The Whistler Wanderlust festival is like new years for me. A time of reflection and resetting goals. When looking back over the years, boy have I grown. This year I was grateful to be a Wayfarer which involved promoting this festival in your community and on all your social media outlets. I was impressed at how well Wanderlust accommodated us, I got to share a one bedroom suite with another Wayfarer for the entire festival. Coincidence, or not? My roommate was someone I had met the first year as both of us were volunteers.
For this Wanderlust I had planned out my schedule to try a few new things and to push my practice in hopes to learn more advanced poses and sequences. However, the day before the festivities began I woke up with a sore wrist. I was bummed and knew I would need to schedule classes that would not allow me to do real damage to my wrist. With this in mind, it meant no back to back vinyasa classes. This taught me one of the most challenging things, which is to modify my practice to best suit how my body was feeling. So the first day I rescheduled creating a day with minimal practice of sun salutations and the second day when my wrist was feeling a little better I modified my practice by making fists instead of planting my hands to take the pressure away. Then Saturday I took the day off, because of a wardrobe fitting for my new work as a so called “actress.” (This is something I have decided to explore as the opportunity unfolds) I also had to leave early on Monday, because of having to shoot this commercial which was a long day but also tons of fun.
Anyways, these are the classes I ended up taking and my experience…
The Inner Light Bright: Chakra Tuning & Purification with Giselle Mari
Chakras are energy centres that spin and when blocked they stop spinning. Yoga aimed at opening each of these seven energy centres help to release these blockages and keep the flow of prana. There are also thousands of nadis (nerve currents), that are interconnected with the flow of these chakras and three major ones we focus on in yoga. Ida Nadi is representative of the left side of the body, which also translates to the feminine and moon, or more yin qualities of yoga. Pingala Nadi is representative of the right side of the body and the masculine or sun and yang qualities. Interesting that yin yoga was not considered a classification of yoga under the umbrella of Hatha of which many different types (Jivamukti, Vinyasa, Power, Restorative, Hot Yoga etc.) fall under. This class was mostly a lecture for the first half with beautiful chakra practice to close. As we worked each chakra we were instructed to breathe in and think of a person then to exhale blessings for that person, but all in relation to each chakra and its characteristics. A unique class one could only enjoy with an open mind.
Silence: A hike with Emily Kasman
I learned what it felt like to be in a group but not be allowed to talk. I found it very peaceful not having to listen to chit chat and focus more on observing the beauty of nature. For some reason twin and triplet trees kept grasping my attention. I was in awe of these trees intertwining and growing very tall together. Towards the end of this hike we all sat as a group and reflected on our experience. Most people noted that this was rejuvenating for the mind. There is so much noise both external and internal (with our own self talk) that makes us feel constantly drained of energy.
Yogarina Flow- Dance/Yoga Fusion with Beau Campbell
This was F-U-N! I absolutely love dancing but am not professionally trained. I enjoyed the challenge of mixing ballet moves with yoga. It was quite the work out trying to use our deeper muscles to fine tune the ballet postures. I was working up a sweat, as was everyone else. One lady was impressed I was able to do the splits and I whispered to her I just learned it this year. She was mind boggled and thought I had been a dancer. I encouraged her to practice and mentioned it takes time. The most fun was at the end of the class when we were slit into groups and took turns freestyle dancing across the room to express a single word like “water” where we moved like fluid, or “resistance” moving as if being pushed against. This reminded me a bit of the days spent skating for Ice Dance Theatre and our coach had us do an improvisation exercise on the ice. He used to play music and let us explore how we interpreted the music through freestyle movement. It is such a liberating experience.
SUP Yoga with Kristy Wright
A floating mat! This experience of learning to practice yoga on a Stand Up Paddle board where each pose you would told to simply embrace the wobble. It was half fine tuning of each pose and surrendering to the fear of falling in. I loved how if you fell in we would all clap to celebrate. I took the opportunity to dip in the lake a few times because it was just sooo hot. There was nothing like learning pivot turns, and standing on your head while looking up at Whistler mountain!
Blazing – Embodying The Sun Of Your Energetic Heart with Siva Rea
This was a great experience. We started the class with two small shaker instruments in each hand and gathered around in a circle while Siva explained the energetics of the heart. We began to shake to the beat of the music. Once in a while we were encouraged to change the beat the the base and then again back to the tempo. I was so grateful this class had pretty much no sun salutations and we did repeated low lunges with a beautiful swaying of the arms in circular motions to create length and to simply go with your flow. Many Oms were chanted whilst doing gentle backbends. Overall this class opened my heart to the idea of getting out of your mind and simply following your flow. Speaking with Siva afterwards with a few of the SUP yoga crew she mentioned that she often is ridiculed for not teaching alignment but this is not true she teaches alignment energetically. Her explanation was to compare a professional athlete in the zone, they are not so much in their head but in the moment and in tuning into the flow.
Energize & Renew with Seane Corn
She does it to me every time… towards the end, while in a hip opening pose, yet again, I cried. Her story as I sat there for what felt like a lifetime, was one of which she had visited an African orphanage and sustainable farm. Her desire to help in any way by providing the funds, and publicity (being a celebrity yoga teacher) was turned down for what was asked of her was only love. A great message to take away from this class, let your intentions be rooted in love, nothing more and nothing less.
Ancient Traditions, Timeless Truths: The Value of Time Honoured Wisdom for the Modern Yogi – with Nathalie Rousseau and Tina James
This was a lecture at the Mellenium Place. Here I got to listen to one of my favourite teachers Tina, who has so much wisdom to offer. The most interesting question asked was “how do you get rid of the ego?” The answer by Tine was “you can’t get rid of your ego, not entirely.” What was explained was that you need balance, especially in your practice. Don’t become obsessed with it, and feel the need to do three practices a day everyday for however long. In time, your practice will shed light on the darkness of your ego, and this will be able to keep you in check. Nathalie answered with recommending to “be humble, be a student, be open. Your ego is what makes you, you.” Overall, some books recommended for reading were Garland and Flowers, Shaman healer and sage, The original yoga, Man myth and magic, and Radiant Sutras.
One Hoop One Fit with Shakti Sunfire
I was not actually registered in this class but after making a flower crown at Lululemon I wandered to the beautiful mandala and ended up borrowing a hoop from someone taking a rest. I learned a few new techniques to play with.
OmGym – Meditative Levitation with Om Gym Teachers
An interesting class, one that both challenged you to let go and be upside down trusting the OmGym system while listening as best you can because there was another class going on that competed for sound. I had a lot of fun playing around with this system and found it very therapeutic. The teacher to my surprise was actually a neurologist and co-creator. He decided to modify his class to be more yang instead of meditative to allow for the mixed sound scape.
The Yin Side of The Force with Giselle Mari
My second class with Giselle which was just as great as the first. She is also from the Jivamukti school of yoga, like Tina James. However, she explained she also is certified in yin yoga. Her class was just what I needed to help mix up my practice and feel more grounded after spending Saturday driving to the city for a wardrobe fitting (one of which my wardrobe was not even decided upon after four hours of trying different outfits on, I think my flash tattoos and wanderlust wrist band which I couldn’t removed were a bit of a distraction).
Budokon Rock-A-Thon with Cameron Shayne
This class rocked! I was surprised to learn a new flow that incorporated what I was practicing at home. We learned a few new transitions like Warrior III with a kick and a hop with a half turn that transitioned to a three legged chaturanga (if that makes any sense) and then a flowing curly curvy of sorts into an upward dog. What I took away from this class which was a theme in Siva’s class and also talked a bit about by Tina was gettting away from a dogmatic practice. Cameron encouraged feeling your practice more and playing with it, because this is where things can start to get really creative. I am fully satisfied to have finished this year’s festival with a class on top of Whistler mountain.
~Namaste to all my teachers and the Wanderlust community