WANDERLUSTING IN TREMBLANT
By Marie-Piere Belisle-Kennedy, lifestyle journalist & owner of 5 Star Communications www.5starcom.ca Copyright 2015.
The yoga mats are rolled away, the friendly hugs, the smiling nods in Namaste… But what do we take really away? Still on a mountain air high from spending the last three days as a reporter at the world-acclaimed Wanderlust Festival in Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, I feel centered, happy, and even hopeful the feeling will last.
Wanderlust is a very strong and irresistible impulse or desire to discover the world. Fittingly, these sought-after festivals take place in all corners of North America, stopping at the foot of Tremblant mountain and lake August 20-23 this year with thousands of yoga lovers and peaceful warriors. Organized by Sean Hoess with spokesperson Geneviève Guérard, these events are in a league of their own.
Arriving on Thursday, we noticed the colourful pedestrian village was turned into a giant yogi commune with domes, sponsor and event tents, soothing music, and welcoming faces. I made my way over to the Wanderlust base camp to pick-up my official bracelet, the only passport you need to access the countless yoga classes, meditation sessions, conferences and concerts through the weekend. My first experience was a meditation session to feel less overwhelmed, then a life changing 90-minute yoga class with the inspiring Lyne St-Roch, whom I had heard so much about. Her class was about being truly rooted on your mat and throughout life. Not pushing so hard against the ground, but being gently but firmly planted through all poses. Her voice is like a soft breeze, I could listen for hours. Then despite the rain after a sumptuous dinner at Hotel Quintessence, we all fully enjoyed the outdoor concerts and acrobatic yoga on the outdoor stages into the moonlit hours.
Friday was an early rise for many, either greeting the sun on the mountain or on the water. Others, more adventurous festival-goers, even laced their trail running shoes for a long group meditative run across the hilly forest. But I slept in.
Blissfully, restoratively, guilt-free. Long stretches, rich coffee, smoothies from Fluide Juice bar followed by stand-up paddle boarding fueled the reflective morning. By noon a crowd gathered around Place St-Bernard for a truly unique Beyoncé (or shall I say Sasha Fierce) inspired yoga class with live Dj Taz called Soulscape with Janet Stone. What an empowering feminine energy concept! I had to giggle watching the giant Tremblant mascot, Toufou, twirling his furry hips along with us and some spectators trying to follow along the bouncing downward dogs and accelerated cat-cows. Click on link for funny short Video from class
Next stop was a soothing ten-minute group Om chant at le D’Om to reconnect, then straight to an energizing session on how to reduce mental and physical fatigue with Lyne St-Roch. How perfect for many of us dealing with hectic schedules and also for those who were on their fourth or fifth activity in a row! Friday evening was filled with more laughter, music, scenic beauty and mind opening discussions with old and new friends alike.
Saturday morning included SUP yoga, a challenging but Zen-inducing floating class growing in popularity everywhere across the country. Yes, a few fell in the lake, but that is the point. Releasing our desire to be perfect, to drop all expectations, and let go. As in life, you shake yourself off and get back on board! The day continued with hiking, mountaintop yoga and “mindful” shopping of course. Everyone is free to take part in as many or as few classes as they’d like from the hundreds of options, and as it was a warm sunny day it was normal for attendees to want to enjoy the outdoor activities. I wish I could have listened to the masters at Speakeasy, and basked in author/speaker/meditation teacher/yogi Nicole Bordeleau’s glow but many sessions were already full. The Bateau Uncorked was a hit with its wine tasting yoginis cruising across lake Tremblant Friday and Saturday evenings! The festival is still hopping as I write this on Sunday morning, so more fun to be had until late tonight. If you are blessed to be here, Namaste, and if not, perhaps we will cross path at a future event.
10 key lessons to take away:
- Come with an open mind, try new styles of yoga, let go of all inhibitions.
- The true spirit of Wanderlust is to carry the peace acquired into your day-to-day world, not just to experience it for yourself.
- The wilder your leggings, the better (I loved seeing the rainbow of prints across the mats from the usual sea of black in local studios!)
- It is totally OK to attend the festival alone and strike up a conversation with strangers in between classes. Some even shared accommodations and rides!
- It is physically impossible to attend everything on the schedule, but you are guaranteed to find something you love.
- Accept yourself, where you are now, your hopes and your dreams. Tune inward.
- Turn off your darn smartphones or at least the sound notifications, please. Nothing says: “I am present in the moment”’ like a ding from across the class. Pavlovian dogs we are, a quiet mindful practice yields more zen benefits.
- Yes, you can attend Wanderlust whatever your shape, age, gender or yoga experience. Yoga means union, and the best time to try is now. You are safe.
- It is easy to enjoy a getaway even with non-festival-goers. The resort offers something for everyone, including spouses, kids, and grandmas.
- Mont-Tremblant is a breathtaking region. Explore, enjoy, and vow to come back any season.