The yoga and music festival Wanderlust returns to Squaw Valley from July 18 to 21 with participants spending their days experiencing yoga and meditation classes from every style of yoga imaginable.

This year’s yoga line-up includes Seane Corn, Shiva Rea, Rod Stryker, Dharma Mitta, Janet Stone, Tommy Rosen and dozens of other instructors who are well known throughout the yogi community. Wanderlust also hosts a series of lectures and presentations, known as Speakeasy’s, with top-notch speakers, such as local food guru Joel Salatin and Shanna Sherman. Or, you can spend a good portion of your Wanderlust day, wandering the copious food, drink and product venues located at the festival.


Mario Covic  |  Wanderlust CA

At night, Wanderlust changes vibes from mellow to party land as a steady stream of unique musicians hit a number of different stages, and folks start to dance. This year’s musical attractions include Moby (see feature in Entertainment), Gramatik, MC Yogi, Caravan Palace, Hannah Thiem and Quixotic – a group that combines music, dance, aerial performances, fashion and film. Or, you can take a break from the liveliness, and find your spiritual side by taking part in the Soulful Cinema, an on-site, full-length film program. Looking for some culinary satisfaction before hitting a dance venue? You can go to the Winederlust, to taste some fine wines, then follow that up with a Farm to Table dinner.


Local teacher Julie Otis  |  Brian Seppa  |  Brian Seppa Photography 

Julie Otis has been a popular North Lake Tahoe yoga instructor for the past nine years, most recently at High Altitude Fitness in Incline Village. She attended the Wanderlust Festival in Squaw Valley for the last three years, finding it to be an incredible experience that has given her the emotional and yoga “juice to get me through the next year,” she says.

After participating in Wanderlust, Otis decided that a dream for her would be to become one of the few Tahoe area instructors to have the privilege to teach at the festival. This year, her dream will come true, as she will be teaching four starkly different classes at Wanderlust Squaw Valley.

Otis says that she “is truly honored to teach at Wanderlust. I am really excited, as well, to give back to the local yoga community and to teach with some of the most well-known yoga teachers in the world.”

To Kings Beach Elementary school students, Otis is Mrs. Otis or Senora Otis, their third-grade teacher whose bright smile will light up a room, but she also is a Lululemon clothing ambassador, who has been known to teach a few classes at their Truckee showroom to a packed house. While you can join in one of Julie’s classes year-round at High Altitude Fitness, on a summer Friday morning, the place to be at 8 a.m. is Julie’s Yoga on the Beach class just above the shoreline in front of Adrift Tahoe in Kings Beach.


Kadri Kurgan  |  Wanderlust CA

Otis will be teaching four unique classes at Wanderlust: Back Bending for Beginners, Hard Core-Advanced Flow, Journey through the Seven Chakras, and perhaps the most unique – Black Light Yoga: Let your Inner Light Shine. High Altitude Fitness will provide the black lights, and Julie’s brother, Resonant Sun, will be the DJ pumping out the music. Participants are encouraged to wear their brightest, most fluorescent clothing for a vigorous practice under the lights. Tahoe residents, especially those who were Nordic ski racers in the 1980s, will surely have some eye-shattering Lycra tights stashed deep in the closet that would be perfect for this class.


Abbey Ley  |  Wanderlust

Festival goers can sign up for the entire four days of Wanderlust, or purchase a ticket for just one day. Ticketholders can attend up to three yoga classes per day, as well as whatever other events strike their fancy. While there are a ton of available classes, pre-registration is required and many classes do fill up.

There are nearly a dozen different yoga venues at the festival, with an incredible variety of options for yoga students. Otis suggests students try a variety of different classes, and recommends attempting something that you have never done before. An advantage of an event like Wanderlust is that it gives yoga students a chance to expose themselves to classes they might not ever take otherwise.

When a class you want is filled, Otis says that she feels that is often a blessing in disguise, as it makes you take classes that you otherwise might not, where you will discover a new world of yoga. In the past, there have been classes in hula hoop yoga, agro yoga in the High Camp pool, and Thai massage yoga for couples.

Wanderlust is an incredible “physical, emotional, and spiritual journey,” says Otis. Dive in.

Otis says that even if this is not the year for you to invest in a full pass, you should still go to Squaw Valley for the event.


Local teacher Julie Otis  |  Brian Seppa  |  Brian Seppa Photography 

“It’s fun just to be there,” she says. There are food exhibits, music and a lot of happy people wandering around and meeting lots of other happy people. In other words, it is some of the best people watching available on the planet.

For more information, a schedule of classes, activities, music and other details, visit squaw.wanderlustfestival.com. There were still spots available in Julie’s Back-Bending for Beginners class on July 18 and her Hard-Core: Advanced Flow class on July 19 as of press time.

By Tim Hauserman

Tim Hauserman wrote the guidebook to the Tahoe Rim Trail, the 3rd edition of which was published last fall. He’s been known to do some yoga.


Top Image:  Kadri Kurgan  |  Wanderlust CA  


Yoga tickets (includes music)
4-day pass | $500
3-day pass | $415
1-day pass | $135-$160

Music only tickets
Gramatik & Caravan Palace (Fri.) | $22.50
Moby & Quixotic (Sat.) | $25
Moby with Strings (Sun.) | $15

Wanderkind Kids Program
Offered daily | $60 per day

Farm to Table Dinner
July 19 & 20 | $90 each

Thurs.-Sat. | $25 each
3-day pass | $60

Tim Hauserman
Tim Hauserman wrote the official guidebook to the Tahoe Rim Trail, as well as “Monsters in the Woods: Backpacking with Children” and the children’s book “Gertrude’s Tahoe Adventures in Time.” Most of the year he writes on a variety of topics, but you will find him in the winter teaching cross-country skiing and running the Strider Gliders program at Tahoe Cross Country Ski Area. He has lived in Tahoe since he was a wee lad and loves to be outdoors road and mountain biking, hiking, paddleboarding, kayaking and cross-country skiing.