Zen & the Art of Wanderlust

Article by: Art Gimbel

Fri July 26, 2013 | 00:00 AM

Wanderlust isn't just a festival, it's a way of life. Once the travel bug has bitten you, that itch never goes away. Arriving in Squaw Valley village, it became clear that I wasn’t the only one here suffering from wanderlust. Yogis and yoginis had come from far and wide, vibrating with excitement in tight, bright yoga pants, all answering the call of their own wanderlust.

In just five years, Wanderlust has become the gold standard of yoga festivals. For a yogi-in-training like myself with only a single laughing yoga class under my drawstring belt, it was more than a little intimidating to sign up for four days of classes. Fortunately, my trip to Japan earlier this year took me to the Hadaka Matsuri festival, where I discovered the Zen concept of Shoshin, which gave new meaning to my Wanderlust experience.

What is Shoshin?


The ancient Zen discipline of Shoshin encourages a beginner’s mind, regardless of expertise. The novice has an attitude of eagerness, openness, and lack of preconceptions. Zen Master Shunryu Suzuki explains, “In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, in the expert's mind there are few... with beginner's mind, there is boundlessness, limitlessness, an infinite wealth.”

Channeling my bunny hill skills, I checked my San Francisco yoga preconceptions and healthy Squaw Valley ego at the door, swung it wide open and embraced this new experience. In this place where it’s common to be in the ski lift lines and hear, “I’m way radder than you,” (thank you ski legend Shane McConkey) I let go and accepted the fact that I was starting from the ground up. Wanderlust may be the art of motion, but my Wanderlust Festival experience celebrated the art of being still and learning something new with intent and focus.

Lessons from Wanderlust


Radical Collaboration

This is Squaw Valley, and I just couldn't help but choose my first class based on the fact that it had the word “rad” in the title. Radical Collaboration was the perfect introduction to the four-day weekend. Guided by Suzanne Sterling and friends, we started as one, became two, then four until the entire room became one interconnected mass of people.

Prepare for Smiles

Point Reyes local MC Yogi had his own tips for would-be Wanderlusters:

Team Building with Trust

Through a series of fun exercises, Adam Rinder explained the mantra of AcroYoga, "We can manifest more together than we can even achieve alone."

Well said, Adam.

The Art of Aloha

There’s no question that surfing legend Gerry Lopez’s calm mind and focus have allowed him to catch some of history’s most legendary rides at Oahu’s Banzai Pipeline—a wave of beauty and consequence.  His most profound lesson was to encourage the practice of Aloha—the religion of love, and true hospitality. 

Go Full Mystic Ballistic to Stay Cool

Shiva Rae  explains that when life throws you a curveball, you can learn to relax even in the most hectic of situations...like airport security lines.

Seek out Ganesha

Big-mountain-skier-turned-yogini Shaelah MorrisYoga Studio Tahoe  is a longtime local favorite and she offered us this advice during a good Sunday sweat:

“On the beginning of any journey, any new career, festival, adventure, or relationship we call upon Ganesha. Ganesha is the hindu, elephant-headed god, who is remover of obstacles. As we call upon Ganesha, our path is freed up and our journey becomes smooth and clear as he guides through this new endeavor.”

Surround Yourself with Truthseekers

Janet Stone explains that satya is truthfulness. On this path of yoga, while seeking our own truth, it’s important that we surround ourselves with like-minded people. The people who not only dive into their own truth but seek the guidance of something beyond themselves, like Ganesha, to help carry them through. As a community living in our own truth, we can help guide others on their path and together we can change the world one breath, one smile, one Wanderluscious moment at a time.

Roller Disco 101

I’ve found no better example of how being a beginner can be fun than the high camp roller disco party. For a good time just add rollerskates, the funkadelic soundtrack of Dj Dragonfly, roller rink diva Shiva Rae and a bag of fresh cherries. This was a serious upgrade from the last time I roller-skated to the hokey pokey at a childhood birthday party.

How much fun was it? Just ask martial arts master and roller disco enthusiast Cameron Shane.

The Power of Immediacy

With all the planning and scheduling that goes into attending a festival, it's important to remember to take time to just live in the moment. Sometimes the most fun, unexpected experiences are those happening right now.


Just when I was giving up hope, I discovered that not only do mermaids exist, they do AcroYoga. Who would have thought?

So what did Wanderlust teach me?

Namaste Wanderlust, we will meet again.