Alexandra and Ksenia’s insider tips will you help you to achieve a healthier mind and body – both in and out of Wanderlust’s four day festival.
This past July Alexandra Dawson and Ksenia Avdulova of the Wellness Warrior Collective — a collaborative series exploring the elements and interconnectedness of whole body wellness through the lens of self-love, positive thinking, and holistic living — packed up their yoga pants for four days of scenic yoga, moon parties, and wildflower walks at Wanderlust Festival, Squaw Valley. With their diverse backgrounds and overwhelming passions for spreading health and living their lives in motion, they’re here now delving into the experience and chatting about how to not only navigate the four day fest, but how to transform that Wanderlust magic into an everyday practice.
Alexandra: Alexandra here from the Wellness Warrior Collective, and independently InMyBowl.com and @TallulahAlexandra, a lifestyle and recipe website advocating plant-based nutrition, healthful and positive living, and #GoddessVibes. It’s so hard to believe we’re on the other side of Wanderlust, I still can’t really wrap my mind around it!
Ksenia: Hi, Ksenia here! My @breakfastcriminals Instagram account started as a creative outlet for my personal quest for starting each day with a little more love manifested in nutrient-packed superfood breakfasts. Having found my heart in this process, I now hope to inspire my readers to let go of trends and rules in favor of tuning inside for innate guidance, with a side of açaí bowl. I can’t believe it either – Wanderlust Festival flew by!
Ksenia: You know how they say travel changes you, that we bring a piece of every adventure home with us, never going back to the previous version of us – what did you bring home with you from Wanderlust in Squaw Valley?
Alexandra: This feels so silly now, but I actually went into Wanderlust really anxious; in the midst of overwhelming excitement, I’d been subtly panicking for weeks. Although I’ve always been a very active and healthful person, I knew I’d be in the presence and practice of some really incredible yogis – I just wasn’t sure I’d be able to keep up. On the other side of the festival, I definitely brought home a renewed confidence and self-awareness – in my practice and in myself. It’s so easy to fall into doubt or awkwardness, but it’s imperative we listen to our bodies, their physical and emotional needs, and truly welcome and celebrate those big victories and small successes. That’s definitely something I’ve been able to find strength in, on and off my mat.
Alexandra: You’ve been a longtime yogi – how did you prepare for the festival (and at home, for your everyday practice)?
Ksenia: I’ve been doing yoga for some years now, but I think beginner’s mindset is what matters… in yoga and in life. My only preparation for the Festival was to come well-rested, so that I could truly surrender into the purity of the moment. It’s like that with going on vacation, too: you might think it’s ok to not get enough sleep and to overwork right before, but that’s not true. There are so many things that got us out of bed at the crack of dawn (smoothie bowl parties!) and kept us up late at night (Michael Franti and Thievery Corporation outdoor concerts!), and I had all the energy I needed to indulge in it all… maybe with a little help from locally brewed kombucha and my protein bliss balls! It was also helpful to have brought comfy yoga clothes and walking shoes for our hikes with Trevor Hall.
Ksenia: How did you prepare for Wanderlust and what snacks did you bring? Do you always travel with your own snacks?
Alexandra: Ha – I packed (really!) heavy. With everything from wildflower walks to black light yoga classes and evening concerts, my wardrobe had to be just as diverse (think flowy sundresses and clogs contrasted by cozy yoga pants and Birkenstocks). I did pack my own snacks, but tried to keep them as non-perishable and portable as possible, knowing I would be on the go and constantly in motion. Aside from our morning smoothie bowl parties, I’d leave the house with powerhouse breakfast cookies, which are full of belly-filling and protein-packed cashew butter and cannellini beans, raw nuts and trail mixes, and lots of water. There were a lot of snack options readily available at Wanderlust, but I love traveling with my own homemade bites, knowing the quality of ingredients and nutrition I’m putting into my body.
Alexandra: I know you were so drawn to the meditation classes at the festival – do you have any advice or clarifications for really getting into and getting the most out of those practices?
Ksenia: This is one of my favorite topics! Meditation has been life-changing for me; I actually just finished an advanced 10-month meditation program with my teacher David H. Wagner, meditating 30 minutes each day, studying one of the main yogic texts, the Bhagavad Gita, and completely eliminating alcohol. A transformative experience, what struck me most was the individuality and diversity found in mediation, that your practice is your personal fulfillment; a magical portal to self-actualized approval and love. It doesn’t have to look like anything and anyone else’s you’ve seen before. And a meditation can be anything – from sitting still for 30 minutes, to dancing, cooking, or lying down in bed with your favorite book. By putting just a little more love and mindfulness in the simple everyday things, we can build on that sweet meditative state!
Oh, and one more thing (I could go on and on!): it’s a misconception that you shouldn’t have any thoughts while meditating – who can do that? The practice of meditation is about recognizing those flying thoughts and releasing your attachment to them. Think of it as being the observer instead of the experiencer. That being said, what advice do you have for someone planning on attending a yoga festival or someone looking to incorporate some Zen into their everyday life at home?
Alexandra: A true sense of openness – to the festival or at-home mat experience – and also an understanding of emotional, physical, and spiritual interconnectedness. Wanderlust was a true testament of whole body wellness, fostering active living and healthful eating, but also this genuine, guiltless, mindful satiation of spirit. At the festival or in an at-home scenario, we need to be conscious of our personal needs and make an effort to step away from routine and the redundancy of normal. No matter what the circumstance, we have the power to find or muster positivity, to direct our intentions. And you?
Ksenia: I’m with you on that. It was exhilarating and liberating to be on the same page with you and other girls in our group and not be attached to our schedules – in favor of following what feels right, and keeping our minds and our hearts open to the experiences coming our way.
Like Michael Franti sang during that beautiful starry night out in Tahoe, you just have to “let your heart go” and be truly, deeply, unapologetically you, in every moment, whether you’re at a major yoga celebration in the midst of wilderness or at your desk in the middle of the workday. That connection is always there, as long as you remember to give it attention. No mat or frills are needed for this most important kind of yoga, only your heart.
Alexandra: I couldn’t agree more! Now we just have to decide where we’re off to next.
Ksenia: Bali!? Until next time Free People!
To summarize, here are Wellness Warrior Collective’s 6 top tips for navigating Wanderlust Festival:
- Come well-rested. Make sure you get enough sleep BEFORE you get to the festival. No one wants to spend a festival in bed with so much excitement happening 24/7.
- Don’t be attached to your schedule. Stay open and do what feels right. It will take away the stress of figuring out what class you have to run to next, and help you enjoy the moment more.
- Ditch expectations. Try to put aside everything you already know about yoga and festivals, and come with a beginner’s mindset. When you don’t set high expectations, you might be surprised how much more potent your experience becomes.
- Talk to strangers. Connection is the most valuable thing you’ll experience at the festival. Like Tim Cahill said, “A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.” And those seemingly random talks you have to the person next to you in yoga class, dance or hiking, can be eye-opening in many ways.
- Bring snacks. Yes, Wanderlust does have incredible healthy food and snack options, but it’s always good to have your own snacks you can rely on in between classes and on hikes.
- Pack for activities you want to do. It’s not just about the yoga pants! There’s also hiking (bring sneakers), dancing (bring comfy sandals that you can dance in on the grass), and late night outdoor concerts (a cozy bohemian poncho is ideal) and acro-yoga pool parties (bikini, baby!)
Photos by Alexandra & Ksenia
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