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.