Vermont: Wanderlust–Being the change the World Needs

wanderlust Yoga in the big tent in Manchester Vermont's Wanderlust Festival 2012. photos by Shelley Rotner.
Yoga in the big tent in Manchester Vermont’s Wanderlust Festival 2012. photos by Shelley Rotner.

Wanderlust Festival: Yoga, Arts & Music

By Shelley Rotner

I just got back from the four-day yoga festival Wanderlust, at Stratton Mountain, Vermont. The definition of “wanderlust” is a strong desire to travel. The Wanderlust Festival invokes travel on many different levels. It brings a community of people together with yoga, music, and nature. It also allows for an inward journey. Wanderlust takes place in July in Vermont and two other locations.

One of the founders, Jeff Krasno hopes the experience will be “transformative or at least just fun.” It’s about creating a community around mindful living. Practice yoga, eat well, be green, practice purpose, and create awareness – in a beautiful mountain setting.

Krasno wants to bring life to the ski mountains off-season. The festival has grown since the first Wanderlust at Squaw Valley, Ca. in 2009 both in geographic locations and attendees too. Later this summer there will be similar festivals at Copper Mountain, Colorado, and one at Whistler in Canada.

Festival founder Jeff Krasno, wanderlust
Festival founder Jeff Krasno.

Families with a passion for yoga can make this a destination vacation. Wanderlust has a program, Wanderkind, for 4-10 year olds that offer kid’s yoga, music, hula-hooping, and arts and crafts for their own unique experience.

Every day there are two morning class sessions and two afternoon class sessions each with a choice of about 12 different classes in addition to lectures and evening programs.

That’s about 50 classes to choose from daily! There are more traditional classes with well-known teachers, as well as unusual classes like Yogaslackers (poses on a slack line), hoopnotica, (hula), and Stand up paddleboard at a nearby lake. I tried them all for fun. Now I want a paddleboard. I loved the Zen workout!

A Typical Wanderlust Day

Garth Stevenson plays his cello on a mountain hike. wanderlust
Garth Stevenson plays his cello on a mountain hike.

Here was a typical day I planned to experience the diversity of Wanderlust. I started with an early morning meditation hike with Garth Stevenson, a composer and double bassist who carries his bass, pedals and battery powered speaker to remote places in natural landscapes.

We took the chairlift to the top of the mountain and ventured off on the Appalacian Trail– slowing down and waking up our senses. After settling in on a hillside high in the mountains we meditated- breathing deeply delicious Green Mountain air and listening to the sounds of notes and bird song in harmony. This set the tone for more to come.

Next I tried “Off the mat and into the World: Be the Change” with Suzanne Sterling and Kerri Kelly. We were encouraged to step into our purpose and joy-to know our truth, learn, listen and awaken and take it out in the world to be the change. It was yoga with dance, live music and a message.

Paddleboard yoga.
Paddleboard yoga.

That afternoon I took Twee Merrigan’s class “Chakra Balancing for You and the Planet.” We worked in small groups connecting with each other. It was another way to experience yoga with the same thread of consciousness that was emerging from all my classes.

How can we become strong and true within and take it our in the world?

My body had just about had enough but wanted to see what people loved about Dana Flynn’s class “Rolling in the Deep” or as she would describe it as “spirit diving.” I was clearly in over my head in this musical and choreographed class that had us all singing and moving. I felt like a contortionist!

That night was a Farm to Table dinner in a vaulted ceiling rustic room in the mountain club hosted by Estancia Wines and celebrating the local food and farmers. Rodney Yee’s Partner Colleen Saidman is the Estancia ambassador promoting “these perfectly balanced wines.”

Ziggy Marley on the festival stage.
Ziggy Marley on the festival stage.

And then even more…

Ziggy Marley under the tent on a perfect summer’s night. His music and lyrics were a perfect match with the festival’s theme of being creative and making the change the world needs.

Beauty Bar

There were many other inspirational classes and lectures, like Nick Ortner’s Emotional Freedom Technique and nutrition consults with Luna, a “Beauty Bar” that analyzed your skin and hair, and much more. It was impressive to have live music during many of the classes.

After finishing my last day, I took my wanderlust to a nearby waterfall and submerged in cold clean pools massaged by the power of the waterfall. Off in the distance perched on a rock, someone was doing a balancing pose- out in the world.

Shelley Rotner

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