Monday, 14 April 2014

Wanderlust Down Under

For those who have never heard of Wanderlust, it's a four-day yoga festival that started in Squaw Valley in 2009. As someone who has frequented a number of music festivals and who also recently became a yoga teacher, I was thrilled to hear that Wanderlust was coming down under. I was fortunate enough to have met one of the directors when working at La De Da over New Year's, who informed me that he and his wife bought the license to take Wanderlust to Australia and New Zealand.

Given that it was it's first year, they started small. It was a one-day festival held in Auckland that brought together the incredible yoga community from the entire country. I did not pass up the opportunity to fly up to Auckland for an unbelievable day of yoga, music, and friends.
A lovely assortment of vendors and kiosks
Hoola Hooping workshop
Aerial yoga workshop
I started the morning off with an hour and a half of intense back-bending with Amy Ippoliti, which proved to be invigorating, playful, and downright delightful. She used me as a demo and helped me get into my very first King Pigeon pose! Amy was a brilliant teacher who teaches in an adorable down-to-earth style that really resonated with my learning style.
I then ran across the park to join in Duncan Peak's vinyasa practise for another hour and a half of intense and powerful flow. By the end of the practise, I was exhausted! Duncan is one of the founders of Power Living, a yoga enterprise in Australia that has trickled its way into New Zealand. I followed up his class by listening to him give a talk about his journey into yoga from troubled teen to disciplined military solider to successful yoga teacher and business owner. It was also fabulous to soak up the last rays of summer sunshine.
Duncan Peak at the Greatest Place
Listening to Duncan Peak at the Speakeasy
By the afternoon, all I wanted to do was relax and observe other people gallivanting around the event. I was, however, signed up for two more hour and a half classes and wanted to make the most of the day. I got to play around with some Acro Yoga (partner yoga) with Honza & Claudine Lafond, founders of Yoga Beyond in Sydney. I ran into some friends at this workshop and we got to make shapes with our bodies and I found a number of similarities to my cheerleading background (oh by the way, did you know I was once a cheerleader?). All in all, super fun!
Honza and Claudine's acro yoga workshop
I sat through the end of Dr Libby's talk about rushing women's syndrome (this Ted Talk is worth checking out!) and how women can optimise their wellbeing before heading back to the mat for my final class: yin yoga with Duncan Peak. It was inspiring to hear Duncan speak of his philosophy around the practise of yin and to hold postures for much longer than I'm used to (upwards of 5-6 minutes a pop!). It's an incredible experience to realise how the body affects the mind and vice versa when you're asked to stay still for that long in a challenging posture.
Dr Libby at the Speakeasy
From there I made my way back to the airport and back to Wellington completely exhausted yet buzzing with inspiration and gratitude. The venue was amazing, the food was amazing, the music was amazing, and the atmosphere could not have been more amazing.
Cameron Shayne at the Mothership
Next time, I will definitely need to pace myself bit better than I did this year but I couldn't help myself, I wanted to do it all--4 hour and a half classes in one day! There was so much to squeeze into one single day that I cannot wait until 2015 went it expands to four days and will be held in Taupo. It was unforgettable and truly memorable.
Kevin and I are off to Melbourne for a much-needed holiday on Friday. Have a Namas-day!