Lucky Number 11: How Following The Path Back To Wanderlust Squaw Valley Changed My Life

Lucky Number 11: How Following The Path Back To Wanderlust Squaw Valley Changed My Life

Cover Photo From Wanderlust

By Rachel Nichols

The number 11 has been my lucky number since I was a child, even before I knew a thing about it being a sacred number. In Numerology, the number 11 symbolizes spiritual awakening and enlightenment, self expression and intuition. The number relates to those who are here to be guiding lights to others to raise the vibration of the collective consciousness. The vibration of 11 invites those on its path to use their inner wisdom and connection to their higher self to lead the way in this pursuit.

Oddly (or not), enough, 11 also happens to be my Life Path number in Numerology. So 11s have been following me around for most of my life -- or rather, I am following and living in the energy of 11. The path that the vibration of 11 led me on this summer was back to the mountains in Tahoe for Wanderlust Squaw Valley, which celebrated its 11th year anniversary this year (of course). 

I was celebrating something special this year, too: Year 1 in a new relationship, with a man I met at Wanderlust Squaw Valley the year before (and his Life Path number, by the way, is a 1... I just LOVE synchronicities)! I actually wrote an article for SF Yoga Mag before Wanderlust last year, “Three Tips For Manifesting A Meaningful Wanderlust Festival Experience,” to preview the festival. It turned out I took my own advice, as last year, Wanderlust marked a huge turning point in my life. 

Between meeting my now wonderful partner of one year, and getting inspired by the words of many teachers last year, especially Kyle Cease at the Speakeasy, I quit my 13-year career, moved out of my hometown and changed my whole life. Wanderlust was the catalyst for all of this to take place, and the festival holds special meaning for me, even after having attended four times. I always leave feeling inspired, lit up and grateful, and the vibrations of those emotions for me never get old -- and neither does magic of the Gondola ride up the mountain or the view from High Camp!

Switching it Up: Kundalini, Wildflower Wandering and Sound Healing, Oh My! 

Speaking of switching up my life, I switched up my approach to Wanderlust this year as well. I started my every morning at Wanderlust this year with a Kundalini class, a style of yoga I have less experience with. My very first class at this year’s festival was Amplified Kundalini up at High Camp at the top of the mountain with Amplified Yoga creator Donovan McGrath. Donovan’s classes are a mix of ancient yogic technology Kundalini Kriyas mixed with upbeat and vigorous movement designed to release physical, mental and energetic stagnation, constriction and tension. And that’s no joke.

The class quite honestly kicked my butt, and I loved every second of it. It was a sweaty class full of passion, zero down dogs, and my heart was beating like crazy. Donavon has amazing energy and led an inspiring practice for all 200 of us on top of the mountain. He shared some words of wisdom with us that I stopped to write down (not just because I really needed a break from the wild practice!):

“Anything worthwhile will hit resistance.” So when you hit resistance, don’t let it discourage you. It could mean that you are onto something big in your life. 

At one point I felt like I was going to throw up from all the intense movement, then before I knew it the class was over and I ended up in tears and felt a sweet release of old emotions stuck deep within the body flow out of me. “Welcome to Wanderlust,” I thought to myself. It was the perfect first class to kick off the magical weekend. I ended up switching my schedule on Sunday to take Donovan’s other class at Wanderlust because I loved it so much. 

After Amplified Kundalini, I stumbled out of the yoga tent overlooking Squaw Valley to find that the entire mountain was exploding with yellow, violet and white wildflowers. I’ve been on top of this mountain for several Wanderlust festivals and never have I seen the wildflowers explode like that. I admit, I did wonder if the Amplified Kundalini had a hallucinogenic effect, but it was truly Mother Earth in all her glory. I decided then I would have to make some time to wander through the flowers (and snow! Yes, there was still snow in almost August!) during a break from my classes.

I headed back down the Gondola for my next Wanderlust treat: an epic Sound Bath by Martier Sound Healing -- the perfect medicine to bring my heart rate back down after Amplified Kundalini. It felt so good to float between an awake and sleep state as the sounds of big beautiful gongs, drums and other sacred sounds washed over and through my body. It was just the rest I needed before heading to Seane Corn’s Detox Flow class.

Seane Corn Returns to Wanderlust and Promotes New Book: Revolution of the Soul

The very first Wanderlust I attended was in 2013 and I happened to sign up for Seane Corn’s class without knowing who she was. The class was packed and I laid on my mat wondering who this teacher was. Once she began teaching and weaving her prayers and wisdom into her perfectly sequenced class, I understood. Since then I sign up for any class I can with her. Last year I was bummed to learn she wasn’t at the festival, so I was super excited to be able to get my Seane Corn fix again this time around.

She asked us all to reflect on why we chose to come to a festival like Wanderlust -- a place of transformation. The gift of the transformation process, she said, is that everything is medicine. The medicine can show up in ways we least expect it. I appreciated her invitation to reflect -- as at festivals like Wanderlust it’s so easy to get swept away in the “doing” versus the “being.” 

Seane also spoke about her new book, Revolution of the Soul, coming out September 3 and I absolutely cannot wait to read it. She will also be touring around the entire country to promote her book starting in September. I invite you to check out her schedule here for a dose of inspiration.

Quotable Quotes from Sat Siri Dougherty

One of my favorite classes this year was on morning two: Reclaiming Your Joy with Kundalini Yoga led by Sat Siri Dougherty. The movement, the breathwork the kriyas, her wisdom, her humor all felt like a beautiful energetic flush I didn’t know I needed. Some quotes I wrote down during class from Sat Siri Dougherty that really resonated:

“We are as free as we decide to be.”

“If we open up to what we don't want, it can lead to everything we were keeping away that we needed. Life likes to explode those boxes.”

“Have you ever noticed that we giggle when the truth is there?”

“We are stimulating our emotional digestion so we can digest the experiences in our life.”

“Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.”

The class wrapped up with a heavenly savasana that included one of the most beautiful voices I've heard in a long time. Check out Jai Chand and her mantra music here.

I look forward to being able to take another class with Sat Siri Dougherty one day.

Feed Your Soul

Kundalini, vinyasa, wildflower wandering, sound healing, the delicious food and gorgeous offerings from the vendors... and of course the epic yogi pool parties. Thank you for everything, Wanderlust. I am so very grateful for another nourishing weekend that fed my soul. See you next year.

To see a 1-minute video recap from our time at Wanderlust this year, check out our Instagram post here. To learn more about Wanderlust and all its festival locations, visit

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