If you're a fan of the yoga and of the music, check out Wanderlust at The Standard Spa, Miami Beach from March 17 through 20. Founded in California and with stops in various U.S. cities coming up this year, Wanderlust is a very cool festival featuring some of the country's top yoga teachers, plus electronic and world music artists, burlesque, belly dance, and even some Pink Floyd. A Miami highlight is sure to be Bonobo's DJ set, and the Standard Spa's holistic treatments and healthy food are pretty great, too. Among Wanderlust's creators are music industry veteran Jeff Krasno and Anusara yoga founder John Friend, who gave me the inside scoop on their project.
How did Wanderlust start?
Krasno: I became inspired to combine my music background's production values with the yoga community's moral and social values. My wife Schuyler Grant has been leading yoga retreats around the world. As an attendee on her trips, I became aware of a community of young adults passionately trying to live a mindful life -- a life that is better for them, the people around them and the earth. Sometimes, I think Wanderlust is just an extremely complicated way of telling my wife I love her. Men have a strange way of accomplishing simple tasks.
What's is the relationship between yoga and music?
Friend: Yoga and music are both artistic expressions of the heart. To be proficient in either, one must have intention, technical knowledge, and wisdom of experience. When the musician loses herself in playing beautiful music, it is a similar state of consciousness to the yogi losing himself in performing a gorgeous asana. Hatha yoga poses can also be seen as very slow dance forms. So, practicing yoga with live music can be a wonderful uniting of art forms to create a virtuous feeling in the heart.
What Wanderlust at the Standard highlights are you excited about?
Krasno: The Standard is an amazing property with hands-down the best bath house in the United States. There has been a commitment at the Standard to yoga and wellness since it opened and a community has developed around this atmosphere. It's also not pretentious. We're debuting "Yoga Side of the Moon" --- a sweaty nighttime asana class set to Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon LP. We're bringing in moving lights and lasers. Or, have you ever enjoyed a concert while lounging IN a pool? Or practiced yoga in a hammam? The offerings vary from burlesque and belly dance.
How do humor, creativity and fun fit into the experience?
Friend: Yoga is about revealing and expressing your delight of life. At the very essence of our hearts, an infinite delight bubbles up simply out of its own freedom. So, yoga in the highest is a celebration of the soul's embodiment.
How is the festival setting different from a normal yoga class?
Friend: A festival setting is just a bigger version of my regular yoga class. Yet the festival is uniquely wonderful because it offers a unique opportunity to practice in community and in nature, while celebrating music and various forms of artistic expression. Simply by being in one another's company and flowing together with nature, we are automatically taken deep into the space of the heart. With music in our ears, we can tune into the primordial rhythm of life.
Wanderlust tries to be as green as possible. Why is this important to you?
Krasno: On a personal level, I have three daughters. I want them to be able to breathe clean air, drink water from a tap, swim in lakes. I feel a personal responsibility to deliver this to them and be a good steward of the earth. On a more global level, Wanderlust is striving to be a zero waste event. We have a broad greening strategy that ranges from recycling and composting to carbon offsets and carpooling programs. We try to use bio-diesel for generators and organic local food. Still, we are a destination event and people will burn fossil fuels coming to the event. So it's a work in progress.
What does it mean to "look for the good in all people and all things?" How can we apply these yoga-inspired principles to life off the mat?
Friend: The first view to take of anyone is look for the goodness within them. To classify someone as less than good because of race, gender, sexual preference, religious or cultural affiliation is to immediately create division within humanity. When you can align with someone else in a positive vision of the world, we can work together to solve problems and create beauty. Looking for the good includes looking within ourselves, so this view can be self-empowering and healing. When we practice yoga with a positive vision, to cultivate virtue and restore balance, we are uplifted and empowered. We then take the practice off the mat and apply what I call Universal Principles of Living. The first principle has to do with attitude. We take the premise that something positive comes out of even our greatest challenges... This is not to say that we are in denial that life can be challenging, even heartbreaking. Rather, our overall vision is to seek the highest, to look for the good even amidst heartbreak, to have a generally positive outlook on the gift that is this life.