Photographs by Timberland/Jeff Heimbach Photography
"Om shanti," I chant beneath blue skies at Vermont's Stratton Ski Resort under direction from our hike leader. She teaches us the value of uddiyana bandha—or sucking in our guts while hiking. Repeating a mantra, she informs us, helps us become more mindful in our gut sucking.
This is Wanderlust, a four-day affair of yoga, the arts, music, and environmentalism. Founded in 2009 at California's Squaw Valley, this year's tour kicked off with kombucha on tap and kale Caesar salad at Stratton. This past weekend Wanderlust visited Colorado's Copper Mountain. The festival continues in Squaw Valley (July 26–29) and Whistler (August 23–26).
There are hundreds of activities from a "speakeasy" talk on spiritual parenting to stand-up paddleboard yoga. The base-area venues are nicknamed Wild Things or Luna Space. In Stratton, the brains of 3,000 attendees crackled with all the creative flow as they wandered and took it in. Think Lululemon-clad taut bodies reaching for yoga nirvana. Burlesque dancers gyrate their hips in the "Hooptastic" classes and acro yogis grip each other beatifically. A quartet of hirsute men in tennis togs ambling to the village for lunch look like they've won they lottery.
I take it easy with a session of restorative yoga, aptly named "Breathe, Stretch, Sit, Relax." There's a hip-hop yoga class, where the teacher opens with downward dogs backed with the musical choice "Baby Got Back." I find a workshop on art and music enlightening, and celebrity farmer Joel Salatin entertains with rants about mastodons and mitochondria during a farm-to-table dinner.
I may or may not recite "om shanti" on my next hike. But Wanderlust is less ascetic retreat and more a fun, wacky weekend in the mountains. "I was feeling kinda off-balance," says one pilgrim, yoga mat under arm. "Might have been the 12 drinks last night."
For my part, I bought a hula-hoop. —Sarah Tuff
Visit wanderlustfestival.com for more information on tour stops in Squaw Valley and Whistler.