A Different Kind of Festival

I’m not going to baby you. I can’t sit on my side of the screen and Inception you into taking care of yourself. What I can do for you however, is tell you about an epiphany-inducing opportunity that changed ME from a – multiple job working, full time student who thought exercise was running to catch the 1 bus to take me 4 blocks down Telegraph – into a person who actually takes the time to think about their body and everything that goes into it.

Attending a Wanderlust Festival, on the North Shore of Oahu of all places, was not only a catalyst of my “maybe I should eat something green today” mentality, it was insight into a lifestyle I had never imagined before. Checking my email, as I do compulsively 800 times a day, I received a message and attachments from my aunt (who I’m now forever grateful to SRSLY THX 4L DINA<3). It was a plane ticket and pass to this seemingly mythical experience, a chance to visit my family in their STUNNING home state, see unforgettable musical acts, and make my body strong. After taking my anxiety medication for a panic-attack, I was in.

Now you’re probably thinking “Oh, well that’s nice, but I don’t live in a world where magical plane-ticket-bearing emails are sent to me, and even if that were the case, I’m taking five classes, work at Crossroads, and am the VP of the Future Tech Stars of America Club, so that’s not going to happen.” Hear me out.

Downward doggers on the lawn.

Downward doggers on the lawn.

In only its second year in Hawaii, the festival is already a pro. A crescent of local and organic food stands, handcrafted goods, and a stage surrounding a large grassy knoll where at least two yoga classes are happening at all times, including some that I’ll just call “flippy, Cirque-du-Soleil type stuff” and “tightrope walking.” The festival also held insightful environmental and health discussions, and after speaking with two of the festival’s founders Jeff Krasno and Sean Hoess my suspicions that they were about more than just bettering ones self was confirmed, they want to leave behind sustainably minded and healthy communities.

Really creepy photo I took of ex NFL player Keith Miller at the festival...hehe.

Really creepy photo I took of ex NFL player Keith Miller at the festival… he’s the buff one 2nd from left.

I’ll admit I’m somewhat of a n00b to the practice, so it was intimidating to be doing this thousand year old practice with teachers, “yoga-lebrities,” ex NFL-ers, surfers, etc. But after enjoying some basic classes the first couple days, it wasn’t that hard to fall in love with the practice and begin to connect with others, especially when you happen upon a not as serious classes where your teacher encourages everyone to run around the room and slap each others’ butts.

At night these hard working yogis proved they too live work-hard/play-hard lifestyles, because when the music portion of the day kicked off these late-20-somethings to post-mid-lifers went OFF. One headliner in particular really got the original rave generation along with me and my 17-year-old cousin going, MOBY. Although he did exert the “I’m god” DJ stance (I think in yoga it could be considered a half tree-pose), he fully earned the right. His energy and the kale/beet juice/savasana enhanced crowd had everyone moving like they were at a grungy London jungle warehouse in 1994. The festival also saw acts MC Yogi, of course a bay-area resident, and a mellow set by surf scene icon Donovan Frankenreiter. And finally as a night cap, we would walk to the neighboring beach where several budget-minded festival goers were camped out, and watch dozens of shooting stars tear across the onyx black sky.

Alright, alright. Enough pandering to the “liberal hippies” and “privileged trend-followers”. I will say that however delighted I was to find that this is not the ONLY festival, in fact there are several around the world and the first – AND SOMEWHAT LOCAL – festival location Squaw Valley in Lake Tahoe, is having their annual Wanderlust July 17 – 20, the reality is that Krasno and Hoess plan on more locations and are developing low-cost ticket options for the future!

If you aren’t down(-ward dog) for the festival’s current Coachella style exercise, entertainment, and pricing, aka commercialization of this mind-body practice, I just want to urge you to do SOMETHING to instill a balance in your overloaded student schedule, before you graduate and your life is ONLY at your desk or in the lab and it gets worse! And if you’re looking to make that change now… I’ll be at the 2pm Yoga To the People class (a by donation, low cost studio) on Shattuck, see you there?

Ashley Morgan

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