Wanderlust | Open heart, open mind | SierraSun.com

Wanderlust | Open heart, open mind

A yoga class practices shavasana (corpse pose) — a restorative pose — at the end of an outdoor yoga class at Wanderlust 2014 at Squaw Valley.
Courtesy Vicki Kahn |

TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. — EDITOR’S NOTE: Vicki Kahn attended the Wanderlust festival at Squaw Valley, a yoga, music and environmental experience now in its sixth year, which grew from the first Wanderlust in our sierra Nevada backyard to a world-wide series of events. Visit wanderlust.com/yoga-festivals to discover your Wanderlust.

OMG. What did I just experience? It’s Sunday morning and I am signed up for “Dance like no one is watching” with Hemalayaa Behl.

I love to dance, like a good cardio workout and am looking forward to an innovative take on dance fused with yoga.

We warm up with deep pranayama breathing, some stretching, and then progress to some shaking of our bodies. I think to myself the shaking is a very “different” yoga technique. I realize after a continuation of this exercise this shaking really does have some lasting effect deep down to the core of my being.

Next we do a vocal and physical exercise very similar to a child having a tantrum. Now this seems really weird! What the heck am I doing here? I’m thinking to myself that this isn’t the kind of class I thought I signed up for, and maybe I can just slide out the back, Jack — not finishing the class.

I talk myself into sticking it out.

Instructor Hemalayaa emanates a very positive, loving aura and I like her energy.

Next she explains how each of us may be carrying around some negative stuff that doesn’t serve us, and we are asked to physically brush off this “baggage.” We brush off with our hands over each part of our body.

I think about the metaphor and it becomes very realistic to me. Something clicks — I find myself connecting. Yeah, I get it! We are asked to brush all this negative garbage into one big friggin’ pile, then we physically pretend to sweep it into a dust pan, and the whole class takes the invisible garbage outside and “throws it away.” Now we are all smiling and joyous. That felt great! We are free!

We can now celebrate letting go of all the bad stuff that can hamper our greatest good, and the free form dancing begins. We are all running around the room dancing to the music. Hemalayaa is guiding us verbally with healing and empowering advice.

“We are the painters of our own lives,” she encourages. We are all on our own personal journeys invoking a higher power within us; awakening our own life force energy. The lights are dimmed and we continue the frenetic dancing.

Finally the dancing reaches a crescendo, and we stop.

I feel exhilarated and revitalized.

After this euphoric experience we all sit in a very close circle. Hemalayaa’s healing and loving words seal our emotional and spiritual investment. We make eye contact. We embrace our neighbors. We are one.

This transformational experience opened my eyes, my mind and my heart.

The take away here is to keep yourself open to an experience that just may be out of your comfort zone. Give it a chance. Put yourself in the hands of the teacher. Just trust.

It just may change your life — and it’s way cheaper than therapy with a shrink!

Vicki Kahn contributed to the Wanderlust Journal, visit http://www.wanderlust.com/journal.

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