Confessions of a Yoga Festival Rookie (or what NOT to do at Wanderlust)

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Can I start by saying how much I hate Wanderlust Yoga Festival?  In fact, I hate all Yoga Journal Conferences, or any other new age hippy fest disguising itself as a yoga festival.  They remind me of the astonishing ability for western culture to take any ancient, revered spiritual system and commercialize the hell out of it.  Marketing geniuses have done a really wonderful job on their part to bring yoga to the masses by making it more simple (aka dumbing down) what “yoga” means.  Practicing yoga is now a “really good workout” and going to these types of events is seen as more of a social networking outlet vs. when one attends the Kumbh Mela (now those people know how to put on a festival).

The last, and only , time I went to the coveted YJ Conference in Estes Park not only did I feel like an outcast, but was openly judged by “yogis” who are much more in the know of proper spiritual etiquette than I.  Maybe I am exaggerating since I tend to be a bit self-conscientious around large groups of people.  At check-in, however, I became acutely aware glaring looks I received up and down as I passed by women with open eye rolls, while they quickly catalogued me as one who did not belong to their Ganensha Patchuli Yoga Sorority (GPY).

Having gone through the experience, I can pass on the knowledge I learned the hard way.  Here are a few mistakes commonly made by a Yoga Festival rookie:

1.)   I did not pack the proper transparent white yoga pants to prance like tiger back and forth on my mat while seeking to get in touch with inner “Shakti Goddess)
2.)   I stayed in a quaint little hotel in town outside of the village
3.)   I mentioned to GPY member I was really looking forward to attending a workshop on the interpretation on the Yoga Sutras (since I have never understood WTF Pantanjali was talking about, I was encourage that the workshop may offer some insight.) instead of going to practice with the master yoga teacher “Spew out her own Political Views” with the cool yogi kids.

Side note:  After attending the Yoga Sutra workshop, led by a really lovely, sweet man, I have concluded I would be better off to first smoke some opium and then try to read through the sutras.  Maybe I would finally  come to the cosmic understanding of the universal truth that all beings can speak to you once you transcend consciousness and begin reading people’s minds – oh, and walking through walls – I love that one.  I keep trying it out of respect to this teacher, but alas, I just end up with nasty bruises on my shoulders, knees or forehead.

I was spurred offer these tips to any yogis out there who are considering attending the upcoming Wanderlust Yoga Festival Tour (I keep imagining that it is somewhat like a traveling Carnival that roamed the west in the most of the 19th Century.  If you do attend, and there is a bearded lady, will you promise to send a picture?!) by the recent, constant barrage of messages over multiple social networking sites amongst yoga teachers and practitioners alike.  The dialogue has been compiled and edited from various GPY Sorority profiles into an overall summarization that when something like this:

“I just bought my tickets to Wanderlust, I am so stoked! Who is with me?” ~post by GPY member Nada Shakti

“Oooo, I want to go, maybe we can room together?” ~post by GPY member Satya no Veraz

“Totally!  I have only met you once, but am eager for us to be roomies, so that you can still all my S**T while I am in my yoga bliss.” ~comments NS

“Cool, because I plan on using your money to by X for me an all my friends at the party (aka overhyped rave) they holding the night after we take yoga in the 98-degree heat under a F***ing tent all day.” ~comments SV

“Soooo awesome!  That is the best part of yoga right, the retox after the detox, man.  By the way, did you say you were planning to steal my S**T?”.  ~comments NS

“Yea – don’t burst my Tantric bubble – enjoy life while it’s here, every yogi for him/herself.  I am only concerned about my own state of rainbows and unicorns happiness.  Isn’t there something about non-hoarding anyway, share the wealth.” ~comments SV

“Hey Lakshmi, are you going?” ~unsolicited post from GPY member Nada Shakti

“Um no, I would prefer to spend the $450 for the ticket on, oh say rent or food?” ~comments Lakshmi Rasa (non-GPY member)

“What?! You aren’t going?!  What kind of a yogi are you?!  Don’t you know that you HAVE to go to Wanderlust Festival, everyone will be there.  It is like only the coolest festival of the year.  If you go, then you will be in the GPY Sorority for sure” ~comments Satya no Veraz

“Thanks for the offer to be in the GPY Club, but really I would rather have someone put a stick of incense right through the center of my retina, light it on fire, wait for the entire thing to burn to ash, then rub the ash around what remains of that eyeball.”~ comments LR

“Ugh, I am unfriending her on Facebook.  There is NO way she is a true yogi anyway!” ~post from NS to SV later that day.

Needless to say, if you are giddy with anticipation about attending this fairly new, overpriced marketing scheme deluding people into believing that once attended this will be the only work they need to do in order to attain this “enlightenment” that Mr. High-As-Kite Pantanjali and possible drug –addicted writer friends spoke of, please do remember to pack the proper pants….