I’m having a hard time adjusting to real life this week. The reason for this is that I just came back fromWanderlust, which truth be told, is a completely different universe from ours and inhabited by people who have no problem giving strangers hugs and telling you that your aura is pretty. For those who aren’t familiar with the Wanderlust festivals, they are four day yoga retreats organized in different parts of North America celebrating yoga, dance, meditation, music and being in touch with your awesome self.
Below you’ll find my experience of Wanderlust, impressions and what I’d do differently next time.
What is Wanderlust like?
The closest Wanderlust to Montréal was happening in Mont-Tremblant, which is 1.5 hour drive away from the city. I booked the 3 day retreat as 4 days of namasté seemed a bit intense for me. Once you secure a spot, you are allowed to choose 3 activities and one conference per day amongst a wide selection of activities going on from 6 AM (seriously? Who are these supernatural early birds?) until 7 PM. The classes include yoga in its many forms (ashtanga, hatha, aerial, posture classes, etc.), hiking, dance and meditation. You can also purchase extra tickets to SUP Yoga courses and other workshops. As for the conferences, most of the themes revolved around self-enhancement topics and motivational talks. If you plan on going to Wanderlust next year, make sure to book the conferences and paying activities in far in advance. Many classes were full/sold-out 3 months prior to the event!
At first, I thought 3 activities weren’t a lot considering the price of admission (170$/day) but as I would soon learn, my body couldn’t handle 6 hours of physical activity anyways. Next year, I will definitely incorporate more yin yoga and meditation into my schedule. However, if 3 classes isn’t enough for you, those who are eager and willing can be put their names down on the waiting list of classes they didn’t sign up to and get in if there is still space.
Unfortunately, the weather was not on our side this weekend and it poured cats and downward dogs (sorry, I couldn’t help myself). As a consequence, many of the outside activities were cancelled. I had booked a couple of hikes to add variety to my workout routine, but was forced to choose an indoor class last minute instead, which were mostly yoga class. Usually I wouldn’t consider this isn’t a bad thing. But after 4 hours consecutive sun salutations, you kind of want to kick someone (despite the love-filled mantras).
At the end of your day, you can choose to unwind at the Wanderlust Truth North café, shop at the many affiliated vendors or attend one of the head-bobbing outdoor concerts. Afterwards, it’s time to sleep and repeat!
What did I think about Wanderlust?
Who here can say they’ve already done vinyasas while listening to Drake, Kanye and B.I.G? Can’t say I have before Wanderlust. One of the outstanding things about Wanderlust is the music they play. Unlike the soft meditative sounds you often hear in many yoga studios, many of the power flow classes blasted Bob Marley, remix top 40s and threw in some Fetty Wap. While it was upbeat, motivating and fun in the beginning, I kind of craved the peace and quiet that my usual studio gave me (doing child’s pose to Eminem’s “Stan” was anything but calming). Otherwise, I enjoyed the classes for the most part and easily found ones that suited my needs as there were courses for all styles and levels of practice.
Another aspect of Wanderlust I enjoyed less was the crowded classes. The ones I attended had between 100 and 200 people! With only one teacher and two assistants, it’s unrealistic to believe you’ll receive individualized attention and help to correct your posture. I do find this a tad unsafe as this could lead to injuries. Thanks to an 8 week beginner’s workshop I attended and frequent correction from the teachers at my usual studio, I consider myself alert and aware enough to correct myself when something feels off. However, I wouldn’t recommend people who are very new to the practice to come to Wanderlust as you won’t get the attention you require.
Regarding the price tag of 170$ per day (that comes about a little more than 40$/activity), I admit doing shivasana here doesn’t come cheap and it cost twice as much as a regular yoga class (Note that if you book early or several days of retreat, you get a discounted price). And don’t forget this doesn’t include accommodation, food nor transport. When I think about it, I spent around 700-800$ this weekend for Wanderlust.I was okay with the price though as it was an event I had my heart set on attending. As I consider myself quite passionate and dedicated about yoga and the lifestyle that comes with it, to me the cost was worth it. In addition, the organization of the event and the quality of the teachers were grade-A, which justifies the price in my opinion. While some will critic that Wanderlust is for the privileged and makes yoga feel inaccessible, I would also argue that the hefty price tag is responsible for the quality of the people who attend. And I don’t mean this in an elitist way. Instead, I mean that only people who are dedicated to yoga would come to this kind of event.
Yoga has such a beautiful culture of acceptance. People who come to Wanderlust understand this and this makes such a difference by creating an uplifting and compassionate atmosphere. While I didn’t have any lasting connections with the new acquaintances I’ve made (although someone did hug me because we shared the same name), we all subscribed the notion of non-judgment, empathy and that we’re all on the same boat on this crazy journey called Life. This kind of environment made me feel safe, free to experiment and let my creative side come out. While this may seem mundane to many, for someone who is as “conservative” as I am, it’s a near miracle that I went out and bought the craziest yoga pants I’ve ever laid eyes and wore them proudly with my fake gold tattoos plastered all over my arms and face. I also sang along Sanskrit lyrics at a concert and held hands with strangers.
Things that I’d never do back home.
But here, I felt carefree. It was simply refreshing to be surrounded by open-minded people and a nurturing environment. And I think this was what I loved the most of Wanderlust and will make me come back next year.
Much love and hugs,
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