Recap: Wanderlust 108 – Charlotte 2016

Wanderlust 2016 - Charlotte

Where it began

Run. Yoga. Mediate.

The trifecta of health and balance for one’s mind, body, and spirit. Back in April, I had the opportunity to engage in these trio activities with two incredible friends. We hopped on the Amtrak in Durham after work on a Friday, heading to the Queen City (Charlotte).

Sheila, Michelle and I outside the Charlotte Amtrak station

A group of 3? Talk about synergy!

Wanderlust, known for its enormous yoga festivals, often in exotic locations, created day-long spin-offs dubbed Wanderlust 108.  Under “what to expect” the site notes:

lots of high fives, a little sweat, and a deep chill.

Wanderlust 108: Ready to start the 5k

The chill factor was in full effect – brr!

If I could offer some additional “what to expect” thoughts, I would include: an incredibly array of multicolored yoga pants; patchouli; and

Kombucha

Kombucha, of course.

As this Saturday neared, we kept a close eye on the weather. North Carolina had plunged into a cold snap, and Saturday’s temperatures were not looking ideal for outdoor recreation. It was windy – several yoga mats attempted flight. And it was cold – at least at the start. Fortunately, the sun provided respite and made the experience much more bearable.

Wanderlust 108 - Charlotte

Queen City Yoga

The day began with a 5k run followed by a group dance party with MC Yogi (I kid you not), a Vinyasa flow, and a guided mediation (more on the last part below).

Wanderlust 108 - Charlotte

Michelle is in to win

Wanderlust 108 - Charlotte

Sheila gives peace and… brackets?

Wanderlust 108 - Charlotte

Look ma! I’m sitting on a slackline.

A mindfulness triathalon. How zen. How challenging.

Never before had I meditated. I certainly had read my fair share of articles on the importance of mediation and centering and breathing exercises…blah blah blah. Yes, I shut those out because – let’s be real: we’ve got to get physical.


This is where the reader (that’s you) should leap from your chair and say:

 

YouLie

Ugh. I’m a bit ashamed I included such an image in this blog post. But, back to the subject at hand: my pursuits of strength have resided solely in the physical. I’m all about doing. I make to-do lists. I complete projects. I’ve got a plan. I’m constantly moving and moving and moving.

Not only does this lead to energy depletion, but it denies me from living fully. I don’t allow myself the space to turn inward and be still. For too long, I viewed that as a weakness. Diving headfirst by mediating in an open field among hundreds of strangers allowed me the first taste of meditation’s power.

I wish I could report that since attending Wanderlust 108, I’ve walked down a more enlightened path, prioritizing a time for quiet reflection each day. For the first two days after Charlotte, I tried to establish a morning routine. And then…oh, you know. Life happened.

Still, I had the opportunity of knowing what could be and now I can practice the intentional time-out.

As soon as I finish that run…

One of the other best takeaways from the 24 hour Charlotte adventure:

Vegan pimento cheese

Yes, that is VEGAN pimento cheese!

Do you meditate or engage in intentional mindfulness? If so, how did you end up making the practice part of your life?

Now, where was that acorn squash I blabbed about?

After realizing that I failed to include the actual acorn squash recipe that I made during my last post, here it is:

Image

Well, that’s clearly just an acorn squash cut it half. After scouring the Kroger, I was unable to find butternut squash for Black Bean and Butternut Squash Burritos via Oh She Glows. So, a quick substitution gave us: Black Bean and Acorn Squash Burritos. This was, in fact, my first ever acorn squash roasting experiencing.IMAG0965

Hello, beautiful. Threw it in the pan with the onion, garlic, red bell pepper, rice, black beans, spices:

IMAG0966

Delicious. I will certainly try this again with butternut squash (I also did not use any vegan cheese, which may be another fun future experiment. I’m still so on the fence about such product).

Of course, I have now pinned 50+ acorn squash recipes in the last week as the winter of roasting continues (roasting vegetables, that is. Let’s be clear.)

Outside of food news, I’m officially on a running regiment break. I did sign up for the Merge Records 25k in March, and I don’t anticipate any longer races prior to then. So, January will be back to training mode, and in the next 1.5 months, I will embrace my already favorite YMCA classes (BootCamp, Cardio Intervals) and add some others (Yoga, PiYo) to the mix to shake it up. I used to practice yoga much more diligently but slipped away from the activity. I will change this today by venturing into my first PiYo class in at least two or three months.

And, with “Wedding Indecision 2013” looming, I’ll need all the mindfulness of yoga one can achieve. Namaste.