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Wanderlust’s New Zealand Teachers – View From The Stage

Wanderlust Taupo - The Yoga Connection

If you follow any NZ yogis on social media then your feed over the last little while may have been a tad overloaded with Wanderlust pics from all those photo-savvy humans who remembered to take a brilliant shot leaping into the air in front of the perfect photo-ready sign.

Some of us didn’t.

But I did pick up a taste of that Wanderlusty energy coming through in those high-on-life posts and love it or not-entirely-convinced if it’s for you yet you can’t argue with a sensory overload of happy, shiny people that makes for a beautiful break from everyday life. It’s the kind of thing you want to take back into the world and hug your barista. (Which is no bad thing. I love my barista.)

I enjoyed my experience in a whole different way from my first time, taking the opportunity to breathe into it a bit more and embrace revisiting that gorgeous occurrence of a class or workshop that resonates, and boom! Things shift and your whole life perspective has possibilities that perhaps you want to explore like never before.

This time round I also wondered what it’s like to teach at Wanderlust, to look out on all of our glowy faces gazing back at you and surely (surely!) feel a little bit freaking amazing.

I checked in with some of the incredible New Zealand teachers who took part:

Connie Causa – Wild Seed
Nikki Ralston – Urban Ashram
Justine Hamill – Power Living New Zealand
Tim Seutter – The Loft Studio
Kara-Leah Grant – The Yoga Lunchbox

wanderlust 17 - connie

Connie Causa (Wild Seed) teaches mainly in Auckland, sometimes around the world and is a regular at Wanderlust Taupo and 108 (the annual one-day event in Auckland held 29th April). This year Connie taught her hugely popular AirYoga again and for the first time a Cacao Ceremony blended with vinyasa yoga. Her beautiful image sits at the top of the page also.

WHAT WAS YOUR BEST EXPERIENCE AT WANDERLUST THIS YEAR?

Connie – Hard to choose one best experience of so many… I felt the Cacao Ceremony was a very opening experience where vulnerability came to visit me and my heart grew a few more inches. I felt like I truly transformed some things that I was going through; the power of Cacao, Yoga and the Collective –  WOW! It was one to remember, for sure.

Nikki – The flood of heart-open tears at the end of my last class as we huddled, held each other and Ciaran McMeeken sang, Follow The Sun . An epic moment that is now etched in my heart forever.

Kara-Leah – Jason Corliss and Nick Corliss from The Organic Mechanics leading Spirit Bird in the True North Cafe just before midnight on Saturday night’s Open Mic. They had the entire audience on their feet singing and dancing. It was incredible – that’s the spirit of Wanderlust right there. Tribe uniting.

Tim – My best experience was actually travelling to Wanderlust. I drove DJ Drez and Daniel Scott to Taupo from Auckland. It was a wonderful talk of being men, consciousness, yoga, society and the pressures men feel. Talk also touched on how we grew up and the types of fathers we had. Conversation weaved around some pretty deep concepts and it was such a great experience to listen and contribute.

Justine – Feeling the love, vibe and connection in the room at the end of my class. The kirtan and tears were flowing, the heart, energy and connection to source was palpable. So grateful. Yoga is Union.

wanderlust 17 - nikki

Nikki Ralston (Urban Ashram) is based in Auckland and teaches her well-known brand The Ralston Method. A Wanderlust regular, she’ll also be teaching at 108 where she’ll be leading her Centred Practice and Meditation. At Taupo she taught six booked out classes including a playful hike where she was joined by the ‘professional child’, her daughter Ahlianah.

SHARE SOME FEEDBACK YOU RECEIVED:

Nikki – The hugs, the tears, the ‘thank yous’, the smiles… means to me that people felt and that is why I teach. It’s not about me so I try to not take praise personally.

Justine – Working with and expressing our voice can create huge shifts in people, especially when we have felt shut down. Many voices are revolutionary so there was a lot of feedback in the way of tears, love, hugs and feeling shifted. Christina Leon from Reveal Yourself wrote: “Hi Justine, I just wanted to say the biggest love and gratitude for your class at Wanderlust! It was truly the highlight of classes for me and I was moved, enlightened, challenged and realised through the class! Thank you from my heart! Your song I Am Light brought me to uncontrollable tears. I am going through a lot of healing and a personal journey and one of my core desire values for me is, I am light. So as you can imagine it triggered so much emotion of letting go and pure healing.”

Connie – Probably the best feedback received were the tears of transformation of many at the Ceremony and the hugs after that.

Tim (who teaches SUP Yoga) –
That was the best savasana…
I can’t believe I stayed dry…
I really enjoyed being out on the water doing yoga…
That really was a lot of fun…

wanderlust 17 - juzzy

Justine Hamill (Power Living New Zealand) is co-owner of the Wellington based studio. This was her first time teaching at Wanderlust and third time working at the festival with Power Living. She taught Find Your Voice to 150 yogis.

ANY AH-HA MOMENTS?

Justine – Connection is everything, union is everything and creating our tribe and community so that we can share and contribute to the greater good powerfully is potent now more than ever!

Tim – I really enjoyed doing a class with Dice iida-Klein. A year ago at Wanderlust, I would have struggled with the Asana. This year, I found everything accessible and doable without over-straining or exerting too much. That was a nice feeling to see how my personal practice has progressed from last year.

Kara-Leah – Listening to Arli while chilling under a tree with Nik Robson and being fascinated by the perspective Arli had to share on life. Arli answered a question I had about attending yoga classes… and it felt like it was the next key to the next door for me. I could feel how our ‘teachers’ are all around us, and all that’s required is that we pay attention to what we’re being told in each moment.

Connie – 6:30am Sunday: Last day of the festival, not much sleep, lots of experiences, feelings of love, confusion, a bit raw and fragile, sitting still while listening to Swami Govindananda and I realise something that I already knew but needed to fully understand… The root of my own suffering has been an expression of my excess of desire and my chronic dissatisfaction with life, so now I’m dancing with that energy a bit more gracefully and instead of trying to get rid of desire, I’m teaching myself to redirect that energy in the right direction which is very often inwards.

Nikki – Ahhhhhhhhhh Tamaki rolls… Haaaaaaa, don’t take yourself to seriously…

wanderlust 17 - tim

Tim – second from left

Tim Seutter (The Loft Studio) operates his business as Yoga Fire and is based in Whangarei. He taught SUP Yoga and this was his second time teaching at Wanderlust.

WHAT MAKES WANDERLUST SPECIAL FOR YOU?

Tim – Seeing all my yoga friends I have made throughout New Zealand.

Kara-Leah – The people who come back year after year and give it everything whether presenting, setting up, feeding everybody, hosting a retail space, organising or participating. Everybody has a valuable role to play and none of us could be there without the others. It’s that sense of tribe – where each person is just as important as the next, no matter what role they are playing.

Nikki – The people: I feel so much pride when international teachers say how rad the NZ vibe is!

Connie – Community, yoga, music, dance, outdoors, sacred land… really??? Wow! Cannot get better than that!

Justine – It’s a place where we can share, collaborate, tune in and not just practise Yoga Asana but feel and understand what it means to live in union and practise Yoga at a deeper level -body, mind and spirit as one whanau.

Photo: Pete Longworth

Photo: Pete Longworth

Kara-Leah (The Yoga Lunchbox) is a writer and also runs Heart of Tribes Retreats. She is currently based in Glenorchy but her business is online and worldwide. With Wanderlust since the beginning, this year she taught five classes including sessions on relationship patterns, journalling and hiking.

ANY ADVICE YOU’D GIVE TO NEW YOGIS ATTENDING WANDERLUST?

Kara-Leah – Prepare for stimulation overload and give yourself plenty of time and space to integrate your experiences as you go. Take down-time to process what’s coming up for you – chill under a tree, go for a swim, take a walk. Expect to be broken wide open, and recognise that sometimes it’s not all fun and games. This too is part of the process and it’s all ok. Reach out and ask for support and help. Trust that we’re all in this together – the highs and the lows, the good times and the breakthroughs.

Connie – Try everything with an open heart and mind; each experience and person is there to give us amazing messages and we are forever students, so let the yoga and the sounds do it’s magic and the collective hold us as we transform. We expand in unity!

Justine – Come as you are, Yoga is for EVERY body. You will leave with a full heart and a fed soul. Aroha.

Nikki – Come with an open heart, try lots of different things, you never know what you will find and love.

Tim – There are so many amazing teachers and classes to attend and it can be overwhelming trying to make them all. Instead, just go with the flow of yourself and the event. If you want to just relax, or talk to friends, then just do that.

The best experience of the festival is the creation of harmony with a group of strangers all on a similar life journey. It’s a beautiful time to just be and breathe and experience humanity how it is meant to be: dancing, jiving, living, and loving all.

Thank you for your time and obvious love for what you do, beautiful people. Your words are a testament to the quality of teachers we have in this incredible community. You’ve made me beyond excited for next year.

– Jane


If you’d like to get a wonderful overview of the Wanderlust experience then please do read Courage My Love founder, Persephone Singfield’s recap here: https://couragemyloveclothing.com/from-heart-director/wanderlust-festival-2017/

And for a peek into what went into the first NZ Wanderlust way back in 2015, Festival Director Downunder and Brand Manager Downunder,  Jonnie and Jacque Halsted chatted to me here: http://theyogaconnection.co.nz/five-things-wanderlust-festival/

What about you? Did you go? Love it? Or not? Please share below!


© The Yoga Connection 2017

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