My eyes closed and instantly my hands move to my chest. I could not believe the energy and the feelings bursting from my heart. At that moment I was in the middle of a crowded room filled with people most of whom I’ve never met before, and yet I felt at home. To my left and to my right were members of my community, the women of Full Circle Yoga. I have found my True North; this is Wanderlust Festival.
Wanderlust’s core mission is based upon creating community around mindful living. With their festivals all across the world they bring together yoga, meditation, music, hiking, adventure treks, lectures and locally sourced food to bring happiness and a sense of home to all those who attend their festivals. Each person is given a unique experience by being able to schedule classes based upon their personal journey whether that be through a soothing and powerful Vinyasa class, a challenging run through the mountains, a gentle hike to a lake where you will listen to a cellist perform, musical performances that vibrate through the core of your being or sitting in stillness to find your truest self. Because of this, it is only fitting that this article be done not just from my own point of view, but from the points of view of my fellow community members of Full Circle.
The festival graced our Wild and Wonderful West Virginia at the Snowshoe Mountain in Snowshoe, W.Va. for the first time June 5-7th for their three day event. Yogis from all across the East Coast traveled to the mountain top located in Pocahontas County bringing their yoga mats and an unbelievable amount of kindness. We were able to meet famous teachers and musicians, make new friends, take time for our selves and most of all strengthen our communal bond. The festival would not have been as special without the group of women I was able to share space with.
“Meeting MC Yogi was amazing but spending time with Katie Silcox was the highlight of the weekend. It was great to see our tribe, our sangha, grow stronger. It was amazing to be a part of their new discoveries and adventures and seeing how it brought us all back to our home full of love and even more light to share with our community. ” -Cheryl McHugh
Katie Silcox, ParaYogini, is a nationally recognized yoga teacher who recently became a New York Times best seller for her book Healthy, Happy, Sexy – Ayurveda Wisdom for Modern Women. She taught several workshops and classes at Wanderlust and will be teaching a series of workshops at Full Circle Yoga this Fall.
“Once I returned home from Wanderlust I realized it was going to be difficult to describe what happened for me that weekend. How do I put into words the shift I felt in my body, mind and heart? I had the opportunity to learn from inspiring teachers that possess the gift of helping you reach into your soul to tap into the secret, hidden parts that are yearning to be let free. I was able to disconnect from technology, and indulge in three days of practice in this haven, tucked away from the hustle of life, resting in the clouds, on the top of a mountain. Most importantly, I was surrounded by friendship, and these incredible women amplified my experience tenfold. Our community at Full Circle Yoga was strengthening that weekend because I believe we understand the power of the energy we all shared. I am grateful for what I was able to experience, and I look forward to discovering what powerful things manifest as a result.” -Erin McCloskey
“I honestly cannot choose a memory that stands out. There are so many. From the laughter with current friends to the connection with new ones. This picture; however, truly sums up my weekend. I am so sore and tired in this picture. I am a bit nervous being in the front row of an arm balance class but my smile is so genuine. I look at myself and I see happiness in my smile like I have never seen before. Through the soreness, the sleepiness and nerves I feel completely at peace. I’ve never seen my smile be so pure.” -Lauren Ward
“It was a weekend packed full of growth, community and of course, yoga. I had never been to a Wanderlust before, so going into it I wasn’t sure what to expect. What came my way is something that I will never forget, and something I can’t wait to make a tradition. Days full of being surrounded by like-minded people, not afraid to let their true colors shine through, attending class after class taught by some of the leading instructors of our day, and a true sense of feeling like one big tribe. I do know that I was most affected by the sense of just being – just, existing. A big part of yoga and meditation is focusing on the present moment, not worrying about the past or things to come in the future. I tried to expand that idea to encompass the entire weekend, and only focus on the specific thing I was doing at that specific time, whether it be in a yoga class or sitting in the cool mountain air sipping tea. At that moment, that was all I had to be and do. I didn’t have to be anywhere except right where I was, no to-do list, no work, no e-mails, no rush. It is one of the most refreshing feelings I have had in a long time, and one of the main concepts that I hope to try and continue in my life beyond Wanderlust, and beyond my yoga practice. Just being.” -Erin Green
“Going in to my first Wanderlust experience I was most excited to feel and take in the thousands of people exuding positive energy and to gain a better understanding of my mind and body. On the second day of my Wanderlust journey I attended Kathryn Budig’s Aim True mini intensive. Going in I thought I knew what “aim true” meant. She recommended we apply the intention of being “fearless.” Fearlessness in setting our goals and intentions, fearlessness when looking inside, and fearlessness when it comes to our practice. We were challenged to dig deep and assess our talents and fears. She led us to a place where I discovered that determination, passion and loyalty most govern my personality, whereas financial issues, external judgement, and persistent stubbornness are my principal obstacles. My weekend culminated with an invigorating arm balancing “Flight of the Yogi” class with Kathryn where I not only achieved the pose I had not one day before written down as my fear, but was able to transition from it, which I did not think in itself was yet possible, to a headstand with multiple variations. It was amazing achieving a goal I wasn’t aware I could even set.” -Beth Najewicz
I had the opportunity to be a Wayfarer for Wanderlust Snowshoe and bring community together in my area and share about the festival. It was such an incredibly fun experience and I was honored to be surrounded by my fellow Wayfarers, the studio partners and our Community Director while attending the festival. One of my favorite experiences with them was our Community Projects. Each day we had one project to bring us together and share the Wanderlust mission. On our first day we had our Community Hug where Faith Hunter, yoga teacher and creator of Spiritually Fly, spoke to us about what community meant to her. On our second day we led a Laughter Yoga pop up class where we stood in a circle and did various laughter exercises and on our last day together we assisted Kathryn Budig, teacher and founder of Aim True, in the final pose of class: Savasana. In Savasana we were able to go around the room giving adjustments to our fellow festival goers to help them achieve deeper relaxation in the pose. This was a weekend I will never forget; being able to experience my community with old friends and new friends made me feel at home. I am so grateful for the experiences and the people I was able to share them with.
We went into the mountains in search of something and found our home, our True North. Along the way we picked up a deeper connection and found a radiating light. Our community is strong, filled with love and support and ready to take on the next adventure. We would love for you to join us.
Wanderlust Festival will be coming back to Snowshoe next year, June 3rd-5th. To find out more about the festival, please feel free to stop by Full Circle Yoga, ask questions about the festival and make a few new friends in the process.