Since the first Wanderlust festival in South Lake Tahoe, California, four years ago, the feel-good venture of yoga and live music in the great outdoors rapidly expanded to include events in Vermont, Colorado, and Whistler, B.C. Now it can add a brick-and-mortar venue to the list.
Part yoga studio, part dance club, Wanderlust LIVE opened last week in Austin, Texas. Located in the heart of the city’s downtown nightlife district, it comprises 6,000 square feet featuring a small yoga room and a larger space for large classes with visiting teachers, bands and DJ performances, and things like "Tribal Hoop Dance" workshops. It also has locker rooms with showers, and a lounge area and café.
The venue is a collaboration between Wanderlust's creators and two Austin yoga teachers, Ashley Spence Clauer and Joanna Kutchey, who thought that the festival's "yoga first, music always" vision was a perfect fit for city's burgeoning yoga culture and vibrant live-music scene. “We just wanted to bring it together under one roof,” Clauer says.
The Wanderlust team had been thinking about opening a yoga venue, or even a chain of yoga venues, across the country when approached by Clauer and Kutchey. “We sat down and they’d already fleshed out the concept,” says Wanderlust co-founder Sean Hoess. “It was so close to what we wanted to do that we said, ‘yeah, let’s open a studio.’”
Last week's grand opening found New York yoga teacher Schyler Grant, wife of Wanderlust co-founder Jeff Krasno, teaching a class of 50 or so students backed by a DJ. The Wanderlust motto “Yoga First, Music Always” was projected on a side wall, as was a 12-foot-high image of the Buddha’s face. Toward the end of class, Grant played a large drum in the corner. “We’re gonna leave Manhattan and bring in a little NorCal vibe,” she said.
Afterward, there was beer and wine and everyone seemed to be having fun. The Wanderlust spirit had come to Austin. “We hate the word community center,” Hoess said, “but I guess somewhere in the back of our minds, this is what we were thinking about.”