A celebration of mindful living that includes music, mediation and movement, Wanderlust Festival was first launched in Squaw Valley, in July 2009. Since then, the yoga festival has become gatekeeper to the largest yoga lifestyle events in the world with ten festivals held annually across America, Australia and New Zealand.
With the continual rise of wellness retreats, daily yoga and Instagrammable green smoothies becoming signature lifestyle choices for many, it’s easy to see why. Having previously held a one-day festival in Bondi, prior to which saw both Thredbo and Great Lake Taupo play host to four-day stints, this was Wanderlust’s second visit to The Sunshine Coast, whose balmy afternoons and lingering evenings offered the perfect spot to relax and recharge.
Unlike other weekend retreats, Wanderlust’s point of difference is the sheer variety of activities on offer, from hiking to SUP boarding, acro-yoga and everything in between – it’s a holistic experience from the very get go.
The mix of yoga, meditation, outdoor pursuits and mindful activities on offer certainly make filling your schedule an easy task – yet with such a wealth to chose from it’s essential to select carefully to make sure you don’t miss out on anything.
Having moved to Australia just over a year ago and thrown myself into the Aussie way of life – where pre-dawn beach walks are the norm and weekends are spent coastal-walking and yoga-ing – I was looking forward to further exploring the yoga world and the various talks, walks and wellness events on offer at Wanderlust. Certainly one of the highlights of the weekend was the opportunity to meet and mingle with a variety of people from different walks of life. Perhaps due in part to its popularity in the states, Wanderlust attracts like-minded people from all-over the world, from as far flung as the UK, to nearby coastal towns Byron Bay and Noosa. Practicing alongside groups of friends clad in Lululemon are hemp-wearing hippies; and the coming together of families, city executives and travellers is as harmonious as one would expect at a yoga-loving festival.
My weekend schedule was packed and included a plethora of ventures from a mindful hike led by wellness guru Melissa Ambrosini which ended with a blissful mediation, to the more unusual blindfolded yoga that alerted the senses and offered a unique and unforgettable yogi experience. From mastering the art of balance during SUP yoga led by Noosa-based Kat Harding to an evening spent listening to the soulful sounds of singer-songwriter Xavier Rudd.
While I had anticipated throwing myself head-first into all things yoga-related, as often happens, it’s what we least expect to enjoy that affects us the most. Having sampled blindfolded yoga led by Pete Longworth, I was keen to try his Sunday morning workshop, Photography: But Not as You Know It. In a world where we photograph our food before we eat it; where Instagram filters are now an every day accessory, it was an eye-opening workshop that encouraged participants to take a step back from what has become the social norm with photography and begin to really stop and see the world; and appreciate it for all its beauty.
Whether you go to Wanderlust to further your practice, learn a new skill, be at one with nature or simply for some time out, it is undoubtedly a haven of escapism and adventure, abundant in activities in which you can learn, play, practice, grow and explore – all of which are endlessly good for both the body and soul.
Wanderlust is a yoga lifestyle platform producing both 4-day yoga and mindful living festivals and one day Wanderlust 108 festivals in over 40 locations across North America. Search for a festival near you here.
Lucy Pearson is a certified bookworm, wanderluster and a qualified yoga teacher with a thirst for adventure and love for life.
Lucy has her own blog, The Unlikely Bookworm and also contributes to Stylist Magazine and Hip and Healthy.