Wanderlust 108….SF Style!
Warm sunny day in Golden Gate Park + 3000 yogis + 5k + Yoga + Meditation = inspiring and amazing day! Lindley Meadow was full of folks all ready to get their exercise on. I hadn’t seen that many people in the meadow since Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. As we all lined up to start the 5k, MC Yogi was cheering everyone on, sending out words of encouragement to get folks psyched. As we walked along it was hard not to realize how peaceful and serene the park was that morning. There were all kinds of folks participating—women of all ages, kids and even a bunch of men! The hour flew by as we all chatted and caught up on life.
Once we arrived back in the meadow, we wanted to check out all of the great vending options. There was quite a selection of snacks, beverages, jewelry and clothing. The pretty mala jewelry caught my eye. Mala bead bracelets are commonly called prayer beads. Traditional necklaces are strung with 108 beads. The Wanderlust 108 festival was named in honor of these beautiful rudraksha beads. You don’t have to be spiritual to wear this jewelry, rather it can be a reminder of an intention you have previously set. The 2 bracelets I wear are constant reminders of my personal intentions of love and open communication. I resisted the urge to purchase another bracelet…this time!
As we grabbed a sample of kombucha, we were drawn to the yoga meadow by the rockin’ sounds of Prince. The 4 of us unrolled our mats, lathered up with sunblock and waited for MC Yogi to begin his session. We started with a 3000 person dance party. While he was rapping, everyone was jumping around, raising theirs arms, smiling and happy. You could feel the electric energy of the crowd. While he took us through a series of poses, I noticed my breath in synchronization with that of my neighbors. This was one of those times when yoga, (ie. “union”) and practicing in a large group proved beneficial on many levels.
Cat Acquaviva graced the stage with a peaceful and enthusiastic presence. She guided us through a practice that encouraged us to reach our highest potential while gazing up at the sun. Balancing in tree pose can be challenging, and even more on uneven ground. However, using your neighbors as leverage to balance allowed us to be wobbly and silly. Flowing from pose to pose, watching the crowd as we moved, it felt like the waves of the ocean. Witnessing this many yogis proves the power of yoga. We all came out to participate and be one witheach other, the breath and our environment. The distractions the outdoors provided were unique and proved to be a special way to connect with my practice. Before our afternoon would be complete, one more component was required to wrap-up our “triathlon.”
Mediation. It means something different to everyone. However, being with 3000 yogis in the park on a guided meditation for 30 minutes was pure heaven. Listening to the birds chirping, the rustling of folks getting comfortable. I could feel my heart beat. Vinny Ferraro began by instructing us to close our eyes and rest. He took us on a journey of tranquility and awareness as we took deep breaths and connected with each other souls. We felt the warmth of the beating sun. It was the heat that reminded me to keep searching inward for support and using my connections in times of need that resonated strongly. I felt a sense of empowerment and strength afterwards. I also realized how beneficial keeping up with my own meditation practice could be.
This afternoon was more impactful than I thought it could be. I truly was inspired by the sheer volume and openness of those that attended. Having the opportunity to participate with an enormous community of yogis in my adopted city is one of the reasons why I love this City.
I <3 San Francisco.
Photo: Christen Vidanovic