Just because my favourite tea is a flavoursome blend from Whistler-based tea-crafters called “Savasana,” doesn’t make Corpse Pose any easier. The final pose in any practice, it looks like you’re just lying on the floor, but corpse pose/savasana is deceptively difficult.
… Lying still. Reconnecting body, mind, breath. Resisting the urge to rush off to the next thing…
That might be the hardest part of the Wanderlust Festival, the yoga and music festival that moves from Stratton and Copper Mountain to Squaw Valley (July 18-21), Whistler (Aug 1-4) and Tremblant (Aug 23-25) – managing the rush, rush, rush of a jam-packed schedule of yoga classes, ‘speakeasy’ seminars, hikes, concerts, wine tastings and farm to table feasts.
Take some friendly advice from my favourite yogi, Whistler’s Julia McCabe: don’t overdo it. “Take care of your body. It’s easy to sign up for five yoga classes in a row and totally exhaust yourself. In between yoga sessions try out a meditation, a speakeasy or get outside for a hike.”
Tricky as the corpse pose, that, especially when there’s such a concentration of great teachers and classes on offer. But Wanderlust is, ultimately, about balance.
Co-founder Sean Hoess told me last year, as I was preparing to attend the inaugural Whistler event, ‘balance’ means a lot more than just being able to stand on your head. “We’ve tried to create a place you can drop into and have a possibly transformational experience, but is also really a lot of fun, in a beautiful place. Take some amazing yoga classes. Dance all night. Have a few glasses of wine. “
Mindful partying is the combination sauce that Wanderlust is seasoned with. Oh, and lashings of music.
“Music, at its core, is about rhythm,” says the former music producer. “And yoga is about synchronizing yourself to the natural rhythms of your breath and heartbeat, so the two go together well.”
Despite the plethora of prayer beads, bandanas, yoga mats and people toting mason jars full of green smoothies who suddenly appear in amongst the full-body-armour clad mountain bikers, Wanderlust is really a grown up version of a music festival – somewhere between camping in the dust with your giant pink flamingo suit and nodding off to an endlessly long jazz riff. It’s a chance to come home feeling blissed-out and recharged from a weekend away, without the accompanying hangover.
The founder of Whistler’s first “yoga conference”, Van Clayton Powel, (now an author), remembers bringing the very first Ashtanga workshops to Vancouver and Whistler in 1995-1996, events attended by this year’s Wanderlust guest teacher Eoin Finn and lululemon founder Chip Wilson.
For Powel, there’s a synergy between wellness and mountain resorts that can be tapped into beneath the hedonism, “as long as you’re not surrounded by poor fools who insist on answering their cellphones,” he says. “Getting into nature slows us down, recharges us and puts us back in touch with our core human values. And that’s healthy.”