Get Cultured — September 21, 2015 at 11:35 am

Wanderlust Brooklyn: Creating a Community Where There were Only Strangers

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Community is defined by the Merriam Webster dictionary by the following three bullet points:

: a group of people who live in the same area (such as a city, town, or neighborhood)

: a group of people who have the same interests, religion, race, etc.

: a group of nations

Photo by Jake Laub for Wanderlust Festival

Photo by Jake Laub for Wanderlust Festival

Wanderlust is a wonderful exhibition of all three of those definitions.  Not in a long time have I been part of such an organized, beautiful celebration of what it means to be part of a community.

Returning for my second time in two years, I am thrilled to say that the core features of this fantastic, single day yoga festival remained focused, energetic and showed no signs of waning.  The joy and excitement of everyone involved, from guru to student to vendor, was so great that I would go as far as to say that this year’s event has progressed to be even bigger and better than 2014.

A change in lineup of this mindful tri-athalon helped maintain the flow of the event and made for seamless transitioning between the featured legs of the day. Last year’s schedule began with the 5K run, followed by a 35 minute meditation practice led by the wonderful Elena Brower and closing with a 90 minute yoga class. I much preferred seguing directly into yoga from the run and meditating afterwards. This format really gave participants the opportunity to keep their energy up with back to back movement, allowing the stillness that comes with meditation to resonate more strongly.

Photo by Jake Laub for Wanderlust Festival

Photo by Jake Laub for Wanderlust Festival             

Photo by Jake Laub for Wanderlust Festival

Photo by Jake Laub for Wanderlust Festival

Beginning with a brisk 5-kilometer run on a sunlit, crisp September day in Prospect Park and transitioning into a 90 minute outdoor yoga class with hundreds of participants, and culminating with a multitude of acro-yoga, hooping and aerial classes, the Wanderlust Festival makes for an incredible amalgamation of fitness, focus, healing, and joy.

As always, MC Yogi’s incomparable soundtrack kicked off the energetic 90-minute yoga class with the most incredible levels of excitement positivity.  MC Yogi’s website describes his work as spanning “international music festivals to teaching some of the largest yoga classes in America, MC Yogi is widely becoming known as yoga’s modern day ambassador to the West.” There is something contagious in the way that he teaches, you can’t help but smile and bounce along with the hip-hop, reggae, and electronic beats that feed your practice. The safe space that MC Yogi creates with his playful jokes and constantly evolving playlist is indescribable, and a truly one of a kind experience. The mantra he repeats throughout the practice, “only love is real,” is something omnipresent in everything MC Yogi does, and is a tangible feeling that is infectious.

Photo by Jake Laub for Wanderlust Festival

Photo by Jake Laub for Wanderlust Festival

With a very different energy than last year’s primary teacher, Seane Corn, but one no less awe-inspiring, Dharma Mittra taught the second half of this incredible community yoga class. Dharma Mittra is most well known in the yoga world for photographing himself in 900+ yoga postures to create The Master Yoga Chart, which is hung in yoga schools and ashrams across the globe. He has been practicing yoga since 1958 and teaching since 1967, and his sense of humor is matched only by his incredible skill set – especially for someone in their mid-seventies.

Even the sponsors at this festival were incredibly kind and health focused, introducing attendees to products and services they may not have known of before, distributing free samples, coupons, and information about ways to live a greener, healthier life.

If you ever have the opportunity to participate in any of Wanderlust’s magnificent offerings, I highly recommend you inhale, exhale, and sign up.  Don’t let the possibility of being a part of a community where only love is real pass you by.

Twisted Talk: Have you ever participated in Wanderlust? What do you do to get your zen on? Discuss below!

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