Thanks in no small part to the pioneering efforts of Madonna during her Ray of Light phase, yoga has become the premiere choice of low-impact exercise for the rich, the painfully hip, and the physically-fit-but-over-the-hill. The fad has grown so exponentially that it’s just too big to be contained in a studio anymore, so yogis the world over are taking their practice outside and on the road – and they’re inviting you to join them.
A yoga festival is something like an outdoor music festival (some of them even include live music): you pay a fee to spend a long weekend in the open air with like-minded strangers absorbing the good vibes and sweating your ass off. Instead of drinking overpriced beer and listening to a live set by Arcade Fire in a giant tent, however, you drink overpriced wheatgrass juice and listen to your body… in a giant tent.
You might be getting the idea of a yoga festival confused with the much more common “yoga retreat,” but don’t. Both involve traveling away from the hustle and bustle of urban life to find harmony in nature, but yoga retreats with their 24-hour silence pacts and Native American sweat lodges are decidedly more somber affiairs, while yoga festivals are more, well, festive.
While there are many yoga festivals around the world to choose from, the one we’re most excited about is Wanderlust – and we’ll let them explain why:
Wanderlust is a one-of-a-kind festival bringing together the world’s leading yoga teachers, top musical acts and DJs, renowned speakers, top chefs and winemakers, and much, much more — all in a setting of breathtaking natural beauty. We’re talking about fun in the sun and dancing under the stars. Hiking on peaceful trails and gettin’ your down dog on at the top of the mountain. Sipping poolside cocktails with your friends, and then enjoying a tasty farm-to-table dinner with views of the surrounding mountain peaks. Early morning meditations and all-night chakra spinning musical performances – it’s an all-out ecstatic celebration in the most awe-inspiring locations in the world.
If we hadn’t just become yoga addicts, we’d still would have had us at “poolside cocktails.”
Last year the Wanderlust festival took place in Squaw Valley, California; Copper Mountain, Colorado; Stratton Mountain, Vermont; and Whistler, Canada. More dates in more places should pop up throughout 2013, with festivals in Chile and Oahu, Hawaii already scheduled for February. There’s still time to get your tickets ($475 and $370 for the full experience in Oahu and Chile, respectively), so if you’re interested, go!
For yogis who want a more intellectual approach to their practice we recommend the Yoga Journal Conference. Not as chic as Wanderlust because, as it says right in the title, it’s more of a conference than a festival. Think of it like a TED talk about chakras and asanas.
Whichever style of yoga festival you prefer, this kind of experience opens up a simple trip to nature into a more meaningful expedition, which we’re into. See some birds, see into your soul. Namaste.