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Rasa Fournier

North Shore Yoga: Fun And Fine

Yoga, as experience at Wanderlust, is no longer about bending into impossible positions or sweating out toxins in heated rooms.

The second annual yoga festival kicks off Feb. 27 at Turtle Bay Resort, offering four days of vibrant groups at various inside areas, outdoor lawns and beaches, practicing their yogic flow, meditating, singing and dancing.

Music concerts will feature Moby, M.C. Yogi, Donavon Frankenreiter and Mike Love. There’s kayaking, horseback riding, surfing, biking, nature walks, locally sourced meals and a marketplace with local crafts.

“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 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. In Hawaii alone, he said, attendance already has 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,” said Hoess, noting that after all, Oahu’s North Shore is synonymous with surfing.

Beyond surfing, Hoess also pointed out that the North Shore’s stunning natural beauty makes the place a perfect fit for Wanderlust.

Participants tend to be adventurous and love new learning opportunities, particularly in this case, learning about traditional Hawaiian culture. The festival also offers 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.”

People can attend for one day, all four days or just for the concerts. See oahu.wanderlustfestival.com.

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