Wanderlust at Squaw Valley

WHO: Lis and friends

WHAT: Wanderlust Yoga Festival

WHERE: Squaw Valley

WHEN: July 29–30, 2011

GEAR: Lole Balance Pants, Chaco Flips, Lole Tank Top

I’m a lucky gal… I don’t have to travel far to get my Wanderlust fix. For the past three years, the high-profile yoga festival has been just miles from my house, at Squaw Valley. This year’s event offered up some of the best yoga classes I’ve taken there yet. I started things off on Friday with Twee Merrigan and Simon Park’s High Voltage Vinyasa Class with live music by DJ Hyfi at the Gaiam Tent. What a cool space to practice! The Gaiam Tent (below photo) was bigger and better (more shade) than the tents set up by Red Dog chairlift in previous years.

I then headed to the North Face Yoga Space, indoors at Olympic Village Inn, for a mellow Bhakti Thai Fly Jam with renowned acro-yogis Jason & Jenny. We chanted, learned the basics of Thai massage and then used those techniques in partner yoga for a great assisted stretch. Acro-yoga is an acrobatic offspring of yoga, in which poses are accomplished with a partner. So fun, and Jason & Jenny’s intro classes are a great way to try it out.

For my final class of Friday (and my favorite class all weekend), I was back at the Gaiam Tent for Hipster Flow, an East Coast vs. West Coast battle between teachers Schuyler Grant (Wanderlust founder and New York City resident) and Janet Stone (San Francisco). Schuyler and Janet took turns leading us through hip openers while cracking jokes about East Coast versus West Coast style, like the hippie dance-around yoga you can find out West versus the straight-faced, perfectly posed elite yogis of NYC. Very entertaining. Schuyler even donned a Yankees cap and a black hoodie at one point, and Janet, in her cowboy hat, loved to play up the West Coast vibe by getting us off our own mats and rambling on with all sorts of West Coast lingo—yep, she called the sacrum a “cosmic ladel.”

On Saturday I was up bright and early for another round, this time with two of my girlfriends so it was even more fun. We took Vinnie Marino’s Hip Opener Flow, where we flowed to Led Zeppelin, Adele and other high-energy and moving tunes at the Gaiam tent. Marino teaches in Santa Monica and has a huge, celebrity-studded following. His class lived up to the hype, but wasn’t over-the-top like some of the other classes you get at Wanderlust.

My last class of the weekend was Hot Hip & Holy with Giselle Mari, a Jivamukti teacher who was raised by a bohemian flamenco dancer, according to her bio. By far the cutest and most entertaining teacher of my weekend, Giselle was energetic and very present with each of us. She was at once spiritual (having us chant, visualize and meditate) and modern (playing Ozzy Osbourne, Michael Jackson, Depeche Mode, Usher and loads of early-nineties tunes I’m too young to appreciate). We were at the most beautiful practice space of the weekend, the Yoga Tree Tent at High Camp (above photo), where we were treated to views of Lake Tahoe atop Squaw Valley as we practiced.

Want to hear about the music? Since I’m feeling Elvis Costello’s words “writing about music is like dancing about architecture,” you can check in with Ryan Salm’s coverage, coming soon to UnofficialSquaw.com, to hear all about it.

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