This year’s 2nd Annual Wanderlust Festival in Squaw Valley, CA, was a remarkable event. A noteworthy feature of Wanderlust was Village Anusara, which was a large area of the festival grounds celebrating Anusara and the Arts. Village Anusara was a stunning array of delights, including slackliners, hula hoopers, and AcroYogis. There were light boxes of beautiful photographs lighting the pathway to an art gallery called Dialect from Los Angeles. Dialect displayed fine art for sale in a beautifully constructed and impressive temporary building/tent.
There was earth-art, à la Andy Goldsworthy, which made use of stones, pine cones, branches and other materials such as lights and fabrics. A group of us, led by Tantra and Sanskrit scholar Hareesh Wallis, performed pradakshina around the earth-art with Shiva Nataraj placed in the center to consecrate and pay homage to the sacred grounds and to honor Village Anusara at Wanderlust.
As visitors walked under the beautiful archway which read, “Village Anusara, Community of the Heart”, Dr. Manoj Chalam who was just to the right, was tending to his booth of Murti’s for sale. Alongside Manoj was the Shrī -tail, an affectionate name for Retail with Shrī (Divine beauty). Just down the way, there was the Tea “house” called Om Shan Tea which created a great bhava of bohemian San Francisco meets South Asian influences with side by side and overlapping Oriental and Persian rugs covering the bare earth under an artful white tent. A few steps down in Village Anusara was the Anusara Pavilion, an amazing outdoor domed tent for asana practice, complete with a stage. In this space, DJ Drez spun wicked hooks that inspired the hula hoopers, AcroYogis, and dancers to come out and play.
All of the artfulness enticed John Friend, Founder of Anusara Yoga, to make a surprise visit to Wanderlust. Originally, he was not on the scheduled line-up, though he ended up giving a talk at the Speakeasy on Saturday afternoon and at the Tantric Fireside Chat with Hareesh Wallis and Sianna Sherman on Saturday night. After John, Sianna, and Hareesh spoke, I felt so full of light and radiant inside, so connected into myself, and full of love. I felt remarkably blessed to be in such great company with such wonderful teachers. The way that these three maha teachers spoke so eloquently on stage was magical, inspiring, and uplifting to the highest. Two of my takeaways from the talk was that this practice is a joyful discipline, and if you orient yourself to the Divine, good things will happen. Hareesh taught that if you are fully present to the reality of what is, while seeking to see the shrī in it, you will tap into ānanda.
It was my great pleasure and honor to interview John while at Wanderlust at the midway point of his 2010 “Melt your Heart, Blow your Mind” world tour. In the videos below, John speaks about Wanderlust, his recent trip to Europe, and the NY Times Article.
(If you’re reading via email or rss, please visit the blog for the video.)
Video 1: What is your history/ relationship with Wanderlust and one of its Founders, Jeff Krasno? What is Village Anusara and how did it come to be?
Video 2: How was Europe? Did your trip to Europe influence your vision for Anusara? Discussion on New Media and Anusara in China.
Video 4: How are you going to spend your time at Wanderlust? What is in the pipeline for you? Bonus Discussion of Bhakti yoga.
Many thanks and heartfelt pranams to Creative Director for Anusara, Dave Kennedy (DK) and crew, whose vision and creation of Village Anusara was a wonderful success, and Katrina Knudsen, Communication Relations Representative for Anusara without whom this blog post may not have been possible. Maha Pranams to John Friend for being an amazing teacher and without whom this blog, Bay Shakti, would not have a reason to be.
To find out more about Anusara, please visit Anusara’s website. To keep up with John on Facebook, “Like” John Friend, Founder Anusara Yoga ‘s new Facebook Page. You can also follow John on Twitter at @anusarafriend.