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Windward // Windward Oahu Coverstory
Rasa Fournier

Kahuku Claiming Yoga Crown Again

Kahuku's Turtle Bay Resort will come alive at this year's Wanderlust Yoga Festival with dozens of healthy, fun activities, workshops and adventures, all planned for Feb. 27-March 2. A mass exercise at the resort for last year's Wanderlust Hawaii fans - all with their backs to the morning sun (above) - was a hit. Some sessions and packages still may be available for next week's celebration of health and fitness. Photo by Ali Kaukas.

Kahuku’s Turtle Bay Resort will come alive at this year’s Wanderlust Yoga Festival with dozens of healthy, fun activities, workshops and adventures, all planned for Feb. 27-March 2. A mass exercise at the resort for last year’s Wanderlust Hawaii fans – all with their backs to the morning sun (above) – was a hit. Some sessions and packages still may be available for next week’s celebration of health and fitness. Photo by Ali Kaukas.

Yoga is no longer about bending into impossible positions or sweating out toxins in heated rooms.

Wanderlust kicks off its second annual yoga festival at Turtle Bay Resort Feb. 27, offering four days vibrant with groups at various inside areas, outdoor lawns and beaches practicing their yogic flow, meditating, singing and dancing at music concerts with the likes of Moby, M.C. Yogi, Donavon Frankenreiter and Mike Love. Plus there’s kayaking, horseback riding, surfing, biking, nature walks, locally sourced meals and a craft marketplace.

“My perception of yoga before we started Wanderlust was that it’s something you do for your health, and there’s a bit of an ascetic tradition and a little bit of self-denial that leads to self-awareness,” said Sean Hoess, one of three co-founders. “We started going to yoga retreats, and we noticed these were crowds of people who were very serious about their practice and their health and wellness, but that they saw life as a balance. Sure, you can go on a silent retreat and learn something there, but you also need community and friends, and to have fun.

“The festival is created around the concept of balance, both metaphorically and literally. Yoga, enjoying good food with friends, having a glass of wine or dancing and enjoying the arts are all part of a balanced lifestyle.”

Fifteen Wanderlust festivals are scheduled throughout the year across North America as well as in Australia, New Zealand and Chile, with plans to bring the festival to Europe and Asia. Hoess said that in Hawaii alone, attendance has already grown by up to 40 percent this year. It’s no wonder, he said, what with the connection between surfing and yoga.

“There’s a long tradition of surfers, going back to (professional Hawaii legend) Gerry Lopez, who also practice yoga for the strength, flexibility and balance that it imparts, and vice versa. We noticed that a lot of our yogis are really interested in surfing.” Hoess also noted that, after all, Oahu’s North Shore is synonymous with surfing.

Its stunning natural beauty makes the place a perfect fit for Wanderlust, he added. Participants tend to be adventurous and love new learning opportunities, particularly in this case, learning about traditional Hawaiian culture. The festival lineup includes speakers on Hawaiian history.

“I know I’m not supposed to pick favorites, but Hawaii is my favorite of all of our Wanderlust events. I wouldn’t miss it for the world,” he said.

People can attend for just a day, for all four days, or even just for the evening concerts. For details, visit oahu.wanderlustfestival.com.

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