On any given morning in Los Angeles’ Runyon Canyon, you can’t throw a wireless earbud without hitting someone who’s ridiculously good-looking. But at around 10:30 a.m. on Sundays, just beneath the stairs on a half-built basketball court, you’ll find a particularly dense congregation of beautiful people—models, musicians, actors, and other entertainment industry types—all of whom have gathered to experience the gospel of The Wildfire Initiative.
At these weekly Walk and Talks, as they're dubbed, yoga instructor-slash-musician Bryan Ellis leads the crew in breathwork, meditation, and the Chinese movement practice of qi gong. Next, guests might be in for an existential discussion or gratitude ritual led by another music man, Netic Rebel—the original founder of these excursions—followed by a snack of fat-burning, adaptogenic cookies baked by model-chef Crosby Tailor.
It's "P90X for the soul, or Hogwarts for Hollywood hopefuls."
According to Ellis, it's “a modern school to explore the mysteries of life," while Tailor likens it to "P90X for the soul, or Hogwarts for Hollywood hopefuls." But you might just consider this the sweat-free Skinny Bitch Collective of the West Coast: ultra-buzzy and beloved by beautiful people who swear it's changed their lives (and maybe on the receiving end of eye-rolls by those who haven't tried it).
But unlike the controversial UK boot camp, this one trades exclusivity for an open-to-all concept. And the weekly happenings—now pulling in 50-strong and growing—are just a taste of what’s to come. The Wildfire Initiative officially launches later this year with a program of workshops, summits, retreats, and more. Its first public event outside of LA, a riff on the Walk and Talk format, will take place at Bandier’s Studio B on Sunday, February 12.
What’s the deal with this new collective that’s promising P90X-level transformations for your mind and spirit? Keep reading for the scoop on The Wildfire Initiative.
The fire starters
Wildfire’s aim is to help its acolytes attain self-actualization through movement, breath, meditation, nutrition, and personal development—both online and IRL. It’s a high-vibe message that’s been imparted many times before, but usually by solo acts like Gabrielle Bernstein and Deepak Chopra. What makes this project different is it’s orchestrated by a collective of dudes (all of who are, yes, pretty attractive), each bringing his own expertise to the table.
"We want to get people to start looking within and awakening—[especially] people who are just going through the motions and never really feel that amazing."
Along with Ellis (the yogi), Rebel (the philosopher), and Tailor (the biohacker chef), entrepreneur Abraham Wolke is the fourth co-founder who handles the business side of the operation. (Ex-football players Ryan Grant and Carlos Campbell are also part of the clique.) The longtime friends all share an obsession with transcending ordinary existence to attain superhuman levels of contentedness and calm.
The Wildfire Initiative isn’t just geared towards celebrities and wellness junkies. “We want to get people to start looking within and awakening—[especially] people who are just going through the motions and never really feel that amazing,” says Tailor, who insists that the project appeals equally to men and women. “If it’s 3 p.m. and someone’s losing his mind because he has deadlines and his girlfriend’s pissed at him, he can say, ‘Here are some tools that The Wildfire Initiative has set up for me: I’m going to do this breathing technique, I’m going to take this supplement, I’m going to eat these foods, and now I’m getting to a point where I’m in control of my nervous system and I feel great.'”
Fanning the spark
The idea first started with Ellis (after he had an epiphany on California's Mount Shasta, natch), who presented it to Tailor. “At the beginning he was just thinking about retreats," Tailor recalls. "But we all soon realized there was a huge gap we could fill when it comes to an internet-based [retreat] model, and not a destination where only 20 people get to go.”
Exotic retreats are still in the pipeline, but so is a digital platform. According to Tailor, it’ll encompass free content plus a subscription-based portal filled with live-streamed classes and lectures, guided meditations with a DJ-driven soundtrack, meal plans, cleanse regimens—basically a boot camp to “mind-hack yourself into better places of wellbeing,” as Tailor puts it. (Want to get in on it? Join their mailing list for launch details.)
“Our nervous systems are fried and we don’t know how to respond to stress. So we’re teaching you how to be vulnerable and relax into the discomfort so you’re able to adapt."
The Wildfire Initiative’s tools have already found a fan in actor Jesse Metcalfe, a close friend of the group who attends the project’s Runyon gatherings. "The Wildfire Initiative breathwork is my weekly reprieve from the Hollywood rat race—it's very relaxing," he says. "I feel it calms my nervous system, and brings my mind and body back into equilibrium."
And its founders believe more people need this kind of work now than ever. “We are all so overstimulated—the news, the social channels, being on our phones 10 hours a day,” Tailor ticks off. “Our nervous systems are fried and we don’t know how to respond to stress. So we’re teaching you how to be vulnerable and relax into the discomfort so you’re able to adapt.” Preach.
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