Wanderlust 108 hit Charlotte this past weekend and it was epic.
Wanderlust 108 is the world’s only mindful triathlon, with a full day of mindful cardio, yoga, and meditation. At first I wasn’t sure if I should go, because I’ve never done yoga.. like ever. With a twist of fate and a free ticket from a friend too sick to go, this non-yogi went to Wanderlust 108.. and it was amazing!
Before you even enter under the Wanderlust arch you’re met by Nicolette Spear, a makeup artist traveling with Wanderlust 108. Nicolette painted line after line of Wanderlust attendees, and works non-stop through the whole event painting abstract patterns on faces to get everyone in the mindful spirit. Of course, I had to get my face done as well. I’d never pass up an excuse to have my face painted!
5k (just one more mile)
The day started off with a 5k run around uptown Charlotte. Although I’ve been working out daily for about 3 months now, I didn’t train to run. I actually didn’t know I was going to be able to go until a day before the trip. If you’re like me and not a pro runner- don’t let this be an excuse for you not to attend next year! The point of the run is for you to have a mindful physical journey with yourself, not to compete. They suggest walking, skipping, or even hopping to the finish line. I ran and jogged with a few breaks, but it was really easy to do with the atmosphere around me. The run is around Charlotte and even goes through old Charlotte neighborhoods. Everyone on the run is going at their own pace. Most attendees are yogis, and their primary fitness source isn’t running. The expectations during the race are to have a meaningful run, and not solely to achieve some sort of competitive fitness goal. So, the pressure on many other group runs or races isn’t there. All that you feel is freedom, purpose, and togetherness with the people around you.
What doing yoga with yogis was actually like
As I laid my towel down on the grass and removed my shoes, I was ready to look a hot mess around all of these yogis. I was ready to hurt myself attempting advanced yoga moves and get glares from these yoga pros, but that’s far from what actually happened. The yoga done was meant for people at all yoga levels, even beginners like myself. When the instructor told us what moves to do, she would even suggest easier versions of the same moves. There was no expectation to be better or the best. Everyone was just expected to have fun and be there under the same sun united through mindfulness, yoga, and openness. Even someone like me has gotten good at the warrior I pose. See, anything is possible!
Juice it up
As a foodie if I’m gonna spend money on anything, it’s typically gonna be something I can eat or drink. For the perfect refresher, I always go for the smoothies or juices available at events or festivals. There were juices sponsored by Adidas and local juice companies like Natalie’s.
In between events
In between yoga poses and meditation there are tons of booths to go to! There are booths for shopping, mingling, or getting some food. The photo featured to the right is Wanderlust’s signature True North Cafe selling coffee and snacks. After your purchase you can relax on chairs and bean bags in the True North Lounge. There are also other booths selling fitness clothes or music, or just giving out free things to introduce their business (obviously my favorite kind of booth). Cruz is a barber for Ecoco, an California based hair company traveling with Wanderlust. Aside from just being one cool chick, Cruz gave out a bag of free hair products and even posed for a quick photo.
Something for dog people
If you don’t come for anything else, come for the dogs! So many dogs accompanied their yogi owners to Wanderlust this year. I mean who else is gonna show us how to perfect our downward facing dog pose?
To me, the best part about going to events like Wanderlust is that your proceeds give back to a good cause. One ticket purchase will help connect a child with 10 meals through No Kid Hungry. No Kid Hungry is an organization that connects kids with programs like school breakfast and summer meals, and teaches families how to cook healthy and affordable food at home.
So many things contribute to the energy at an event. The music, speakers, and activities at Wanderlust 108 really gave the day a fun, united, and purposeful feeling. The music emcee MC Yogi and DJ Dj Taz Rashid not only played some great music, but they also united the crowd. They included the crowd in the performance, moving us all left and right to the beat. The yoga instructor Chelsey Korus not only lead an amazing typical yoga session, but she also was incorporated in the stage performance by MC Yogi and Dj Taz Rashid. She moved the crowd closer together and even had us perform some group yoga with each other. Many people (including myself) thought would be impossible since yoga requires a lot of balance, but the exercise showed us that there is strength and balance in working together. Noah Levine lead the meditation session. His words were empowering and eye opening, and his voice was calming. Although we were in the middle of uptown Charlotte, Noah was able to create a soothing atmosphere by exerting his energy to the whole crowd. The purpose of the entire day was to unite and use these practices to promote understanding and compassion to create a brighter future for the world, and that was a hopeful feeling I was able to leave with after the course of the day’s activities.
My day at Wanderlust 108 happened because a friend gave me her ticket and my schedule was free. I’m a firm believer in things happening for a reason, and I think that I was permitted to go to Wanderlust for a reason. I learned a lot about how mindfulness can change the mood you’re in for the entire day. I learned how to bend my legs in ways I never thought I could and run farther and longer than I have ever in my life. I met amazing people who shared oddly similar pasts to my own, and I really pushed myself to jump out of my comfort zone and dive into things I never do. Most importantly, I was refueled with hope for the future of our world. The words of hope from speakers like Noah calmed some fears I’ve had in my head, fears that many of us likely have right now. What is important to always keep in mind is that humans have the potential to do great, amazing, uniting things with each other to make the world a much better place. You can always do something to create compassion in your life and in the lives of others, and we can always be working on ourselves. It’s important to stop, take a break from the day to day bustle of work, school, parenting etc. and really be mindful. We spend so much time planning and worrying and struggle with staying in the moment. I was reminded at Wanderlust 108 how important it is to stay connected to yourself through this journey we call life. I’ll absolutely be planning on attending next year, and I hope you all do too! Bring your friends, significant other, or even your mom!
To check out the remaining schedule for Wanderlust this year click here!