Wanderlusting: The Collective Power

I loved my time at Wanderlust! Not for the advertising, the shine or the big bang of the yoga business; not for the market of plastic wrapped samples, or even the commercialism of an industry exploding. I love it for the people. ALL the PEOPLE.

I can’t even express to you the beauty of seeing over 500 bodies move at once. Yes, Seane’s classes as the event headliner are packed. And yes, I know one assistant in a room isn’t much, but it really does call for people to be honest with where they are and to show up none the less. Assisting in the classes over the weekend meant I got moments with new yogis curious about the glitter of a festival:, men brought by their wives and rocked on the mat for the first time;. women that were due in a few weeks, bodies of many levels and sizes. Experienced teachers and famous musicians;, kids reading books on mats while mama practiced;, teens in groups giggling;, completely advanced students doing mind blowing things; and, other people that couldn’t keep their left straight from their right.

One of my greatest moments of the weekend was working with a man in a wheelchair in a Vinyasa class. No feeling or use of his legs, and in fact, Seane and I met him at Wanderlust three years ago and supported him in class. There are no words to express the moments of humanity, between he and I as we worked together to rock a yoga practice that was seated and support and creative enough to get some serious stretching on! We were grateful for each other, our stubbornness to find a solution together, while laughing and caring deeply,  between strangers sharing over this practice of adaptable yoga.

Me and my yoga hOMies spend time chilling in nature, bathing in the river, introducing each other to out of town friends and ruminating on yoga and life.  We meet international artists, hung out  backstage with rock stars that are really just happy, but tried traveling people.  I feel this is the deep practice of yoga, like its meaning intended; union, to gather and connect. Yoga; to create strong bonds that not only change the world, but our view of the world.  I give thanks to those that make it work and gather there.

I also feel a deep honour to meet and get to know the crew and staff, the musicians, the event crew and everyone else from behind the scenes. As I love to produce my own events, I love to know the team behind the scenes. I am curious about how a festival with a dream grew huge, expanded internationally and recently added a media company to their offerings. Thats a big and beautiful reach, so the question is... what are we really saying to the collective?

I spoke to many powers that be about there being a way to be wayyy more plastic free and to include more diverse community. To connect to local resources and progress businesses that BC really works.  I had some really interesting conversations with people to hear about the bigger view and vision of their projects. It’s pretty amazing, and it's a privilege to be in the conversation. If we think about yoga and systems of oppression and structural troubles, we do have to enter the system with our privilege as a tool, that our voices will be heard in the shifting of the course.  

I have attended this event every single year it’s been in BC. I have taught once, and all other times assisted my friend and teacher Seane Corn. I know the grassroots rebel yogis in my community always think it's strange that I would show up and support a big box event. I know, I at times feel that same way. But I go not for the shine, but for the multiple opportunities to connect to people. It’s an honour and a privilege to spend time with my teacher, and mentor in the yoga industry that I look up to. Her work in the world is major -spiritually speaking- and her deep call for humans to rise up and participate in the bigger knowing of life is revolutionary. And this is actually it. We can spend all our hours judging and wanting things to be different. Great change requires great action. Deep change requires numbers of people to step outside their daily lives and look upon the world with bigger eyes.

It’s way too easy to judge, complain and interpret from the outside. We must participate, communicate and show up in the world if we want to see change occur. We need to meet each other where we are on the path and offer up compassion and guidance before judgement and criticism.  

These events call the masses from all over to be together in ways we can’t even imagine. I have met and maintained friendships from all over the world that created new projects and inspirations. I have received invites to come and share my skills all over the world and also share moments when we realize this crazy world is a small miracle.

What I am trying to say is that my attitude toward big box yoga events changed this year: We have a powerful system, hating from the outside doesn’t always affect change. Let’s use this system to harness the change we want. There are so many good things happening here. There are people and exchanges happening. Affecting change from the inside can be more potent than criticizing from the outside. There are many roads to Nirvana. Rise up, step in and participate with a bigger picture in mind, with courage to hold steady, and to embody the principles of a teacher. Not everyone is where we want them to be in their evolution.  And many need guidance, or at least a chance to see another option. Rocking out your authentic nature with solid and true values is really how you can be the change you want to see in the world. So hold steady world, get on the battlefield Arjuna and step up and be the best you, with your greatest tools, to make the most profound change.

Assisting Seane Corn

It is truly an honour and a privilege to support, learn, grow and maintain a friendship with teacher, leader and community activist, Seane Corn. Her career spans decades –she has taught for nearly 25 years internationally doing teaching workshops, trainings, master classes and large scale yoga festivals.

Over the years, I have assisted her in Jamaica, California, Vancouver and Whistler. It is amazing to see a yoga class from the perspective of support. She moves and weaves through the room to support those who are struggling, offering suggestions for safety, ease and alignment. To witness the entirety of a room without being responsible for holding the full space is a deep honour, as is participating in asana classes for the more intellectual parts of my teaching and the energy of the room.

I find supporting a teacher and leader is an amazing opportunity to express my devotion to that person: making sure they have tea, taking them for good healthy food in quiet places between classes, working the space so they can leave in a timely way post-class, and offering a sounding board for the room. The experience is beneficial for me, both as a devoted teacher and student, and also as a one-woman show in my own right.   

I look up to Seane as a woman that has set an example of what it means to live your yoga off your mat. She is continuously committed to her path of yoga culture. People think that these ‘yoga-lebrities’ are not real people, who have often have two sides. The focus, effort and intention it takes to hold, guide and alchemize energy in these rooms all over the world is really a super-human power, in my eyes. I know personally from teaching groups that it is equal parts fuelling and exhausting. To see my mentor as a human-being, experiencing the same feelings as I have for business, intensity and burn-out is humanizing and inspiring.

I loved watching my teacher grow and shift in this industry of culture change.  It is refreshing and enlightening to talk about the shifts that we have both seen in our communities over the years. It is thought provoking and fire blazing, and takes me back to when I first met her about six years ago and recognized a kindred spirit on the mat. Her commitment to spirit is unwavering, and her edge is unmatched. I knew I had a teacher and friend for the long term in this powerful (yet petite) woman, who can pray publicly like no other I have ever met. She is a thoughtful friend with an amazing memory and the mouth of a fucking trucker.  That blend of sugar and spice, her call to action in the world, and her ability to make a whole room break down in sobs make her a woman who will continue to fuel and inspire me for the long haul.

In this crazy world of yoga, it is an honour to have Seane as a friend and mentor. Someone who can listen, mirror and reflect the struggles of balancing personal and private lives, of teaching and leadership. To have someone to riff off of the challenges of the culture at large and the ways we support and participate in it.

Assisting her during the last vinyasa teacher training in Vancouver was a great way for me to show love and devotion to my friend, my teacher, and my community. It was great to support the energy in the room while silently dancing across the mats to balance that energy. Learning to read Seane’s signs and signals has heightened my intuition of shared space in a teaching room. It is so humbling and inspiring to know that the same questions about space, the same frustrations and fatigues, and the same overwhelming joy of service runs through the veins of all teachers, both old and new. The challenges and celebrations we face daily are mirrored by our choice of teachers and communities.  Assisting one another on this path of this life is the key to sustainable and authentic offerings. It has been a deep honour to continue to learn and grow with my mentor and friend, Seane. Many bows!