Northern Liberties: Yogis Unite At Wanderlust

The Piazza at Schmidt’s hosted Philadelphia’s second annual Wanderlust, a free all-day festival with hundreds in attendance, earlier this month. The day was designed to merge participation and appreciation of yoga culture.

Bridgette Mooney demonstrates the Vinyasa “Three-Legged Dog” pose.

Wanderlust is a yoga festival that travels around the world. The gala showcased six prominent instructors from the Philadelphia area, each of whom taught a 30 minute class. Sessions included Kundalini, Vinyasa, Ashtanga, AcroYoga and aerial yoga.

“My favorite experience of the day was during the Kundlini yoga class,” said Liz Trost. “We sat behind our partners, back-to-back, and were able to help each other breathe, meditate and focus on what the other person desired in life. It showed the importance of being connected to others as well as yourself.”

Instructor Justin Reilley, known as “The Tattooed Yogi,” featured his set with intricate movements that revolved around handstands and handstand prep.

“Yoga is a way for me to use every opportunity, good or bad, as a way to progress myself,” Reilley said. “I use it as a way to connect with myself and a means to connect with my spirituality.”

Yogis practice the importance of breathing.

“Wanderlust combines yoga, music, good energy, meditation, friends, public speakers and local healthy lifestyle vendors to create one big party and positive experience,” said Devin Clark. “It is such a cool place to roll out your yoga mat and learn something new about yourself and your community while enhancing your health and yoga practice.”

Liz Trost experiments the “Flying Bow” pose for the first time.

Diana and John Vitarelli, owners of Dhyana Yoga, have taught at Wanderlust for the past two years.

“My husband and I shared a time slot, so there was a moment when he was done and I was taking over and teaching and I handed off our two-year-old to him,” said Diana. “I remember thinking ‘How cool is this?’ We have the best job ever, teaching yoga, and our whole family gets to be together while we do it. We are very grateful.”

Bridgette Mooney learns that trust is essential for partner yoga.

Amidst the physical activity, Wanderlust exhibited various charities and organization tents.

Africa Yoga Project is a nonprofit that provides yoga instructors and classes to schools and prisons in Africa,” said Laura Flenders. “Being a part of my own Africa/Yoga experience this year made me even more excited to learn about another one and donate to their cause.”

A study from Yoga Journal revealed that 20.4 Americans practice yoga. In 2013, Forbes ranked Philadelphia as third in their “Top 10 U.S. Cities For Yoga.” As the yoga trend continues to boom, organizers predict Philadelphia will remain on the Wanderlust roster.

– Text and images by Vicki Kistler and Jake Cleary.

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