Balancing Worlds: A Snarky Gal Plans for Wanderlust at Stratton Mountain
by Sarah Wojcik
“Take your gaze from yoga studio wall to beautiful open blue skies and calm waters. Drift yourself into a floating studio surrounded by the sounds of nature and the smells of fresh mountain air…”
Sounds like something recorded on my dad’s stress release cassette tapes from the 80’s, minus the yoga reference. This is the opener for the first class I am signed up for at Wanderlust, a yoga/music/nature festival that tours the country every summer. The festival event descriptions are chock full of relaxing and inspirational prose about finding your true heart and centering the mind, body and soul. While my cynical side is quick to chime in, I can’t pretend I’m not often drawn the idea of an enlightened way of being. But being a snarky gal hailing from a sarcasm induced youth, it can be hard to admit.
Opposing personal views aside, I’ve tasked myself with trying new things this summer and being open to experiences outside of my normal comfort zone. Wanderlust seems like a good start. Yoga has been both a mentally and physically therapeutic practice for me for over thirteen years. I taught myself in college by meticulously copying poses in books and reading anything about yoga practices that I could get my hands on. My practice has been primarily private, though I attend classes here and there to keep up with my form. Planning to attend a huge festival solely focused on sharing this experience was a little daunting for me, but excitement eventually overtook nerves and sketicism as I worked out my plans.
Wanderlust To-Do List
Step 1: Sign up. I decide two days of yoga, meditation and music would suffice for my introduction. (I also thought I may not be able to use my arms by the third day if I have to do over 100 downward dogs.) I simply had to work with my schedule and chose the first two days of the four day extravaganza, but I would suggest looking at the schedule, class availability and even lodging availability beforehand to help choose which dates you want to attend.
Step 2: Book lodging. I booked one overnight at Stratton’s Long Trail house to reduce travel time, as I’m coming from Burlington, VT. I also wanted to challenge myself to get up early (not a morning person) and participate in one of the early morning sessions and I wasn’t about to leave Burlington at 4am. Lodging for events this large can get snatched up quickly, so don’t delay. Looking for the best availability and price? Try Wanderlands Camping, located at Stratton Mountain’s Sun Bowl Base Area.
Step 3: Schedule classes and events. This can be a daunting task, but only because there is SO much going on and so many amazing and famous yoga instructors. I suggest outlining your own goals beforehand to help cut through the clutter. My focus was to try new things, but I still wanted my experience to be grounded in yoga practice. I will begin my Wanderlust experience as a first-timer delving into the world of SUP Yoga* with Albany, NY yoga instructor Katie Collins. I will also try my hand (and mind) at Slackline yoga, meditation and literally “A Little Bit of Everything.” Quick tip: Carve out an hour or two to read through the class descriptions and about all the amazing instructors. It’s worthwhile for planning, but it’s also inspiring to see how much experience and passion will be in attendance.
(*Hopefully. I’m on the waitlist. Another thing to note when purchasing tickets? Some of the popular classes fill up months earlier.)
You can also plan non-yoga activities and mark them on your schedule for easy navigation at the event. I’m excited to get down to the sounds of The High and Mighty Brass Band Thursday night and I’m always looking forward to eating delicious, healthy Vermont foods and beverages. Hiking, paddling, biking and running are also on the docket for the event. Because we live in the age of the internet, you can find all the information needed to guide you in your planning at www.wanderlust.com/festivals/Stratton.
Next Step: Wander
I only have one more step before completing my Wanderlust adventure and that is to attend. The preparation has already been an adventure as I explored the ever growing world of yoga. While I doubt I’ll ever be a professional in the world of AcroYoga – think Cirque du Soleil performers – I am excited to meld my yoga practice with fun activities like stand up paddle boarding and slacklining. Maybe these playful approaches will help me share my yoga experience in a less serious way and open myself to new groups of friends and fellow yoga enthusiasts. On the other hand, maybe it will be the quiet meditation practice that will melt my cynicism and sarcasm away and I’ll finally be able to accept that I, too, am a mindful, peace-loving, soul-searching, eternally positive person and I should share that side of me with the world. Or maybe not. ;-)
I'll be travelling to Stratton Mountain Resort on Thursday, June 18th to participate in Wanderlust for the first time. Read my post-event blogpost on SkiVermont.com after the event and see if I really do gain some enlightenment!
For a list of other great events happening at Vermont ski and snowboard resorts check out the Events page.
Wanderlust Festival, LLC is a producer of large-scale lifestyle festival events focusing on yoga, music and mindfulness. The company encompasses Wanderlust Festival, the largest multi-day yoga and music festivals in the world; Wanderlust 108, a one-day “mindful triathlon” taking place in urban parks across the US; Wanderlust Yoga, a reimagination of the yoga studio experience; and the Wanderlust Teacher Training, a yoga teacher training program inspired by the Wanderlust festival experience. In 2015, Wanderlust will produce over 25 events across the world centered around its core mission: to help you Find Your True North - to cultivate your best self. The company was founded in 2009 as a joint venture between Velour Music Group, C3 Presents and Starr Hill Presents. For more information, please visit http://wanderlust.com/yoga-festivals/
Photos by Ali Kaukus, Brittany White and John Suhar for Wanderlust Festival.