Spiritual journey | Wanderlust brings yoga to the Sierra

By Tim Hauserman  |  All photos provided by Wanderlust Squaw Valley  ·




Courtesy Wanderlust Squaw Valley  ·

The Wanderlust Festival returns to its birthplace at Squaw Valley from July 17 to 20. The annual event attracts thousands who come to enjoy some of the world’s greatest yoga teachers, an impressive lineup of musical acts, interesting and thought-provoking speakers, and to be a part of a large group of yogis, getting together to have some fun in the sun.

There are now seven Wanderlust Festivals held throughout the summer and fall in various locations across the United States and Canada, but Squaw Valley was the birthplace of Wanderlust. With its wide range of activities and incredible location, Wanderlust Squaw Valley attracts a diverse group of individuals all looking for a unique experience.

Truckee resident Coral Taylor, who has participated several times, says that there is something for everyone, including the folks “you might find at Burning Man, or people who want a spiritual retreat, or those who come for the physical activity, and have set aside time on their vacation to really focus on bettering their yoga practice.”

It’s also a great opportunity for a new yoga practitioner to get an intensive introduction to all that is out there in the yoga world.



Courtesy Ali Kaukas

Tahoe local Melissa Siig has been practicing yoga for 14 years and has been to the festival almost every year since it arrived in Squaw.

“I love that I get to try new teachers and new styles. It’s a really fun event to be walking around with a bunch of other yogis. It’s a great event for Tahoe,” she says.

While a highlight of the event is the wide assortment of world-renowned yoga instructors, Siig said she likes the smaller classes better, where she found some incredible teachers in more intimate settings.

Taylor, on the other hand, took a class last year with Seane Corn, one of the best-known yoga instructors in the United States. At first, she says that she was leery of the big show atmosphere of the class, but soon was pleasantly surprised to see that Corn lived up to the hype.

“You get it why she was so famous. She had amazing energy and charisma,” Taylor says.

In other words, with all the incredible opportunities, the best way to do Wanderlust might be to do a little bit of all of it. Or, as Taylor says, “be like a butterfly, flit from flower to flower.”



 Courtesy Megan Kathleen


Something for everyone

Take a wide range of yoga classes from a variety of styles. Listen to some awesome music that you’ve never heard before. Walk through the village to check out all the displays and activities available every day. Watch the flow performers doing slack lining, hula hooping and other circus-type activities. Or, come out to a presentation from a world-renowned speaker. More? There is art on display throughout the festival, a Kula Market, which sells all sorts of yoga-related products, or you can sign up for a spa treatment.

In addition to yoga classes and music, there also are lots of other activities to join in.



Courtesy Stephanie Horvilleur

You may sign up for the Spectacular Flash Mob goes Bollywood and be part of a Bollywood-style dance scene. Or, how about attending a workshop on the practical use of yoga sutras, or how to develop karmic relationships? Interested in improving your photography skills? Several workshops are on the docket.

Wanderlust also has set up a yoga program for the kids called Little Hippies. It allows youngsters to join their parents in classes like Fall Up, Advice from a Tree or Release the Lions.

Everybody must eat, and Wanderlust has put an important focus on that, as well. You can sign up for two Farm to Table dinners (one vegan), or graze your way through a long list of delicious and healthy food throughout the event.



Courtesy Michelle Grambeau 

And, then, of course, there are the afternoon pool parties at High Camp, which seem to have become a signature event. There is nothing quite like 500 yogis, a few mermaids and assorted other interesting characters listening to music and dancing and doing yoga in the pool on a warm Sierra day.

There are some who come to Wanderlust not only for the Festival, but also as a centerpiece for a few days enjoying Tahoe and the Sierra. Round out your yoga with one of the hikes available each day, as well as mountain biking, trail running and massage. You can take a standup paddleboard yoga class on Tahoe, or go river rafting on the Truckee.



Courtesy Ali Kaukas

One group of folks that especially enjoy the event is yoga instructors. Having recently completed her yoga training, Taylor is excited this year for the opportunity to experience a wide range of classes and teaching styles, that she can then incorporate (or not incorporate) into her own teaching.

“We have a lot of great teachers here at Tahoe, but my exposure to other styles of yoga was limited or I hadn’t even heard of them,” she says.

Where else can you take a class from several different instructors whose classes you’ve read about in Yoga Journal magazine?

If you are undecided whether the Wanderlust Festival is your gig, you can sign up for one day, or come by the Village for the displays and booths to get a feeling for the crowd and what is involved.

“Everyone is just there to have fun and be in a good mood,” says Taylor.

For more information on the festival or to purchase tickets, visit squaw.wanderlustfestival.com.

Tim Hauserman wrote the guidebook to the Tahoe Rim Trail.



Courtesy Ali Kaukas


One-day Pilgrim ticket
$110-$160 | May purchase multiple days

Three-day Seeker pass
$435 | Friday-Sunday

Four-day Sage pass
$525 | Thursday- Sunday

Music-only tickets
Daily | Free music in the Village at Squaw
July 18 | RJD2, Nahko & Medicine for the People | $20-$25
July 19 | Big Gigantic & MC Yogi | $25-$30
July 20 | Polyphonic Spree | $15-$20

Special events
July 17 | Farm to Table Vegan Dinner | $98
July 18 | Farm to Table Dinner | $108
July 19 | Farm to Table Dinner | $108
July 19 | Winederlust wine tasting | $25


Entertainment lineup

For details on the music at Wanderlust, see the Spotlight in the Entertainment section in this issue.

Previous articleMastering the cast with SheJumps
Next articleJuly 17-23 issue on stands now
Tim 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.