It’s not exactly a newsflash that we live in busy times where it often feels impossible to relax. Between never-ending to-do lists and plans for days (Or weeks! Or months!), the chaos of our daily lives has the power to consume our hearts and minds without us even noticing.
In the hopes of inspiring people to carve out time to connect with themselves and others on a deeper level, the folks behind the yoga lifestyle brand Wanderlust created Wanderlust 108, a daylong urban retreat that’s billed as “the world’s only mindful triathlon.” With the main events including a 5K run, a 30-minute meditation session, and an hour of yoga, the festival-goers have a jam-packed day of unwinding in support of Wanderlust’s mission to help people find their true north and cultivate their best selves.
Catering to both those who are new to mindfulness practices and seasoned yogis alike, the festival is aimed at anyone looking to zen out for the day. Wanderlust 108 is coming to Brooklyn on September 9, Philadelphia on September 22, and D.C. on September 29th, and then continuing its trek across a host of other cities in the coming months.
Whether you’re already attending or are just interested in learning more, we chatted with Wanderlust Co-CEO Sean Hoess about everything you need to know before going and what makes this fest so special.
No experience needed
First and foremost, Hoess wants people to know that it’s totally cool (and largely expected) that festival-goers aren’t experts in running, meditation, and yoga. For many, he says, this could be brand-new territory.
“For the meditation, it could be your first time or your 100th time, it doesn’t matter. It’s a guided meditation, so we teach you how to do it,” Hoess explains. “The yoga part of it is geared at all levels and is accessible to everyone. And the run isn’t timed. A lot of people walk.” For those who aren’t up for the 5K at all, there’s a separate ticket option to skip it altogether, so there’s no pressure at all!
Hoess says that the goal of the festival is more about community than competition. “It’s about celebrating mindfulness in all of its facets and not competing with your neighbor.”
Dress for the elements
Given that Wanderlust 108 takes place rain or shine, there’s no such thing as bad weather — only bad clothing. Hoess says that while most people wear loose-fitting clothing and tights or shorts for the day’s itinerary, he advises everyone to check the weather leading up to the festival.
If there’s even a chance of rain, he says, it’s wise to bring along a waterproof bag and a rain shell jacket if possible. The last thing you want is a literal damper on the day.
You can ride solo
While many people attend Wanderlust 108 as a group of friends, there are also plenty of people who go on their own, Hoess says. “Wanderlust is a great place to meet people. With a crowd that size, you’re inevitably going to end up talking to those around you, so you never actually feel alone.”
Because people tend to channel a positive mindset when practicing activities like yoga or meditation, Hoess says there’s a great vibe that just leads to good energy and conversation. “We’re trying to bring people together in a way that’s fun and supportive,” he says.
Lunch will be served
At the time you buy a ticket, there’s an option to pre-purchase a Wanderbowl for lunch, which is a hearty, wholesome gluten-free rice bowl that’s available with vegan or vegetarian options, plus seasonal fast fuels, fresh fruit, and a Flow Alkaline Spring Water. You can buy a Wanderbowl the day of the event, too, but paying ahead of time hooks you up with a separate expedited pick-up line.
What to bring
Attendees need to bring along their own yoga mats unless they want to downward dog it on the grass, which is also acceptable, but not encouraged, says Hoess. He explains that it’s possible to buy a mat at the fest, thanks to the mindful flea market that sets up shop at each Wanderlust 108 event.
Besides yoga accessories, there will be sponsors giving away free healthy samples, and local vendors selling crafts, jewelry, and apparel, so bring along some extra cash for anything that catches your eye.
Hoess says not to worry about your stuff, either. A bag check makes it easy for you to bring and buy whatever swag you want at the event. Whether you want to check your running sneakers during the yoga session or keep your phone and wallet locked away until you need them, you can store them using this complimentary service.
Don’t plan too much
In addition to the 5K, yoga, and meditation, there are a variety of drop-in activities available throughout the day, making it possible to see or try things you may be curious about. Hoess highlights aerial yoga, essential oils, hooping, live music, and bodywork as some of the bonus things to try, but he also encourages people to just go sit under a tree and be with nature if that’s what a moment calls for.
Hoess acknowledges how strongly he believes in Wanderlust’s message of allowing yourself to wander and just take it all in. “The real hope is that we’re providing an accessible entry point to mindful practices,” he says. “We hope that our events will inspire people to adopt new practices or deepen the relationship they already have with them.”
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