Wanderlust – Not Your Average Festival

By Courtney DiFiore

Wanderlust

[n] a strong or irresistible desire to
Travel • Practice Yoga • Listen to Music
Eat Well • Be Green • Appreciate Art
and create a community around mindful living


Expect the unexpected at Wanderlust. You’ll be surrounded by like minded people all looking to accomplish the same thing, yet differently. It’s poetic actually. You’ll learn, practice, reflect and feel the uncontrollable positive energy that accompanies every Wanderlust. This 4 day festival exceeds expectations and is best described through beautiful visuals.

I can show you a strong warrior pose. I can tell you where the best view is for a sunrise power vinyasa. I can share my pertinacious desire to explore every corner of the globe. But I can’t show you Wanderlust. It’s something to be experienced.

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I can’t describe the calm that settles at ones feet during a dancer pose. How the earth breaths fresh life into your soul with every Pranayama. Everyone’s Wanderlust will be uniquely their own.

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All walks of life will find their way to Wanderlust Stratton. You’ll meet new people and you’ll learn from them too. Share your wisdom, encouragement, your talents and watch the universe expand with love.

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New experiences will present themselves and those wise enough to accept them walk away enlightened. The beauty behind Wanderlust is its depth. You won’t just get a few fun yoga classes and jam out to live shows. You’ll discover new ways to see, be present and move.

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You’ll be challenged and when you are, I hope you grow. You’ll explore and when you’re through, I hope you still desire more. You’ll try something new and when you do, remember success is never giving up.

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Like I said, not your average summer festival.

Summer ’15 Event Line-Up

By Courtney DiFiore

Officially, summer starts June 21st, but at Stratton we’re starting early! Our 27-hole Championship Golf Course is open, tennis is in full swing, and hikers & bikers have been flocking to the mountain. In addition to the many summer activities we offer, this year’s event lineup should get you excited.
Stratton TennisKicking things off is a Memorial Day Doubles Tennis Tournament May 23-25 followed by the Golf Course Expo May 24.
Stratton's 27-hole Championship Golf CourseSoon after is Wanderlust! Returning to Stratton June 18-21, Wanderlust is a place for yogis alike. This festival of music and yoga is infused with amazing workshops, wonderful speakers and great food.
Wanderlust at Stratton
Then July 4th rolls around beginning our annual Free Summer Concert Series. If you enjoy jam bands and tribute bands, you’ll love the line-up.
Fourth of JulyCome July, we’ll welcome cyclists from all over for the Tour de Grace on the 11th and Tour de Bondville on the 18th. The last cycling event bringing enthusiasts for the area is on August 12 – The Vermont Challenge.
Vermont CyclingFinally, we end the summer with Labor Day celebration and huge Tent Sale.
Stratton Village

Wanderlust Stratton 2015: Brand New Not-to-Miss Activities

Wanderlust Festival is less than a month away! (June 18-21, 2015) Can you believe it? Soon we will channel our inner yogi, jam to live bands, taste local Vermont fare and enjoy all that the Vermont summer has to offer. This year, the Wanderlust crew has added some new activities that you can only find at this amazing festival.

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Wanderlust Stratton 2012

Practice.

  • Meditation. More meditation classes have been added to the diverse schedule. Get your om on! Beginners are welcome.
  • Practice in a brand new environment. A black light venue will be added this year, so get your white clothes ready and stretch it out in this unique space!
  • Soulscape Classes. Classes devoted entirely to the music of The Police and The Grateful Dead are on this year’s roster, designed to unwind the tension of everyday life.
  • Gentle Aerial Yoga and Stargazing: As the sun is setting, a class  lead by Carmen Curtis will practice slow and fluid movements with a hammock while watching the stars.
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Wanderlust Stratton 2014

 Listen.

  • Music. Among an abundance of talented musicians set to rock the stage, this year there will be a Musical Hike with Trevor Hall. Explore Stratton’s beautiful green trails to the sounds of Trevor’s acoustic rock and reggae tunes. Another hike accompanied by the tunes of Jacob Cohen and his cello will also be available this year.

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    Wanderlust Stratton 2011

Explore. 

  • The stars. Wanderlust falls on the eve of summer solstice this year. In a class called “Slooh’s Summer Solstice Celebration in Space,” Wanderlusters will get close-up views of the stars through a large telescope and a hands-on tour of the cosmos. If you have ever seen a clear night sky in Vermont, you know this is one you won’t want to miss.

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    Wanderlust Stratton 2011

Learn. 

  • Learn something new with the Tribal Body Marking and Movement – a partner class with exercised that incorporate acro yoga, Capoeira and balancing movements. Then embrace your artistic side by using special pens and markers to create your own unique designs on the body.
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    Wanderlust Stratton – Summit yoga

Taste.

  • TY KU Sake Tastings: On Thursday and Friday late afternoons, sample four types of award winning sake and learn how to craft your own yummy cocktails.

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And MUCH more: check it out! 

Preparing For 2014-15 Winter Season

By Courtney DiFiore

Imagine beginning your day with a beautiful sunrise over lush green mountains. As you gaze down into the valley, you bite into a locally grown apple. While stretching, you awe at the symphony of fall colors and plan out the rest of your day. Shall you take a swim in the local watering hole, play a few rounds on the links, rally some tennis balls or take a day trip to a nearby brewery? This is autumn in Vermont.

Between all the hikes, bonfires, swimming, biking and so on, there’s still one thing even the longest summer can’t make me forget… winter. Labor Day is celebrated nationwide and is the unofficial mark (for most) that summer is over. This holiday weekend has become a bittersweet time for those in love with the endless days of sunshine and tan lines. I, on the other hand, see Labor Day Weekend as a milestone counting down the days to the first snowfall.

This means there are fewer than 80 days to get ready for the season. While many are thinking about what new gear to buy or where to bring their old digs for a sharpen and wax, I’m concerned about my physical shape. I want to get the most out of my money. When I buy a lift ticket, I plan on lapping the lift until last call. If I’m not prepared, I’ll be the person huddled next to a heater in a base lodge. I don’t want to be huddled there tired, sore and hungry. No one wants to be that guy!

It’s important not to discount the physical beating your body takes when skiing and riding; it’s something to prepare for. Ready or not, Stratton’s chairlifts will start spinning. In an effort to jump start my winter training I’ve made a ‘to-do list’ that to keep me on track.

  1. Complete the 7 Summits Challenge – I’m looking to build my endurance and leg strength so I can go from first chair to Après with ease.
  2. Strengthen my core in the gym – Here’s a circuit I like to do from Men’s Health Magazine:
    seated ab crunchSeated ab crunch
    Sit on a flat bench, gripping the edges. Lean back, extending your legs. Then bend your knees and raise your legs to your chest. Lean your upper body forwards, bringing your chest towards your thighs. Aim for 12 reps.

    mb leg dropMedicine ball leg-drops
    Lie face-up and squeeze a light med ball between your ankles. Start with your legs straight up then lower them without touching the floor. Return to the start position as fast as possible. That’s 1 rep. Do 10-12.

    weighted one side crunchWeighted one-sided crunch
    Lie back, knees bent and feet flat. Hold a dumbbell with both hands by your right shoulder. Curl your torso up and rotate to the left, then lower back down. Perform 8-10 reps on one side, switch and repeat with the dumbbell by your left shoulder.

    cable crunchKneeling cable crunch
    Kneel facing the pulley of a cable machine with a rope attached high. Hold the ends of the rope near sides of face. Crunch three times in total: first aim your chest at your pelvis, then aim at your left knee, then at your right. That’s 1 rep.

    Perform 10

    burpee1 Burpee
    Get into a regular squat-thrust position: arms shoulder-width apart, hands on the floor with your legs tucked up to your chest. This is both your start and finish stance.

    burpee2Kick your legs back to a press-up position and lower yourself for a push-up before jumping back into start position.

    From here, thrust your body upwards, using your legs and core muscles to launch yourself burpee3from the ground.

    Do 3 sets of 20 reps.

  3. Attend two yoga classes a week – I plan on increasing my flexibility as it’s very important.

What are you doing to get ready for the season?

Wanderlust re-dux

By Guinevere Hilton

I walked into my first workshop at Wanderlust at Stratton Mountain with an abundance of body image issues, and a well developed arsenal of was to deal with them. I was ready. I knew that I could find lots of reasons to hate on myself, to compare and despair, to judge, belittle and then hop on the self-improvement train (which for me usually means immediately becoming vegan and ending the day curled up in a ball with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s in one hand and a pork chop in another). Not this time. No way. I am 40 now! I’ve got this covered. I have spent the last year making it my mission to accept my body and create a place for others’ to love, celebrate and accept theirs. I figured that the chances of this issue rearing up and dominating my experience were slim to none. I was actually excited to show off how far I’d come.

I may have jumped the gun a wee bit. I walked in to the tent and all around me I saw what I wasn’t: thin, beautiful, born with innate fashion sense and a stylist. I was immediately thrown back to being 20 again: living in New York City, trying to be an actress when the flavor of the times was cookie cutter skinny. I wanted to hide. I actually started to cry on my mat. I was sitting there, about to take a workshop with two of my most favorite teachers, Elena Brower and David Harshada Wagner, and I felt so gross, less-than and ashamed that I was considering walking out. I went to the corner and filmed a little video expressing my dismay and concern. My idea was to turn this experience into content for My Real Yoga Body. Then I watched the video, was horrified by how old I looked and promptly deleted it and went back to my mat to continue weeping.

Class began. David started to lead us through a meditation. He opened with the reminder to move away from “self-improvement” and towards being our best selves. Thank you. I softened a little … which just made me cry more. He kept reminding us that “You deserve the best of life, and life deserves the best of you”.   Elena led us through a powerful asana practice; they tag-teamed taught our group in the most loving, authentic and no-nonsense way. I began to move away, at least a little, from my analyzing, self-improvement mind, and towards a part of me that at least was open to the idea that maybe it doesn’t matter so much that I am not a Lululemon model. Yet. Just kidding. Maybe.

There is a reason I started the My Real Yoga Body project, and it is not because I embrace and exemplify body-positivity. It is because my relationship to my body is my embarrassing Achilles heel. I hate that my body, my desire to be what I am not, is one of my biggest challenges. It is an old and familiar nemesis. And I am ready to, as they say in Buddhism, invite it to tea. And then, as I say in Guinevere-ism, smash it over the head with a scone.

At the end of the workshop, David gave us some tips on enjoying Wanderlust and getting the most out of it. The one that stuck with me was about conserving your energetic budget and being careful what you laid your eyes upon. He noted that there was so much exciting activity, interesting people, and neat stuff to buy that the experience could be exhausting and depleting. This helped me SO much through my time at Wanderlust. I reminded myself again and again to choose wisely. To spend a little time window-shopping, and more time looking at trees, mountains and sky. To spend less time sizing people up and wondering where they got those pants and more time making eye contact, laughing, and listening.

I had an amazing time. In the end, body stories did not dominate my experience. They were tempered and calmed by the yoga, the teachers, and the warm, friendly people I met. They became smaller and joy became larger. And again, I am left grateful for the mystery school that is yoga.

 

About the Author:

g hiltonGuinevere Hilton lives on a big lake in New Hampshire with her two beautiful boys. She is the founder of My Real Yoga Body (myrealyogabody.com, https://www.facebook.com/myrealyogabody, and on Twitter and FB #myrealyogabody.), a home for embracing all the various shapes and flavors that make up real yoga bodies. She is eternally grateful to her yoga practice, love that keeps buoying her up and the constantly surprising nature of life. Xoxo!!

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The Goddess Within

By Anne Reynolds

Anne yoga 1.0 If you had told me fifteen months ago that I would discover my inner goddess through the practice of yoga I probably would’ve spit out whatever I was drinking and told you to lay off the home brewed Kombucha.

I didn’t particularly care for yoga or those that practiced it. In my opinion the typical yogi or yogini could best be exemplified by my old college roommate Chloe and step grandmother, Virginia. Chloe was beautiful, married rich and looked amazing in her Lululemon pants. Yet the only yoga pose she ever practiced was a forward fold when she was trying on shoes at Nordstrom’s. My step-grammy, on the other hand, was stuck in the counterrevolution of the sixties. She preached free love, women’s liberation and spent way too much time in her transparent white leggings. Her favorite pose was snow plow but only if she had a predominately male audience.

Anne yoga 2.0Admittedly, my knowledge of yoga was limited but that didn’t stop me from dismissing all yoga practitioners as phony and pretentious. These two women were definitely polar opposites but they were both classic examples of posers, yoga posers.

I had no desire to try yoga but it found me anyway. It didn’t knock politely on the front door of my intolerance. Instead it snuck through the back door of my people-pleasing issues and inability to say no. Stratton had just opened a brand new yoga studio and yoga was quickly becoming one of the most popular non-snow activities at the resort. The consultant for the new studio was also a yoga teacher and we would meet occasionally to discuss employee involvement with our health & wellness initiative. One afternoon she mentioned that she was having trouble finding someone to help with class check-in. Before I could stop myself I said “I’ll do it!” in my best please be my friend, people-pleasing voice. Not one to pass up on free labor she gave me my schedule.

I woke up with a migraine on the day of my first shift. I debated long and hard about calling in sick but people- pleasers don’t call in on their first day.  With a long sigh I ripped off the tags of my new yoga pants and went to the studio. I was allowed to join the class after everyone was checked in so against my better judgment and rapidly increasing head pain I unrolled a mat, stood there in my socks and figured how hard could yoga be anyway?

Yoga, as it turned out is hard, very hard. I quickly discovered that I was about as flexible as the LTR (learn to ride) snowboard that I could never seem to learn to ride on. I could barely touch my knees let alone my toes and jumping back to plank position or anything closely related was not happening. By the end of class I was sweating profusely, completely out of breath and sure I had torn every tendon in my body.

Ironically it was the last pose (Savassana a.k.a Corpse pose) that I found the most intimidating. I understood that all I had to do was lie there and play dead for five minutes but the thought of being still longer than 30 seconds with just my own thoughts seemed torturous.   While I was lowering myself down on my mat I made a decision that if I couldn’t stand it I would get up, quietly excuse myself and go to the restroom where I would spend the rest of the class checking email on my iPhone.

Something happened during that last pose that prevented me from following through on my planned escape. I don’t know exactly how to describe it but once I settled my body on the mat and started to breathe deeply I felt something inside of me begin to soften and open up. When we finally sat up I felt physically lighter and an overwhelming sense of peace. On the way to my car I noticed that my head didn’t hurt anymore. My migraine was completely gone! That was good enough for me and from that moment on I was hooked.

I now practice yoga daily. I don’t go to class to parade around in the latest yoga fashions or scope out the scene. I also have no plans on giving up all earthly pleasures to move to an Ashram in India. I don’t practice for the physical workout either but I am in the best shape of my life. I am amazed at what my body can do and how strong I am. I can not only touch my toes but I can do handstands and almost a full split.

I practice yoga for one reason only: to feel connected. It’s as simple and complicated as that. When I am able to connect my mind and body with the universe I am able to experience authentic happiness. Does this mean I’ve become a spiritually enlightened goddess? Hardly. Fifteen minutes ago I just used an inordinate amount of force and half a can of Raid to kill a spider. I wish I was in a constant state of Zen but alas, I am still a mere mortal on most days. I continue to struggle with letting go, people pleasing and saying things that I later regret. It’s not uncommon in yoga class for an instructor to remind us to “meet yourself on your mat”. This truism has taught me that the most important relationship you should have is the one with yourself. This means I have to accept me exactly as I am right now. Practicing yoga has given me the ability to understand that my weaknesses are equally as important as my strengths. After all, if I wasn’t a consummate people-pleaser I might not have discovered yoga when I did. When I can accept myself completely I am better able to accept others including the ones I love.

Yes, as it turns out yoga has shown me the path to my inner goddess. This is our true self and everyone has an inner god or goddess. Some days are harder than others to connect with her but when I do I know without a doubt that she is all that is good. She is pure love, beauty and light. She is me.

Insider’s Guide: A Co-Founder’s Tips for Wanderlust Stratton

By Jeff Krasno, Co-Founder of Wanderlust Festival

Our Insider’s Guide series offers new ‘lusters a peek into our festivals and introduces veterans to fresh adventures. In this installment, festival co-founder Jeff Krasno provides his tips & musings for a memorable Wanderlust Stratton. Be sure to check out our first post in this series: 25 Experiences You Don’t Want to Miss (Wanderlust Festival Summer 2014)

• • •

One of the aspects I love about Wanderlust is how each festival takes on the essence of its natural and cultural surroundings. This is particularly true at Stratton Mountain.

The beauty of the Vermont landscape is hushed. The mountains roll, the grass is lush, the sky often heavy. The colors blur like a watercolor and the energy is peaceful, old. If our Tahoe festival is Wagnerian with its high, jagged mountains thrusting into the thin air, then Vermont is more Debussy, impressionistic and dreamy.

Sunset at Stratton Mountain, Vermont

photo by Ashley Daige

Driving around Vermont, it is hard to find a town without a green market. Vermont didn’t so much rediscover the local food movement as it has served as an example for local-based economy. From maple syrup to cheeses to micro-brews, Vermont is the national capital of the cottage and craft industry. Even scaling brands like Cabot continue to work closely with local farmers.

On your way to the festival I highly suggest stopping at the Grafton Cheese Factory, on Route 30, on your drive just out of Brattleboro. See the inner workings of the factory and stock up on some cheese for the trip. A little further down the road, just before you get to Newfane, you can pull off at Dutton’s Farm Stand. Strawberries are perfectly in season during festival time. You can pick your own for CHEAP!

Even as Wanderlust Stratton continues to grow (and this year is going to be the biggest yet), the festival has retained a tight-knit, community feel. Snug in the shadow of the mountain and surrounded by dense summer forest, Stratton gives us a unique opportunity to create an intentional community. As you make the final turns up the access road – local victuals in tow – you’ll see what I mean. Stratton really becomes a little Wanderlust village, with yogis blissfully relaxing on the central lawn and strolling down the cobblestone walkways.

Read the rest of Krasno’s Insider’s Guide at Wanderlust.com

Meet the Women of Stratton – Kristin Powers

By Courtney DiFiore

Blog PictureKristin Powers is yet another amazing woman of Stratton. She was only two years old when she put on her first pair of skis. “My grandparents bought a farm just outside of Killington in the 70’s, so ever since I was born, my family would drive up from New York just about every weekend,” shares Powers. As soon as she was old enough to stand, Powers’ grandparents strapped her into those little red plastic skis and brought her down small hills around the farm. It wasn’t until the age of three that Powers began to hit the real slopes. Her and her grandparents would go to Pico Mountain just about every weekend. “It was a chance to get away and do what we love together as a family,” said Powers.

As Powers grew older, she held onto those wonderful memories of the farm and goes back to meet up with her family as often as she can. Still on skis, Powers likes to explore the whole mountain. “I’d say I’m an all mountain rider. I absolutely love going out early and skiing on the freshly groomed trails,” remarked Powers. She enjoys throwing on her favorite music and cruising around on any trails she can find. Last season was Powers first full season skiing at Stratton and she fell in love with the mountain, the community and the people in it. She began as a Coordinator in Human Resources but after a summer of travel and working in Nantucket, Powers is back in a new position as a Training Specialist. Aside from personally interact with fellow employees, one of Powers favorite parts of the job is “having the opportunity to walk a few steps out of my office and be right at the base of the mountain.”

Powers is so into winter sports that she tried her luck with snowboarding last season and fell in love with that too. “It definitely helped that I have some great friends, who happen to be instructors, to get me into it (snowbaording),” Powers told me. “Now, I want to say I’m a hybrid, but I’ll never be able to give up skiing.” Powers is one of those people that love adventure and is willing to try something new, which is why it was no surprise to me that she tried snowboarding too. Powers is now dabbling in the parks, “hitting the baby box last season is probably my highlight.”

Her need for adventure goes far beyond the mountain. “I’m working towards my goal of traveling to every country in Central America,” shares Powers. She’s also looking to get her yoga certification in the near future. Her spare time is usually comprised of yoga, so that makes sense. Powers also enjoys her time spent with friends, hiking, wandering around art galleries, swaying to the rhythms of live music and basically anything that takes place outdoors. I’m glad to see that her wanderlust led her to Stratton, Vermont. Where will it lead her next?

Golf, Yoga or both?

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By Myra Foster

Nancy McMahon stopped me this morning to say she had just played her best round of golf. Ever. “I should take yoga before every game.”

We had been in a yoga flow class together at The Living Room on Tuesday. She packed up her mat and was off to meet friends for a little lunch at Tenderloins and their 1:47 tee time.

I don’t know what the scorecard read but her smile told the story.   “I was so relaxed.”  Shoulders, back, hamstrings stretched.  “There was more power in my swing.”

Golf and Yoga. Now there’s a program at Stratton Golf School with a workshop for women August 9-11 and one for all on August 23-24. Now you can take advantage of Stratton’s proven instructional programs – with a twist.

Renowned since 1969 for individualized golf programs and a teaching facility designed specifically for instruction, Stratton Golf School now adds V1 video analysis to the powerful teaching tools. You’ll go home with a swing analysis reminder along with your pro’s comments and even a comparison to tour players.

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Along with the technical aspects of the game, Golf and Yoga builds flexibility, focus, core strength.  Be Centered. Balanced.  And remember to Breathe.

I’ve been reminded to slow down my backswing. To relax. “You’ve got a powerful swing, we just need to harness that power,” I’ve been told. So I’m thinking this Golf and Yoga might just be my gateway to a better game.  Then maybe Nancy might just let me join her for a round.

Learn More about the Golf & Yoga at Stratton.com

Wanderlust Recap!

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By Courtney DiFiore

The much anticipated Wanderlust weekend has finally come and gone. More than four thousand people filled the resort for this multi-day yoga and music event. With so many eager to master the art of yoga, or if you’re like me (a newbie) explore the world of yoga, Wanderlust was able to cater to all. Classes ranged from yoga, hikes/run and meditation to hoop/slackline, lectures and dance. There was even yoga on horses! Yes. You read right. Yoga. On. Horses. That and yoga on paddleboards may have been some of the most popular classes in fact.

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Let’s not forget the music however!  Integrated everywhere, music plays a huge roll within Wanderlust. DJ Drez threw down beats on some yoga classes during the day, and by night, he was rocking ‘The Greatest Place’ tent. Additional performances included, Quixotic, Caravan Palace, Sarah NeuFeld, Femi Kuti & The Positive Force, and a long list of others.

Aside from the many classes around the mountain, the Village was also the place to be. There were so many great vendors with awesome products. There were body scrubs and oils (all organic of course), Henna, yoga swag (known by many as clothing), dairy/soy/lactose free samples (which I particularly enjoyed, being sensitive to all three) and so much more! To sit here and list them all could very well take the day because there’s so much to say about each (all good too!), but I’ll leave you with that and add one more thing. To everyone who was a part of this year’s Wanderlust at Stratton, THANK YOU! I hope everyone found their true north.

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