Saturday, 6:00 am. My alarm rings and I open my eyes wondering why am I waking up so early to start my precious weekend. I prepare to go back to bed when I suddenly remember that I had stupidly bought tickets for Wanderlust 108 in Guadalajara, Mexico. Turns out I’m even running late, registration is at 6:30 and I’m still wearing my pajamas!
I get ready while hating every single brain cell responsible for making the terrible decision of going to this “conscious triathlon” of yoga festival (that’s how they called this masochist package consisting of a 5k run, 1.5 hours of yoga and a 30-minute meditation). I mean, why would someone in his right mind go to the Wanderlust Festival? I can think of a thousand better ideas to enjoy a Saturday and most of them don’t require to wake up at six in the morning.
Everyone is sleepy before running
It’s still dark outside. Somehow I manage to take a taxi and arrive at the event just in time for the 5k race. I extend my yoga mat in front of the stage and rush to the start line. While I warm up, the moon shines in the sky reminding me of how miserable I’m feeling.
It was so early that the moon was still there
I meet up with a couple of friends and things just get worse. Just a few meters past the start line, one of them falls - hurting her hands and knees. She seems to be fine and my other friend stops to help her, so I decide to leave them behind; evidently, this terrible day is transforming me into a terrible friend too. I clock at 26 minutes, which is a pretty decent time considering my lack of preparation, but not good enough to heal the scraped knee of my companion.
At least she was happy while the paramedic treated her wounds
The sun is finally shining, but the mild temperature rapidly increases until it reaches the intense typical heat of Guadalajara’s spring. We hydrate after the run, at least the drinks are cold, and most importantly, they’re already included in the price. We go grab some breakfast just to realize that there’s only vegan food available. How am I supposed to fuel up for the yoga sessions by eating lettuce? The best option I can find is a rye bread sandwich with avocado, tofu, and vegan cheese. I wonder how they add flavor to this kind of food, but I’ve got to admit that it is delicious.
I listen to a somewhat interesting lecture about “heart yoga” with Elis Regina. Telling by the smile on her face, I bet she didn’t run the 5k and was still sleeping when the moon was visible in the sky. As part of her speech, she points at me and asks why I’m here. I don’t really know how to answer. “Because I’m stupid” is the first response that comes to my mind, but I don’t think that’s appropriate. “To write an article” might generate unnecessary attention, so I opt-out. Ironically, I end up uttering the total opposite of my current state: “to feel good”.
It’s 10 am and the first yoga session is about to start. I take off my shoes and when I step on the mat my soles get burnt. Who wants to salute the sun when it treats me like that? Thankfully I’m wearing lots of sunscreen and I’m able to do my asanas without worrying about skin cancer (in your face, sun!).
Lots of brave warriors went to Wanderlust 108!
The first yoga class is lead by Rina Jakubowicz, she’s very dynamic and enthusiastic. We move to the rhythm of Gipsy Wolf DJ and for a few minutes, I forget about the 34 °C (93 °F) in which we’re practicing. My muscles stretch, my blood flows, and my mind lets go of all complaints for a while. I even manage to not fall asleep in Savasana; Rina’s session feels like an oasis in the middle of the Wanderlust misery.
Faith Hunter is next on stage. I’m tired, I really don’t think I’ll be able to go through another 45 minutes of yoga. This would be the perfect time to go back home and actually start enjoying my weekend. Nonetheless, Faith has other plans in mind. She thinks she’s at a party or something; she jumps, she claps, she waves her hands in the air. I wish I could borrow some energy from her. The yoga session becomes a rock concert in which she stage-dives onto the crowd. My arms truly appreciate having to hold her instead of a Crow Pose.
I’m pretty certain Faith did it just because she wanted this cool photo. Image credit: Wanderlust 108 Facebook
The music and the light spirit of the second yoga session make the whole thing a bit more bearable. And to be honest, the 90 minutes of yoga did feel good. After all, I must admit that I’ve been through worse Saturdays.
Next in line is Rox Castaños with a meditation session. Could it finally be the time to sleep? Nope! My hopes evaporate quickly when she explains the 3 recommended postures to meditate and none of them let me lie down to take a quick nap. I sit with my palms facing up and follow her directions. My mind wanders all over the place; I imagine myself in bed, wearing my pajamas, playing Xbox, drinking beer and having a nice full breakfast the way it should be on a day like this. I can stay there well past noon without having to run 5k or attempting a trembling Eagle Pose.
Meditating under the sun. Image credit: Wanderlust 108 Facebook
After a while, all these thoughts evaporate and my mind goes blank. For a few minutes, I forget about everything and all the chaos in my mind becomes still. Roxy’s voice brings me back to reality, I open my eyes, stretch my legs and rejoice myself. I feel good. How can it be? There are a thousand better things to do than this Wanderlust craziness!
OK, by this time, I’ve convinced myself that maybe I should take advantage of this situation. I realize that I won’t recover the lost morning by complaining, so I better try the different activities available at the festival. There’s a hula-hoop workshop; I’ve never been able to keep the ring spinning for more than 5 seconds, but the attractiveness of the girl leading the session, Anita Alhez, seals the deal. Her charm is so powerful that, after a few tries, I can hold the hula-hoop in my waist for as long as I want!
The Queen of Hula-Hoop, Anita. Image credit: Wanderlust 108 Facebook
There’s also a class of Aerial Yoga, I’ve never tried it and it seems quite exciting. It is a big success; the silk in my waist helps me to finally touch the ground with my heels in Downward Dog! I must find a studio to do it on a regular basis.
I totally killed it at the Aerial Yoga workshop!
After the Aerial Yoga session, I try this weird Shakti Mat that hurts my back. It’s an acupressure mat with a bunch of thorns. At first, I don’t really like it, but after one or two minutes, though I don’t know how it happens, the pain transforms into a pleasant feeling. After lying down for 10 minutes, all stress in my shoulders seemingly disappears into thin air.
In my brand new relaxed mood, I find some people playing this weird instrument called the Ahau drum. I’m invited to join. My musical knowledge is even worse than my hula-hoop skills, but it doesn’t seem to matter here. It doesn’t matter that I play random notes, the mellow sound coming out of this sort of shell is still beautiful.
It’s not until 4 pm that I go back home with a big smile on my face. How can it be possible? Could it be that the worst Saturday ever so smoothly transitioned into one of the best Saturdays ever? […] Admittedly, I can’t hardly wait to find out next year - when Wanderlust 108 returns to Guadalajara.
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