STRATTON, Vermont, June 22, 2011 — Over 1200 yogis and hundreds of music fans will greet the Green Mountains Thursday morning with the opening of Wanderlust Vermont. The four-day festival combines yoga and music with ample doses of other activities like nature hikes and wine tastings, all on a “green” platform with eco-minded products and vendors.
Schuyler Grant, director of the Kula Yoga Project in New York City, co-founded the festival with husband Jeff Krasno and with Sean Hoess, both of Velour Music Group. In an interview before the launch of the festival’s newest site here at southern Vermont’s Stratton Mountain Resort, Grant shared insights on the motivation behind the festival and its goals.
Grant and Krasno were bluegrass junkies and music festival scene aficionados for years. Krasno’s business is music, and Grant’s yoga. More of an athlete than a yogi, Krasno had attended several of Grant’s yoga retreats in Costa Rica and elsewhere and was continually surprised by fun-loving the crowds. Grant was initially skeptical about his suggestion of combining a yoga retreat with a music festival, Lollapalooza-like experience. But, having observed that her urban yoga students lead a varied life with a variety of pursuits, she realized that the festival idea was an integration of the many things a lot of yoga enthusiasts like to do.
With Wanderlust, Grant wanted “to create something that acknowledges all the parts of us” by offering many different attractions. She lamented the fact that students new to yoga sometimes say they feel guilty for having a beer or eating meat. The whole point of yoga, she counters, “is to live intelligently and with inquiry instead of blindly stumbling through the darkness.” It helps one raise awareness and make decisions with intentionality.
She acknowledges that other types of retreats, including more ascetic retreats and vipassana meditation retreats might be right at different times; all serve “different functions in your spiritual growth.” But Wanderlust clearly comes from the belief that it’s “important to embrace your fun-lover.”
Grant considers her role in scheduling the yoga program the fun part of the festival planning. She aims to “balance different flavors and styles to round the experience out,” including creating a space for a serious classroom as well as an explosive experience with music.
A mother of three girls aged 1, 4, and almost 7, Grant wants the festival to be family-friendly with daytime camp and babysitting services available. But the organizers also aim to create a space where single participants – or parents on a break from the kids – can enjoy activities like wine tastings and hikes.
Different cities have different flavors of Wanderlust. Miami drew an “intimate and sweet” crowd of 250. The original Wanderlust site at Squaw Valley in Lake Tahoe, California has seen 2500 participants. More people than that, Grant says, would take away from the experience. So the plan is to add sites in response to demand.
Individual classes for this week’s experience are filling up, but Wanderlust Vermont tickets are still available for one day, two days, or the whole four-day experience.
Jessica Claire Haney is a freelance writer, editor and tutor. Her writing has appeared in parenting publications and poetry journals. A former high school English teacher, Jessica is mother to a five-year-old son and a baby girl. She is passionate about holistic health and well-being and is a leader of a chapter of Holistic Moms Network.
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