About This Festival
Wairakei Resort Taupō|640 Wairakei Dr Taupō, New Zealand
It’s encouraging to see how a simple idea, executed well, can create a global festival phenomenon. There’s a music festival to meet virtually each person’s taste around the planet, allowing you to surround yourself with like-minded folks in a habitat that feels like it’s an extension of you. Jeff Krasno, co-founder of Wanderlust, wondered why there wasn’t a gathering like this for the holistically-minded, health-conscious folks of the world. So, in 2009, he combined yoga with live music, farm-to-table food, outdoor adventure, inspirational speakers, a healing vibe, and a beautiful Lake Tahoe setting, and Wanderlust was born. Since then, Krasno, co-founder Sean Hoess and Krasno's wife Schuyler have expanded to eight festivals in three countries as well as five daylong festivals in major US cities.
There is a large community of people interested in nourishing their body, mind and spirit, as evidenced by the multitude of magazines and businesses that have tried to capture this market. The LOHAS community (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability) has grown dramatically in the past decade. Yoga has gone mainstream in the United States with a studio on practically every block in some major cities. For those that want to break free of the brick and mortar studios, there’s plenty of one-off yoga retreats, but no organization has been able to create the kind of festival-on-the-road experience that Wanderlust offers to tens of thousands of people annually in stunningly-beautiful, nature-driven locations.
Mindful Living Meets Frolicking Fun
On a typical day at Wanderlust, you might wake up and take a sunrise yoga class overlooking a beautiful valley. You’ll have a delicious, healthy breakfast with the newfound friends you’re bound to meet, as everyone is so open at this festival. Later, you might listen to Deepak Chopra give a heady lecture about the connection of mind, body, and spirit and then hula-hoop your way through the rest of the morning. After a light lunch, you could take a paddleboard or surfing class, listen to Moby spin some transcendental tunes, and then take a brief nap before participating in a late afternoon yoga and meditation session. As evening falls, you’ll enjoy a farm-to-table dinner paired with organic wine. Finally, you'll groove to Afrobeat king Femi Kuti, dancing off what's left of your energy before turning in for the night. You have multiple choices of accommodations from luxurious hotels to private homes to cheap camping.
With prices in the $400-500 range for the three- to four-day experience (for all the activities including concerts), this is a relatively affordable choose-your-own-adventure kind of escape. Alternatively, you can buy your festival pass on an à la carte basis as well. Choose between gorgeous natural backdrops from Vermont to Chile, Whistler to Colorado, based not only on the proximity to you, but the kind of activities you might want to pursue while there. Wanderlust was positively overwhelmed with demand for their first adventure in Hawaii in 2013 since there are so many people thirsting for a healthy yoga retreat integrated with water sports and island culture.
At the Hawaii event, award-winning musician Michael Franti joined yoga guru Shiva Rea for a performance on stage while hundreds of attendees stretched and danced. At one point, Michael had the entire crowd break down into circles of five, then 12, then one gigantic circle running the entire outer ring and he said, “Now go hug someone across the way you don’t know.” Welcome to Wanderlust.
Sustainability Applied in Two Ways
Being green is no surprise at a yoga festival, but Wanderlust inspires you to integrate sustainable living into your life back home, both in your environmental practices and in how you create a happier, saner existence in this obsessively-digital age we live in. Ironically, at many Wanderlusts, they set up a circus-like activity where you can learn how to walk the tightrope by just being conscious and confident. Yoga is often thought of as a metaphor for life. When we’re stressed and walking the tightrope of life, our breathing is shallow and our body less limber. Wanderlust will sustain you for weeks, months, and hopefully long after you’ve experienced this transformational festival.
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