It would be easy to out-of-hand dismiss Wanderlust as yet another California offspring of mixed parentage: a ragtag festival of yoga, music, and alternative lifestyles (and products, don’t forget the products) removed from the city and placed in a sunny spot in nature where Californians can commit to even deeper levels of navel-gazing narcissism. Or view it as another in a long line of “happenings” that provide the Bay Area’s (and by virtue of its transplanted population, the nation’s) misfits with an occasion to get together, rise up against conformity, the status quo and the “man”, to create a state of blissful ignorance, if even for a few short days, and fill the air with the pretensions that arise more usually from coffee house talks, Burning Man encounters, and interpersonal exchanges that foster such sentiments.
And you’d be partially correct. But you’d also be completely wrong.
First off, it’s a NYC- originated production, the brainchild of Jeff Krasno, Sean Hoess, and Schuyler Grant–two music business veterans, and a vital yoga force in NYC and beyond– who came to realize that there was not yet a singular venue blending the higher interests of these two communities in a way which provides room for a larger community to work toward sustainable and ethical practices. With two major four-day events and a handful of smaller-scale events that dot the country, Wanderlust is a bringing-together of yoga and music enthusiasts first, who have in their personal mindfulness a vein of volition toward remedying some of the world’s missteps. Whether that be through non-profit yoga organizations like Off The Mat, Into The World, which raises money for projects supporting communities in crisis; or promoting foodstuff awareness, as evident in the free-trade and organic cultivation of our food and drink fully present at this year’s festival; to the basic “spiritual awakening” that can occur in events dedicated to outside-the-box experiences in environments off one’s ordinary routine, Wanderlust provides a focused solution-offering environment in which one is invited to participate in the conversation toward not just change, but mindful change. The emphasis is not on anarchy, as in some communities, but in cultivation, preservation, and joy.
Only three years old, the festival is attracting thousands each day, who turn out for yoga and meditation classes, lectures and nature walks, music and entertainment, and a wellspring of smiles and intentional, healthy living. There’s an unwritten agenda to the event, which asks participants to shed their inhibitions toward action, step up their commitment to creating viably sustainable life practices, and have fun. And where other attempts to energize a critical mass may have succeeded or failed in the past on their way toward creating a shift in mores and behaviors, Wanderlust, through yoga, stands as good a chance as any. Amidst the stretching and sweating, the breaking of personal thresholds and the quietude (that should be an elementary part of every modern yogins life), there is a new space created wherein the vacuum can be filled with anything the person chooses. Wanderlust and its participants are hoping to fill these gaps with seeds of change, for our communities now, and our children’s tomorrow.
More to come.
Please subscribe to this column, and follow me @ilfauno.