So you can’t jet to Oahu or Aspen to get your yoga-music festival fix this year?
With Wanderlust: A Modern Yogi’s Guide to Discovering Your Best Self, you can get a taste of the transformational experience and on-the-mat action that the festivals have become known for while reclining on your sofa. (Sofa baddha konasana?)
It’s about keeping the festival energy alive that’s kickstarted when you attend one, says Brooklyn-based Jeff Krasno, who left the music industry to start Wanderlust with his business partner, Sean Hoess, and Krasno’s wife, Kula Yoga studio owner Schuyler Grant.
The trio have become wellness legends since debuting the first festival held in Squaw Valley in 2009, which drew about 2,000 attendees. The team now puts on nearly 40 festivals around the world, plus mini-festivals, and one-day “mindful triathlons” per year, some of which draw double that number, plus teacher trainings, and more.
With the book, Krasno’s re-created the festival experience in print that aims to “connect the bridge” between yoga the practice and yoga the lifestyle in a contemporary and, well, cool way: “A big part of the book’s mission is redefining yoga in a modern context as a broader principle for living, and not just an asana exercise,” he says. “I think there’s a thread between yoga and going to the farmers market, say, or riding a bike instead of driving a car when you can, and treating people with dignity and respect.”
To achieve that, the book is very visually compelling, and it acts as a journey into bringing your best ideas and passions forward with a cool workbook element. It begins with how to start a yoga or meditation practice, and then leads into chapters on topics like how to find your creative spark, with inspiration from over 50 Wanderlust Festival contributors, like Moby and Shiva Rea, and stunning photos of yogis practicing everywhere from mountaintops to paddleboards. It’s also interspersed with sequences, playlists, and worksheets for you engage with all the reasons you might be drawn to a Wanderlust Festival in the first place.
This kind of all-access wellness pass, Krasno says, is meant to bring you closer to “your true north.” We caught up with him to find out more about what that means and how he’s hoping to help you find it.
The book is beautiful, yet not precious. What inspired you? I was very influenced by the book The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, which focused on unlocking people’s creativity and was very project-focused. And I was also inspired visually by Elena Brower’s book The Art of Attention. I knew I wanted it to be very visual. From a larger perspective, so much of Wanderlust has been inspired by Schuyler, my wife. Everything I do is inspired and in homage to her.
Do you see non-yogis picking it up? I hope that it is a primer—we thought of it as a gateway drug for yoga, which is that you try a little bit, we make it really accessible for people to walk into, and then hopefully you get hooked and then you go deeper. Just like the festival, the whole thing is finding gems of wisdom that resonate with what’s right for you. Everyone’s true north has a different set of coordinates, so what’s going to resonate with one person about a meditation technique is going to really not be sticky for someone else. Maybe they will be more interested in developing a close relationship with food and that’s the thing that’s really going to light them up.
You use the term “finding your true north” a lot. What does it mean? Finding your true north is a process, but it’s not like there’s a terminus point, and now you find it and get off the train. It’s living a life of process and practice and constantly recalibrating so that your journey is inspired and full. The metaphor is very much caught up in the journey. Wanderlust is obviously this—the dictionary definition is the desire to travel. There’s a metaphorical desire to travel inward to explore your own self and that compass. It’s this journey of living the inspired life.
What are your favorite gems of wisdom from the book that may help people get there? For me, it continues to be about finding wisdom in the spaces of life. It’s very easy to get caught up in endless calls and endless emails and endless pushing ahead and worrying over things and paperwork in the name of something that you are trying to accomplish, and I have consistently found that when I make space, that’s when I turn away from the shadow and get a brief glimpse of truth and beauty. There’s a line from Mad Men. Someone asks Don how he thinks of all these great ideas, and he says, “Well, I think about it all day, and then I go to the movies.” I think we all have to find that space to allow the wisdom to come in. —Amanda Benchley
For more information, check out Wanderlust: A Modern Yogi’s Guide to Discovering Your Best Self
(Top Photo: Daniel Craig for Wanderlust, Second and Third Photo: Christen Vidanovic for Wanderlust)