It’s not Woodstock. It ain’t Burning Man. It’s the country’s ultimate yoga retreat—with a killer soundtrack, set on the edge of Lake Tahoe.
Now in its second year, the four-day Wanderlust Festival, which kicks off on July 29, offers a menu of 23 marquee-name yoga teachers from around the country—Elena Brower and Schuyler Grant are notables from NYC, and Seane Corn, Shiva Rea, and Duncan Wong are from, well, everywhere else. New this year is a speaker series. Expect Muriel Hemingway to Google on personal communication (and how they’ve effed it up?).
By day, teachers lead classes of 100 to 400 yogis in open-air studios and just-built yoga tents set around Squaw Valley. Some at 8,200 feet give new meaning to aerial yoga. At night, the music festival takes over —headliners are Moby and Bassnectar. The event hopes to draw about 5,000 attendees—yogis, pudgy husbands of yogis, and children of yogis. You can get in the door for $29.50 with a music-only day pass; the all-access four-day pass gets you three yoga classes a day and unlimited music $450.
It’s the music production background of Jeff Krasno, Wanderlust co-founder and husband of Kula creator Schuyler Grant, who gives the event its infrastructure—and its sound system (expect lots of live music in class). “We were the first to layer technology, marketing, and booking into the yoga world,” Krasno says. I was glad to learn that you can reserve your spot in class with Shiva Rea, Baron Baptiste, and Brock & Krista Cahill online now, and that there’s a range of lodging, from a four-diamond resort to BYO four-post tent.
That’s a fit for a festival like Wanderlust, which has a cool factor lacking at other large-scale yoga events. “Our demographic is a bit younger than a Yoga Journal conference,” says Krasno. “It’s more of the urban sophisticate, checking their Blackberries and working 12-hours a day; raising kids and concerned about how to feed them healthy food; trying to find some spiritual connection, and really concerned about sustainability.”
Yogis know what the New York Times won’t tell you: This is not a pampering spa retreat. People do up to 12 yoga classes in 4 days, says Krasno. “They come to be challenged, inspired by nature and music, and that innate desire to travel. Wanderlust refers to exploration physically, but also kind of spiritually.”