a job where I sit at a computer all day does not help. The first lift off, I could barely get my head off the ground - Rodney said something along the lines of, "don't force the pose, if you're feeling pain in a certain area of your body, your body will react with fear and then you won't be able to go into the pose. Work on bringing your knees forward and lifting your hips rather than putting so much pressure on your hands, wrists, and arms." I laid back down on my mat and almost cried. Luckily they gave us a few minutes to lie still and "absorb the pose", and I was able to avoid crying. The second time I focused more on my legs but still felt fear - this time was worse. I could barely keep my neck straight. I plopped back down on the mat, closed my eyes, and tried to breathe deeply. I didn't talk myself through it, I just stayed present. On the third try, I nearly got my arms straight and my head actually lifted off of the ground! So, I'm getting there. But the perfectionist in my wants to nail this pose and get it done already; the yogi in me says, maybe you will maybe you won't, let it go!
I have brought Colleen's new book with me to have her sign (back story, I totally messaged her on Facebook about signing my book and she actually responded!), and she and Rodney stated that right after class they were running to the D'Om (so cute) to sign and sell copies of her book. I packed my mat up swiftly and ran to the D'Om, and was 2nd in line to have her sign my book. I thanked her for sharing so much of her personal journey and told her that I am a therapist and can promise her that this book will help people. She was so sweet and grateful, and mentioned that the book has been a scary process for her but it is starting to become cathartic. She started to get swarmed, so I quickly thanked her and stepped aside. Her husband, Rodney, was asking her if he could buy her a kombucha (ermahgerd adorbs I can't even) and started to walk away, and I heard myself say, "Rodney..." and he turned around! He shook my hand, I think I said my name? And then I told him how I started doing yoga because of him, using his Gaiam VHS's when I was in high school, and how it was an honor to practice with him and Colleen. He thanked me and told me to keep practicing. He was so nice! It's refreshing when you meet your idols and they are genuinely nice people.
The second class of the day was Bhagavad Gita On The Mat with Aimée Senise Bohn and it was incredible. This class felt like the true Wanderlust experience for me. In the beginning of the class we listened to Aimée explain what the Bhagavad Gita entails, break down the characters, and translate the meaning of the text to a way that is relatable for modern yogis. Some great takeaways from the course included:
Let go of chasing one pose (ahem, wheel pose?!).
"The bliss of recognizing that I am a divine form."
When we start looking for our dharma, we lose sight of all of our possibilities - aka, stay open, that way your calling will find you versus you searching for it.
We don't have to be our best, the world will hold us; we may not feel ready or worthy but in fact we are.
Do practices to the extent that you feel alive!
Do things for the roots and not the fruits.
If it hasn't worked out yet, it isn't the end.
If this isn't your lifetime to nail something, then maybe in the next lifetime you will. Keep doing the things you are doing well and enjoy. Accept that you may not be the best.
Better your own dharma done poorly, than someone else's done perfectly.
I really wish I could personally practice with Aimée, I truly connected with her and everything she spoke about during the class. She was amazing and made the Bhagavad Gita so accessible! At one point, she told the class to stop trying to be perfect and stop trying to do a pose better than the person next to us. Now, I am not a competitive person, but again, I am a perfectionist - I'm working on it! But I always want to be the best at what I do; I strive to always succeed and do things, well, perfectly. I needed to hear that in that moment, for sure.
After that amazing class, I decided to skip my 3rd class, the Yogarina class - and I'm glad I did, Tim and I walked by the class and everyone was partnered up and having to pose people, I was too tired for that.
So I had two hours to wander Stratton Mountain and the little village, which was awesome! It's super cute with a few restaurants and shops, and Wanderlust had tons of clothing, jewelry, and food vendors, even free samples of some awesome products like Chia Bars, soooo good. I was so relieved to know that Tim and I could spend time together during the day and explore the grounds together, and that he didn't have to go sit at a bar for the whole day (which he basically did anyway), or aimlessly drive around the backroads of Vermont. Although yoga isn't his scene, he was a great sport and is so supportive of my passion for yoga.
The last class of the day was The Medicine of Yin with Liza Dousson (who reminded me of Michelle Pfeiffer) and DJ Taz (who was awesome!). I had thought this class would be a bit more learning about proper alignment and ways that yoga can be used as medicine, but to my surprise it was all poses. We held half pigeon for a few minutes - holy hip openers! I can't remember specific things that Liza said, but she did talk a bit about chakras and how Yin Yoga is similar to acupuncture and acupressure. At one point, her assistant (I'm so sorry Tim I love you so much but boy was this assistant a looker!) came over while I was in butterfly pose and pulled my arms forward so that I could go deeper into the pose. It was crazy that my body actually folded more forward over itself! I didn't know I was able to dot it, and sustain it without Mr. Hot Stuff Man Bun gently pulling my arms forward! At one point, in the beginning of the class, we did lay down and raise our arms over our heads. Lucky me that I was in the front row, because she said "feel free to grab the person's feet behind you and give them a tickle!" Overall, this class was super informative, but I think I was a bit too restless and energized to really take it all in.
After my last class, I went and met up with the hubs at Mulligan's where I had a delicious and refreshing IPA. And we split the pretzels, yum! Tim suggested we take a gondola up the mountain, and I was hesitant because A) I'm a bit squeamish when it comes to heights, and B) it looked like a storm was moving in. But hey, it's Wanderlust! Go forth and push your limits, get out of your comfort zone, climb a flippin' mountain! So we got on the gondola, and of course I was like, freaking out. When we got to the top though, it was beautiful. There was a dense fog and it was definitely colder than down the mountain, but it was so clean and peaceful and quiet! We walked around a bit, collected two small rocks to bring back with us, admired the lush greenery and took a couple of photos, and then bolted to the gondola to head back down. We ended up leaving to drive back to MA around 7pm and got home by 10:30pm...we did make a stop at Wendy's, that's all I'll say about that!
Here are some photos of the day. I'd post the free swag we got too but we ate most of it...
I cannot wait for next year!! Who's with me?