Wanderlust, the popular outdoor eco-yoga-music event enterprise that has spawned road-trip destinations for adventurous yogis, this year expanded its three-day outdoor festival offerings to include mini Yoga in the City Festivals in cities around the country.
Now Wanderlust has added one more to the mix: Las Vegas. To be held in September at The Cosmopolitan, a 3,000-room gaming resort, the event features Anusara Yoga founder John Friend (the Elvis of the yoga world?), Wanderlust cofounder and Kula Yoga NYC creator Schulyer Grant, and musical group Thievery Corporation. Being Vegas, it also features burlesque shows, "dance party beats," and poolside wine tasting, according to a press release.
We're happy that all those Sin City visitors, tired from binge gambling-smoking-drinking and doing all that other stuff that stays in Vegas, will be exposed to some good clean yoga fun. But we were puzzled about Wanderlust's "commitment towards making the most socially and environmentally conscious event of its kind" with this location choice. Wanderlust's founders have set a high bar for their events as being models of sustainability--with comprehensive composting and recycling programs among other laudable efforts.
Las Vegas, on the other hand, is a city where 90 percent of the power is generated from non-renewable resources. Its main water source, the man-made Lake Meade, is estimated to be sucked dry, via drought and increased usage demands, by 2021. It's basically a city that wouldn't exist without imported water, electricity, and well, just about everything else that makes a place sustainable.
We asked Wanderlust cofounder Jeff Krasno about the choice to bring the festival here. From a creative standpoint, he explained, the Wanderlust brand is about being playful and unexpected. Vegas fits well into that notion. He envisions a raised platform where "people walking down the Strip will look up and see John Friend and 400 people doing yoga." As an event planner, it just doesn't get much better than that.
And as folks in the business of promoting a healthful, yogic lifestyle, "we like the idea of bringing a shot of inspiration and enlightenment into a place not usually associated with those things," he added.
As for Vegas' reputation as a place lacking any kind of sustainability inclinations, Krasno said he was surprised to discover that there's more here than meets the eye. The dancers and performers who work in the shows are active, healthy people, many of whom do yoga, he said. There are even a slew of Whole Foods Markets in the area. And when he went seeking local support for the event, "we got like 15-20 yoga studio partners in a day."
"There's a scene for it there, underneath all the glitz and glamour," he said.
We applaud Wanderlust for bringing yoga to unexpected places--and heck, the spirited, creative vibe of the festival is quite Cirque du Soleil-esque. And maybe, just maybe some of those collective Oms will help raise the energy of the place. Come to think of it, perhaps Wanderlust is exactly what Las Vegas needs. Doesn't Celine Dion's run at Caesar's Palace end sometime soon?
We just hope that the same Earth guardian spirit so beautifully celebrated at Wanderlust's Lake Tahoe, California, and Vermont events, doesn't get lost in the drive for playful and unexpected. Keep it real, Wanderlust!