Held at the magical Turtle Bay Resort on the North Shore, Wanderlust Oahu 2014 has brought together some of the most influential teachers, change makers and trendsetters to inspire consciousness and community through yoga.
After two days with our feet in the sand – and on our mats – here’s a mini recap of what’s going on at the festival.
What We Did
Earth. Body. Yoga – Yoga Class with Eoin Finn
We started our day with an innovative yoga class that was a blend of creative Asana flow and a focus on our interconnectedness to mother nature. Teacher Eoin Flynn’s dynamic surf-inspired asanas kept the class of over a hundred yogis fresh, fun, and challenging. Finn was both funny and genuinely inspiring as he practiced right alongside us to a live soundtrack spun by DJ Drez, who mixed nature-inspired sounds with modern tracks by artists including Jade and U2. The class culminated in an intimate and heart-centered meditation overlooking the stunning North Shore waves.
During the practice, Eoin reminded us that yoga is the art of getting out of our own way so that we can “access the wise guide inside”.
He left us with inspirational lyrics from a song he wrote:
“Our head is the rudder that keeps us on course; our heart is the sail that connects us to Source; our fuel is the mountains, the oceans, and the forest; all of us united, a positive force.”
The song harkened back to the title of the class: Earth. Body. Yoga. Incredible.
Design your Dharma – Speakeasy Talk with Erica Jago
Erica Jago had lost her job, separated from her husband, and had a book idea she wasn’t sure she dared to write: about using a yoga practice to connect with and create your own destiny. Though things hadn’t exactly been going her way, Jago wasn’t willing to accept that as her destiny.
She reached out to Elena Brower, the founder and co-owner of VIRAyoga, and shared her book idea. That bold move blossomed into a fortuitous partnership as Jago and Brower teamed up to write The Art of Attention – a book that’s become popular in the yoga community (and that coined the yogaglyph – stick figure asana drawings designed by Jago).
Jago and Brower base their philosophy partly on the Handel Method: they ask us to look at where we may be placing blame or experiencing fear and methodically work to change that. Through journaling and retrospection, the Art of Attention helps us dissect our thoughts, realize our patterns, and then put energy toward consciously changing the patterns that may be holding us back from achieving our goals.
Jago says, “Don’t be afraid; just go for it! Where are you holding onto a shield to protect yourself?”
Jago’s dreams became a reality and she believes that, through honest attention, so can all of ours.
Party – Welcomelust Bonfire on the Beach
Night one culminated with hundreds of yogis gathered in a circle around a bonfire on the beach of Turtle Bay. As the sky darkened and the waves crashed upon the sand, the Welcomelust bonfire encapsulated what we’d been feeling at Wanderlust so far: a warm, welcoming, spiritual, energetic, and fun vibe!
To kick off the night, we held hands and learned what “Aloha” really means. So much more than a greeting, “Aloha” is a word that signifies a deep connection with another person. We stood nose-to-nose as giggles erupted from hundreds of our fellow Wanderlusters, and we said the word to one-another until we felt the true meaning of Aloha. A strong sense of oneness pulsed through all of us as the bonfire got underway.
After rousing traditional dances – including male and female empowerment dances that had us all clapping, laughing, and dancing – the night turned toward an open-mic Hawaiian jam sesh that welcomed singers and musicians to share their creativity.
The bonfire stretched well into the night and was full of energy and enthusiasm, enjoyment and community – a perfect expression of what it feels like to be a part of Wanderlust Oahu.
Message in a Bottle – Speakeasy Talk with Kahi Pacarro, Executive Director of Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii, and Adam Lowry, Co-founder of Method Products
Kahi Pacarro and Adam Lowry shared their experience of creating a public-private partnership to address the problem of plastics in our oceans. They spoke to how individual actions can truly amplify into global movements and how, through enlightened purpose in business and community, we can begin to address issues of corporate influence on government, environmental sustainability, and social justice.
Ohau is the perfect place to drive home the point of how important it is to take the individual actions that can make a difference: due to ocean currents and Hawaii’s coordinates, the world’s trash accumulates offshore and washes onto the beaches in large quantities. Once Wanderlusters have experienced the magnificence of the Oahu coastline, imagining it plagued by trash is heartbreaking. But, Pacarro and Lowry believe that over-use and misuse of plastics is a problem we can fix with raised-consciousness, positive action, and thoughtful consumerism.
To put their principles into practice, Pacarro and Lowry are hosting a beach-cleanup for Wanderlusters this Saturday.
Sacred SALT Flow – Yoga Class with Nadia Bonenfant
Nadia Bonefant’s Sacred SALT Flow yoga class encouraged us to immerse in the beautiful energy of the Hawaiian land and ocean that surround us everywhere we look at Turtle Bay.
During the opening circle, the empathetic Bonafant read the room and felt that what her yogis needed for this particular late-afternoon class was a kind flow – one that allowed us to journey inward without getting caught up in the result. So she brought her characteristic calm, heartfelt, open energy to the space and taught from her heart.
She led us as we vocalized our way out of our comfort zone and into a deeper connection with ourselves. And she ended the class with exercises that encouraged acknowledgement, connection, and even the possibility of friendship as we looked one-another in the eye – once again connecting to the spirit of Aloha.
DJ HyFi provided the perfect live soundtrack for a journey inward and toward greater connection to the elements – especially the incredible energy of the Kai (the ocean) that surrounds us and is so vital to the North Shore of Oahu.
Eddie Would Go: How Eddie Aikau Became a Hawaiian Hero – Speakeasy Talk with Stuart Coleman, author of the book, Eddie Would Go
Eddie Would Go isn’t just the title of the famed book written by Stuart Coleman about surf-legend Eddie Aikau. It is a powerful mantra for the people of Hawaii.
Coleman spoke at Turtle Bay’s Surfer Bar about Aikau’s iconic role in Oahu’s culture – as a surfer and beyond. Aikau fully embodied the principle of Aloha: living life with enthusiasm and connection to nature, always having a warm and ready smile, and often risking his own life to save the lives of the surfers, swimmers, and bystanders caught in Oahu’s sometimes unpredictably intense waters.
Aikau was famous not only for riding the biggest waves that rolled into Oahu, but for his time as a lifeguard at Waimea Bay, during which not a single soul was lost on his watch. Ultimately, Aikau lost his own life in an attempt to save the lives of fellow boat-mates on the famed Hokule’a canoe voyage.
Aikau’s legend lives on in the mantra “Eddie would go,” which sums up his courage and generosity. And author Coleman, who also runs all five Hawaii chapters of Surfrider Foundation, is a captivating speaker as he recounts the life and legend of Aikau. The book creates a time capsule of Aikau’s message in a thorough, respectful, and heartfelt way that allows that message to live on.
Moby DJ Set
As the sun went down on Oahu Friday night and the sky went black, hundreds of Wanderlusters gathered on the grass in front of a large music stage for what can only be described as an exhilarating beachside-rave.
Moby spun an incredible set that boomed through Turtle Bay. As the colorful flashing lights lit up our faces, you could see we were all smiling as we danced with our fellow yogis and new friends.
Feeling a little bit calorie depleted from morning yoga, we poured out onto the west lawn where organic food huts and local merchants were set up right alongside aerial yoga and impromptu headstands for some rejuvenation by way of Hawaiian cuisine. We stopped by Kenui Kitchen, a local catering company, for a light and fresh frittata made with kale and local eggs.
Bright purple smoothies caught our eye at a little stand set up in the hotel lobby. This new superfood smoothie is derived from the Pitaya fruit (aka the Dragon Fruit), which is found in Central America. Raw, with no sugar added and very high in anti-oxidants, Fiber and Vitamin C, Pitaya is blended into a deliciously sweet and tart puree that is such a saturated and vibrant purple it defies description. The Pitaya bowl we ordered was served up with a spoon and topped with bananas, strawberries, and crunchy granola. Pitaya gave us just the kick we needed before our next class.
Local favorite, the Kahuku Superette has the most incredible selection of Poke on the island – from ahi to salmon to octopus. Just five minutes east of Turtle Bay, this local “country” mart serves up the traditional Hawaiian Pupu (appetizer) in a variety of preparations. We got the Ahi Poke, with yellow fin tuna, soy sauce and seaweed. DeLICIOUS.
What We Wore
There are so many trends to lust over at the Wanderlust festival, but the one that seemed like it’d taken over was Teeki.Teeki is an activewear line made out of recycled plastic bottles. As we cruised around the property on night one, we felt as if we may have missed the memo on the uniform for the festival. Everywhere we looked, yoginis – and even a few yogis – were dashing around in the form-fitting, brightly colored leggings. We had to find out more about these “hot pants!” And once we learned that Teeki is an eco-conscious line, we were sold. In less than 15 minutes, we were headed back to our room from their trunk show with three pairs each and spent the rest of the festival on-trend.
Violet Love by Rebecca Michaels
Headbands were not scarce either as everyone’s luscious natural locks were tamed by stylish embellishments to accent their yoga outfits. We recognized that a local LA-based brand, Violet Love by Rebecca Michaels, also made its way to the island (which made us feel like a little piece of home came with us).
The overall fashion for Wanderlust is bright, thoughtful, yoga-friendly and eco-friendly with a touch of chic… and we love it!
Pura Vida Bracelets
No yoga look was complete without a couple of Pura Vida Bracelets wrapped around yogis’ eagle-wrapped wrists. The bracelets-for-a-cause were a big hit among attendees who were inspired to create change while making their own unique fashion statements with bracelets in every color and style.
We were blessed to meet the founder’s sister who shared the story of how her brother, Paul Goodman’s five week college graduation trip to Costa Rica with his friend, Griffin Thall, turned into an incredible story of success.
All in all, its had been a powerful and transformative two days with lots more yoga and celebration to come. Stay tuned!
By: Alana Littler, Heather Cereghino and Amanda Michaels-Zech
Photos By: Amanda Michaels-Zech
Olivia Kvitne is a Los Angeles yoga instructor specializing in yoga therapy for veterans struggling with PTSD. One of the influences in her life was her grandfather, a WWII vet, and later a psychiatrist who embraced using the mind to heal the body: TheYogaAbbey.com @OliviaKvitne