A few years ago, I got my first taste of a yoga festival.
A semi-regular pupil at my local studio, I thought I’d fit in easily, despite preferring my kale smoothies with a side of bacon. So I dropped in on a class and prepared for a next level yoga experience.
Little did I know.
A few poses into the practice, the teacher announced that she was being overcome by the rhythm of the accompanying music. She encouraged us to abandon our poses and, instead, to let our bodies move freely to the beat. “Reach out to your neighbours,” she summoned, as gyrating yogis approached a stiff-as-a-board me.
I did what any sane fair-weather yoga-doer would do: I rolled up my mat and bolted.
Like many others who practice yoga anywhere from seldom to occasionally, I’ve lived under the assumption that yoga festivals are for the hardcore yoga elite (whatever that is). But after poring through the upcoming Wanderlust Whistler schedule, I’ve had a change of heart: it seems, in fact, that even your Average Yoga Joe can attend this festival and have an awesome time.
This is what I’m talking about:
The sheer number of Stand Up Paddleboard yoga classes offered throughout the festival suggests that I’m not the only one who likes the idea of practicing yoga in the middle of the lake. The wobbliness of the SUP means that even the advanced folk will be challenged in their poses, meaning everybody will be laughing through shaky moves together.
Yoga and Rock Climbing
Whether used for improving strength and flexibility or for speeding up the healing of an injury, yoga goes hand in hand with a ton of mountain sports. This outdoor class is hosted by Mick Pearson, who owns a yoga/wilderness experience adventure company in the States – it’s sure to be a good time for cross-training athletes.
Yoga for the Modern Woman
“Currently, [Alex] prefers red wine over kombucha, Netflix over natarajasna, and hip hop over Hari Om”. So reads the course description of this class taught by Vancouver-based Alex Mazerolle. I have a feeling that we’ll get along just fine.
Duuude, My Shoulders!
They say not to judge a book by its cover, but it’s safe to say that this shoulder-focused class won’t take itself too seriously. The instructor, Matt Giordano, used yoga to help overcome a nearly shattered collarbone and fractured scapula (sound familiar, mountain bikers?), so he knows a thing or two about loosening up. This class is suitable for all levels and will help you work through that perpetual hunchback.
Run for Joy Trail Run
As it happens, Wanderlust Whistler isn’t just non-stop yoga. There are non-yoga options throughout the week, like this 45-minute trail run led by elite runner Lucy Smith. Mix up your schedule by throwing in a couple of runs or hikes – or even concerts or speaker sessions.
For those who find that yoga can get a little too serious, there’s AiReal: a yoga class that uses suspended hammocks to get playful with gravity. “We will end with an inversion in the hammock,” reads the description for “AiReal Yoga: Powerful Core” – enough said.
Although Wanderlust Whistler is still a few seasons away (the festival takes place July 30 to August 3, 2015), classes are already filling up. Grab your mat, sign up for a few sessions, and learn to love yoga festivals. Yes, even you, Average Yoga Joe.