We all love our daily practice, that’s for sure. It seems that all over the globe, the east-meets-west yoga explosion is rocking peoples’ worlds and I, for one, am thrilled to be part of it. We’re doing warrior poses on mountain tops, wearing active wear – everywhere! – and we’re sippin’ on our green juices all day long. We’re concerned about our health, each other and the impact we’re having on the planet. We’re seeking to act as conscious beings within a culture that teaches us to be anything but conscious. Each of us is part of an incredible movement that has the potential to initiate real, positive, change in our world. We are all part of something truly inspiring.
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In April of this year, I had had the opportunity to experience our inspirational yogic energy from a perspective I hadn’t experienced it from before. I volunteered at the annual Wanderlust 108 festival in Sydney. I’d never been to a Wanderlust festival before. Actually, the only festivals I’d ever been to encouraged mind altering ‘practices’ of a different kind. So not only did I get to experience yoga in a new way, I got to experience festivals in a new way too.
As I made my way curiously toward the Domain, I heard the familiar roar of an excited festival crowd and I knew I was on the right track. I followed the sound of excitement, until I found the sea of fit yoga bods dressed in colourful tights. I introduced myself to the friendly Wanderlust team, my fellow volunteers, and then took a moment to stand in the sun and absorb all that I was experiencing.
On the festival stage, there stood a yoga teacher and not a rock-star. The latter I was so used to seeing in this kind of set-up, the yogi not so much!! Even though I’d read the line-up and was fully aware I was at a yoga gig, I had to pinch myself. The crowd that gathered around the stage were drawn together by a shared passion, but in an entirely different way than I was used to and in an entirely different way than had previously been available to me. Although music, dancing and light-hearted fun were prominent features of the Wanderlust celebrations, they were not the soul-purpose of the event. The purpose was to unite through a shared passion for living authentic, mindful and present lives – through yoga.
Witnessing the magnitude to which yoga has been appropriated into our modern culture, left me in awe. I realised that it’s literally spilling out of the philosophy books, teacher trainings, studios and workshops and flowing freely into our entertainment spheres. Younger generations are experiencing it as a lifestyle option that is already widely accepted and firmly etched into our way of living. It was fantastic to experience yoga being intertwined into our leisure activities and not just being taught to us in studios. After all, yoga begins long before we step onto our mats and long after we step off them. However, the integration of yogic principles into a culture that is largely driven by money, success, achievements and social status can be difficult. So, events like wanderlust are important for bringing like-minded people together and opening doors (and minds) to alternate ways of being.
In the most simplistic terms, the collective energy within the yoga community is based on being a good person and doing good things. Of course, none of us are perfect – we’re all just practising being the best we can be – but the vibe of good will at this event was unmistakable. People generously gave of their time, wisdom and kindness to ensure that everyone around them was having a great experience. The organisers worked tirelessly to make sure everything ran smoothly, the volunteers stepped in to offer them support where they needed it and the teachers gave it their all – on the main stage, in the community classes and in the scheduled activities that came later in the day.
There was sunshine and smiles all round – with happy givers and happy receivers on natural highs from rushes of endorphin’s released through having a genuinely good time (and just maybe a little sugar high from the delicious free drinks Perkii Probiotics handed out all day long). I have to say, it was a pleasure to be at an adult event that encouraged good times without a belly full of booze. As far as I heard, no one was complaining about that, nor were they asking where the ‘beer-yoga’ classes were (which is good because there weren’t any!!) Every detail was in line with the truth of what we are practising. From the line-up of events – that included a balanced mix of asana, meditation and play – to the products for sale in the Mindful Marketplace – which were all beautifully crafted, ethically sourced, organic products.
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Working and volunteering in the yoga community, I am repeatedly blown away by all the people who happily go above and beyond what is required of them in order to make sure everything works out in the best possible way. At Wanderlust, I found it a privilege to witness the strength of our collective energy from a distance. When you’re amongst it, the view is often obscured. When you get the chance to stand back and observe from a different vantage point, you get to see the magic of conscious living spreading throughout our communities. My experience as a Wanderlust volunteer was even more than I hoped it would be. I’m planning to go back for another round and to keep being part of this inspiring movement in any way I can be.
ॐ I hope you’ll be part of it too ॐ