June 14, 2013

Event Recap: Wanderlust Yoga in the City New York

On Saturday night, I was already feeling the soreness from my Apogee Life Fitness Festival workouts that morning. Those classes were no joke! Before I went to bed (super early – bliss!), I canceled my registration for an Uplift bootcamp on Sunday morning. Instead, I was pretty pumped that I would get to attend Wanderlust’s Yoga in the City Event in the afternoon. Stretching out my muscles couldn’t come at a more perfect time!

After an amazing brunch with Ashley, Theodora, Jen, and Gia (they all made it to Uplift beforehand – oops!), Gia and I split off to head over to Wanderlust. The event was being held at Pier 45 on the Hudson River, but no cross-street was given. Since we are apparently directionally-challenge, we took a cab about a mile south – only to find that Pier 45 was actually back up in the 20s where we started! Oops. You would think that after all the time I’ve spent running on the Hudson River Greenway I would know which pier corresponds to which street, but that wasn’t the case at all.

As it turned out, the festival was situated in a pretty great location just north of Chelsea Piers. While walking up there, we passed a mini food truck court I didn’t know about that was in Chelsea Piers and featured some yummy-looking barbecue! I made a plan in my mind to head back and visit after working up an appetite at Wanderlust – but that plan was later foiled when I saw how much yummy food there was provided by vendors at the festival. Awesome!

Since Gia and I had missed the start of the first class, we decided to wander the vendors and take pictures while waiting for the next class to begin. First, though, we had to check in – we were told by one of the vendors that they were only giving samples/goodies to Wanderlust attendees, and so we needed our wristbands before we could do anything else. This made perfect sense to me at the time, but I was a little disappointed later than most of the vendors actually didn’t seem to be enforcing this – which led to long lines and big crowds, particularly when bikers and parents with strollers would stop to get samples and clog everything up. But I also recognized that it was good publicity for the vendors to be able to market to more than just the festival attendees, so I couldn’t really fault them for that! There also seemed to be plenty of samples to go around; it was more just the wait to get them that was an issue.

We tried various flavors of Evolution Green Juice (I loved them, Gia wasn’t a huge fan), and then headed over to the Luna Bar tent. Luna Bar is one of my favorite kinds of bar snacks, so I felt a little bad sampling when I already knew I liked them, but… YUM! I especially loved the Chocolate Dipped Coconut snack flavor, and was very excited when that was the flavor I won from the vending machine of various types and flavors. (Though I have to admit, this same vending machine had been featured at Workout in the Park this year, so I kind of knew how to game the system and get my favorite!)

After a stop by LYFE Kitchen (look for more on them in a future post), Gia and I headed over to Sweetriot – the chocolate company that had partnered with Wanderlust to invite me to the event. Sweetriot had sent me a ton of chocolate bars which ended up being among the best chocolate I’ve ever had – I particularly loved the flax seed bars because they were so filling, although now I’ve tried the coconut bars and they are so creamy that it’s a tough call which I like better. The staff at Sweetriot was just as sweet as their chocolate, and I took a cute pic with the inspiring picket signs they had for decoration:

Sweetriot Chocolate and Sign

Gia had to run home to her adorable kids after this, so I was soon on my own. Where to go and what to do? My phone was now starting to get a bit low on juice from all these pictures (and all the tweeting/texting I was doing to entertain myself – I am terrible about becoming a phone addict when I’m flying solo!). Luckily, there was a fix for that too. At the Health Magazine-sponsored tent, they had cool phone chargers embedded in planters of fake grass. And while I waited for my phone to charge, I was given plenty of Aveeno sunscreen (to help prevent a burn once I went out into the sun for yoga), and got to take a picture as a pseudo-cover model for Health Magazine. Two birds with one stone!

Charger / Magazine Cover

Finally, it was time for the main event: the yoga! I was pleasantly surprised to find that it wasn’t tough at all to find ample space on the grass, and while I had originally been disappointed that the event required registration and a few friends got shut out, I realized now that it prevented the event from becoming overwhelmingly crowded. The organizers’ decision to only allow regular registrants to pick one session to practice yoga also seemed to help with the crowding. I had pictured yoga mats being an inch or two apart, but in fact, I had one to three feet between me and the people around me. Even if I tried to do some crazy balance pose and fell over, I wouldn’t land on top of anyone! The organizers had also laid down thin yellow ropes to block off pathways through the event, which I thought was brilliant. It made it really easy to get to and from your spot without disturbing anyone else.

Wanderlust Yoga
Right after taking this pic, I successfully stretched into a full Warrior 3 and held it with no problems. Woo hoo!

The class I took had a very different flow than most of the yoga sequences that I’ve done before, and I found that the instructor had different terms for some of the poses. For example, instead of referring to downward dog, she called it “Adho Mukha Svanasana” (the Sanskrit name) – so I was constantly having to look around to see what other people were doing. Luckily, it seemed like a lot of other people were doing the same. While the event was definitely geared toward more-serious yogis (there were some incredible feats of flexibility, balance, and control from some participants!), I was very happy to find that the event was low-key enough where casual and infrequent yogis didn’t feel out of place. The instructor had a wireless mic so that she could walk around and give corrections, and she had a cadre of helpers doing the same. I had my alignment gently corrected once, and I thought that was so great! I was in the back row so I would have assumed they wouldn’t get to me at all; it was nice to have a small enough event where everyone got a tiny bit of individual attention.

And as far as the setting went? It felt amazing to be doing yoga outside in the sunshine, with the Hudson River just a hundred yards away as our backdrop (the class was set up so the students faced the river while the instructor faced the city). The grassy meadow provided a really soft surface on which to practice – the only downside being that it did curve into a slight hill in certain spots. The instructor was great about recognizing this, though, offering modifications to the postures for anyone who was positioned on the hill instead of flat ground. While the sun’s rays made me a bit hot at times, generally, I found it to be such an amazing place to practice yoga. NYC doesn’t offer residents that many places to “commune with nature” and the Hudson River Park was such a peaceful and perfect spot! I couldn’t help but think this was how yoga was meant to be.

Wanderlust - Hudson River Views

Thank you to Wanderlust and Sweetriot for the opportunity to attend all three yoga sessions at this great free annual event!


5 thoughts on “Event Recap: Wanderlust Yoga in the City New York”

  1. If you’re looking for ways to get out into nature in NYC more, Discover Outdoors is putting on a whole outdoor festival with clinics and yoga classes, etc. for FREE starting next week. Check it out. I think the Yoga is in your neighborhood.


    1. Thanks for the tip! I JUST heard about this today (from a dif source too! Today seems to be their big promo day) but wish I had known sooner, since I’m going to be out of town 🙁 I love the trips I’ve done with Discover Outdoors in the past though!

    1. I had never seen that type of photo booth before but it was really neat! I just wish I had done a cool yoga pose instead of standing there like a lump 🙂

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