Wild & Wonderful Wandering

This weekend I crossed a few things off a few lists. I visited a new state I'd never been to before (West Virginia) and fulfilled a 2015 goal to attend a yoga retreat. My partner in crime Tracy and I headed for the mountains for two days of Wanderlust, a yoga and mindfulness retreat. And it was, in a phrase, life-altering.

(For me, at least. I don't want to speak for Tracy; I'm sure she'll share her own thoughts on the experience at her place. [She did.] But at least I can say we had a great time together AND got to hang out again so soon after RnRDC! Woo!) 
Couldn't have asked for a better yoga buddy than this gal!
Over the course of two days, we took five yoga classes/workshops and one mindful running group run/learning session. (And began making plans for an international 2016 adventure, but I'm getting ahead of myself.)
I mean, hello gorgeous!
A lot of the sessions' lessons reached me in a really profound way, and I feel like I learned so much. I improved my practice, for sure. I learned principles to be a better student of this discipline that I use to shape my mind, body, and whole life. I laughed a lot and even refined my yoga philosophy a bit more. I had some wonderful conversations with a dear friend and met some new and fantastic people I wouldn't have otherwise crossed paths with. I am full of gratitude for this entire experience. 

I don't want to talk to much about the specifics of what Wanderlust gave me, because I don't want to cheapen it. I don't want to take these instructors' words and wisdom and pass them off here as my own. And I don't want to pretend that my experience is like anyone else's was or could be. Listen: Part of yoga, for me, is learning when to reign it in and be comfortable with everything happening internally. Be comfortable not sharing things that are better kept as a gift to myself. There's no need for me to share, oh, I dunno, what I saw with my third eye, or chatter on about how my beliefs make me feel. It's a personal code, and my internalization of my practice does no good to anyone else listening on. 

But I will say this: if you have the opportunity, go to Wanderlust. Go. If you're a beginner, go. If you're just curious, go. If you want to deepen your practice, go. If you want to learn something new, go. If you want to meet new people, go. If you want to become more in tune with your body, go. If you want an adventure, go.
The studio space floors were lined with these alignment markers; each of which had a little mantra on them. I forgot to snap a pic of my first one ("Surrender") but grabbed this one in the Yin class.
If you're curious, here's a quick run-down of the sessions we took and instructors (all travel!) we met:

Upside Down & AroundEric Paskel
Nothing like starting the day with some inversions and arm balances! This workshop was fun and challenging, but I walked away with some really good practice techniques and confidence in flipping myself upside down. The instructor was FABULOUS. He reminded me a lot of my chiropractor, and you all know how much I love him. I really hope to have the opportunity to take class with him again someday. (He'll be at Kripalu Center in Massachusetts—Mecca for American yogis, really—in July, but I may have a conflict sadly!)

Every Breath You TakeGina Caputo
I think Tracy and I were looking forward to this the most since the moment we booked Wanderlust. This was a vinyasa flow class set to—ready?—the music of The Police. It. Was. SO MUCH FUN! DJ Drez really was a master and the whole flow of the class was just amazing. Gina had fabulous energy, was so much fun as a guide and really challenged us. Meanwhile, I'll be adding "Every Breath You Take" to my home flow playlist immediately.

Intro to Mindful RunningElinor Fish
This 2.68-mile run was the most challenging part of the weekend, I think. I didn't account for the added challenge of our mountain elevation, which made running even on the paved path difficult. Once we got into the woods, the soft, earthy trail was lousy with added obstacles. It was a humbling workout, but rewarding, and any time I get to run with Tracy is a good time! Elinor was so warm and welcoming and eager to answer all of our questions, and she shared some great principles and theories I'm eager to carry forward into marathon training. I'm really hoping we have the opportunity to see her again on one of her retreats in 2016.

Yin Yoga: Deep Hip WorkJoe Barnett
I've never taken a Yin class before or even tried it in home practice, so I was really looking forward to this. Oh my goodness you guys. I need to make this at least a monthly treat. After our intense morning and afternoon run, this hip work was absolutely to die for. Over the course of the full 90-minute session, we went through only about four poses, save for childs pose and shavasana as transitional rest postures. Each one repeated on each side and held for several minutes and...I just can't express how good this whole class felt. It also brought me into the best shavasana I had all day, not to mention all week. Such a treat. I'd love to take a class with him again.
Vindalini – Eric Paskel
I was really happy to have another class with Eric, and I've been looking forward to this class for a while. It's a blend of vinyasa, which I practice about 99 percent of the time, and kundalini yoga, which I haven't practiced since college. Kundalini focuses heavily on breathing techniques and I was happy for the refresher. This class was WAY more challenging than I thought it would be, and that was definitely compounded by all of the work we did the day before. In a word, ouch. In another word, yum.

Building a PlaybookSage Rountree
Sage was amazing. I wish I could study under her daily. This class was a workshop for teachers, future teachers, and home practitioners. She broke down some really simple but sweet combinations, offered techniques for sequence-building, gave us time for free-flow, and showed some incredible hip flexor stretches that I loved so much I took pictures of and need to remember to do before and after every run from now until forever. Once I'm certified I really look forward to enriching my classes with her teachings.

For real.
We were supposed to finish off Sunday with a stand-up paddleboard class (SUP yoga!) but... we were literally inside a raincloud, and I don't think the temperature broke 59 degrees. We wanted to end on a high note, so we grabbed some pizza (because in what world is pizza not a high note?) and ventured off the mountain. (Side note, Tracy, I just realized every time we've hung out, we've had copious amounts of pizza. I think this needs to be a thing forever.)
I'm still wearing my Wanderlust bracelets because I want to pretend it isn't over. It was really an amazing weekend, and the perfect way to start off a season of endless adventure. Wanderlust, I will see you again soon.

Comments

  1. It sounds absolutely amazing. I'm glad you all had such a fabulous time!! The Every Breath You Take class sounds fun!

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  2. So happy you had a great time!! The location could not have been more perfect for a yoga retreat and I think you deserve all that pizza after the yoga that you did! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

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  3. I've heard amazing things about Wanderlust and want to try it someday. That retreat looks amazing.

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  4. I am insanely jealous of you. In the best way possible. The way you verbalize what yoga means to you is seriously moving. Maybe I'll put the Wanderlust retreat on my bucket list for next year :)

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  5. I've never even heard of this & now I'm so intrigued!!!

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  6. you've got me intrigued about wanderlust! a friend and I were talking about going to costa rica for a yoga resort, but maybe wanderlust would be slightly more (financially) achievable! i'll have to look into it

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  7. I am beyond motivated by you and this retreat. Thank you for sharing everything that you did with your readers and for keeping all that you learned to yourself. That makes me happy, curious and excited to attend one of these with you someday.

    Also, Yin is a must-do. Restorative + Yin make me a better human.

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  8. I just keep re-reading this trying to find the words to express how good this weekend was for me and how grateful I am to you for inviting me, but I just can't. I have so many feelings from this weekend that just can't be expressed and I guess that now extends to this post too. Life-altering, profound, yes. More to come when I can find the time and words for my own recap but for now I can only reiterate what you said and nod in agreement.

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  9. It sounds amazing! I'm glad you got something so wonderful out of it, and that while you shared some here you've kept some as a gift inside yourself.

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  10. Sounds like you guys had an amazing time!!! Love all the classes you took and that you ended on pizza to keep it happy, because duh...pizza!

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  11. Happy sigh and yay, is all :) :)

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  12. lady this looks like an amazing weekend. I'm so pumped you had the opportunity to go and with Tracy to boot! It makes me want to visit West Virginia.

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  13. This sounds so heavenly! I wish so much that this was close to me I would totally go to something like this. You and Tracy rock. I love the synopsis of the classes you guys took and that there was some running in there too. So motivating. You really are an inspiration!

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