Jeff Krasno was an entrepreneur running a music entertainment company in lower Manhattan, two blocks from the World Trade Center when 9/11 hit. Right afterward, his girlfriend, who would later become his wife, took over some empty space in his office building and opened a yoga studio to support the local community. “I had a front-row seat to the power of yoga and intentional community to really heal people and get them back on their feet,” says Krasno.
After witnessing a few of his wife’s yoga retreats in Costa Rica, Krasno was inspired to combine his event producing skills with the practice of yoga to create the world’s largest yoga festival, best known as Wanderlust. The first festival took place in 2009 in Squaw Valley, Calif., with approximately 3,000 people in attendance. There are now nearly 70 Wanderlust events taking place in 16 countries each year, with roughly 120,000 annual tickets sold.
Krasno didn’t just set out to bring a bunch of people together to do downward dog at the same time. He wanted to cultivate community and connection.
Wanderlust also wants people to find their true north. What’s your true north? Krasno explains, “Finding your true north is that process of living a truly mindful and inspired life. You’re always seeking it out. You never get there. It’s that self-actualized self. “
The Wanderlust events offer one way for people to tap into their true north. There are yoga classes galore, but there are also cooking demonstrations, group meditation practice, evening concerts and BBQs. If you live in Austin, Hollywood, or Montreal, you can even visit a brick and mortar Wanderlust location for more yoga and community event opportunities.
“We’re sort of like a gateway drug for a deeper, more mindful life. We’re accessible. We offer a really big tent. We offer a lot of ways in. We’re a platform. We’re non-dogmatic,” Krasno says. You’ll find kundalini, hatha, vinyasa and Iyengar-based yoga practices, in addition to multiple meditation techniques. “We can offer all of these initial entry points for people to discover all of these different kinds of practices and recipes for living. They can key in on what’s right for them and then pursue their true north.”
Krasno found food to be another natural extension for the Wanderlust brand and its yogi community, so he penned a book called “Find Your True Fork: Journeys in Healthy, Delicious, and Ethical Eating”. He gathered a collection of chefs who focus on ingredients that heal the body. Each chef took a chapter to highlight their food story and philosophy, and then they provided a collection of healthy recipes. You’ll find a who’s who of clean eating styles from vegan to paleo, raw, gluten-free, vegetarian, and Ayurvedic recipes.
“Everyone has a different diet that’s optimal for them. The book offers a way to discover a bunch of different, healthy, ethical approaches to food through the stories and recipes of all of these amazing chefs, many of whom have transformational stories. A lot of the chefs were sick or suffered from some kind of affliction and managed to solve it through diet. I think that by telling their stories, a lot of people can see their own personal journeys within those stories. It’s also food porn and lovely to look at.”
Many of the chefs hosted special dinners at Wanderlust Hollywood over this past summer. A lot could also be found on the culinary stage at Wanderlust events this year, a practice that will likely continue into the future.
With Wanderlust’s 10-year anniversary fast approaching, plans for the future continue to include ways to provide community. “We can all come together regardless of all the different things that may divide us or people who may want to divide us. It’s constantly being aware of what society needs the most, and then being able to step up and use our resources to try in a small way to provide some solutions.”
Check out “Wanderlust Find Your True Fork: Journeys in Healthy, Delicious, and Ethical Eating” here.
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Images via Wanderlust Festival