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I was a Wanderlust virgin, until last July, when i found myself driving up the hills to Tahoe, California with my better half, yogi Eoin Finn, who was scheduled to do a “speak-easy” at the festival (more about that in another post).

We arrived in our room at the resort overlooking the main pedestrian square in Squaw Valley, a campy ski town that looked like every other ski town in North America.  The same alpine village signage, the same stone and timber buildings, coffee shops and sushi restaurants.  Only tonight, instead of the usual weekend volley of hikers and shoppers, a sea of radiant people crowded the streets, most with yoga mats in tote.  Obviously, we were in the right spot, at Wanderlust, which bills itself as “the one-of-a-kind yoga and music festival set within nature’s most inspiring scenery.”

To be honest, we were surrounded by sharp snow-capped mountains, tipped orange in the evening light, yet, I found the local scenery way more interesting.  Below us, a wine tasting unfolded.  Yogis walked about with wine glasses in tow, sipping and savoring their preferences, while the decibel volume rose higher as the evening continued. Later that night, Michael Franti took the stage – and though we didn’t go to the concert ground – not because we were tired, but because we had our young infant baby in tow – we sang along with Franti in the comfort of our hotel room.

Yoga, music, wine and chocolate, and plenty of kombucha to go around as well.  It was surreal, festive and fun, the ultimate tantric love every minute of your life right now bubble, with an Anusara village featuring cavorting acro yogis and yurt like domes; yoga/hikes sponsored by Prana; a serene lululemon lounge that was the perfect respite for my baby and I; and mountain top dinners serving local, organic deliciousness along with some california wine and enough “xxx yogis say” to keep us all high for weeks.

And yet, along with all the merriment there was depth as well.  There were a range of classes, by well-known teachers (the usual suspects included John Friend, Shiva Rea, Baron Baptiste etc) as well as those who were new to me (Janet Stone).  I sat in on a meditation under a tent sheltered from the sun, yet open to the mountain winds and breathed deeply.  This was far from a conference – and I’ve taught yoga at a few – where my whole body always want to run from closeted windowless conference rooms and say, lets go yoga outside.  This was yoga outdoors and it brought my practice back to the basics, inhale and exhale, simple yet so deep.  Even the sound of trance-y lounge-y musak in the background receded.  I was finally here, no longer a Wanderlust virgin.

This year, I’m happy to report, Wanderlust is bringing their whole show up North, to my own backyard of Whistler.  With a line up of teachers ranging from Baron Baptiste and Canada’s own Eoin Finn, the festival promises to showcase the best of what has worked in the US to our Pacific Northwestern playground.  From August 23-26, 2012, expect Whistler to be overtaken by some down-dogging, dancing, dining on organic delicacies, grooving to the tunes of Thievery Corporation and Michael Franti (himself no stranger to Whistler) and some serious chilling out.  I can’t wait.

Presale tickets are now available.  For more information visit the wanderlust website here.  Maybe I’ll see you there!