On Saturday I went to the Wanderlust Yoga Block Party at the Piazza at Schmidt’s in the northern liberties neighborhood of Philly. There were many awesome things about it! (The awesomest part, of course, being that I got to spend the afternoon with Sarah Trout Martyn.)
Sarah and I took the 2:30 class. The first half of the class, taught by Brittany Policastro and Maura Manzo, was a fun vinyasa practice and a great workout. I really liked the way Maura strung poses together in a sequence that made sense but that I never would have thought of on my own. On the down side, I felt like she moved a little too quickly from pose to pose. Don’t get me wrong, I was happy for a vinyasa practice, but with my mat sliding on the ground, my feet sliding on the mat, and my stuff and other people’s stuff sliding onto the mat and making it buckle, it took a little longer for me to hit a pose, and by the time I got there, I had no time to take an inhale before I needed to flow onward. I felt like I was constantly behind and trying to catch up, which was frustrating. I don’t love a super fast pace for vinyasa anyway, but I can do it if I don’t constantly have to straighten my mat and push my bag out of the way. I don’t think the instructors realized that having so many people and their stuff in the space would create some limitations to moving so quickly.
At the end of their segment, Brittany got everybody up, brought us in towards the center, and got everyone dancing. For me this was kind of eh. Some people were totally on board, and Brittany seemed to get a jolt out of the crowd’s energy, but I just wasn’t really feeling it. This may be related to the fact that I am sensitive about walking on other people’s mats; I have a wart on my foot so I don’t want to leave wart virus to infect innocent feet. I don’t know if that’s even possible, but warts suck and I don’t wish them on anyone I would meet at a yoga festival, so I get paranoid when asked to leave my mat and walk over other people’s mats. I’m guessing that feeling was jarring enough for me that I couldn’t get into the dancing.
The second half of our class was taught by Allie Conover and Nicole Cucinotta. Allie opened their segment by asking “Is everybody ready for some Baptiste Power Yoga?!” After having my butt kicked during the first half of class, my inner response was something like, “No, actually, not really, I’d like my savasana now, thanks!” But I persevered! I’d never done Baptiste power yoga before. Apparently it involves using your down dog as a vehicle for crunches and completing twenty bridges/wheels in a row. It felt very fitness-oriented, is what I’m saying. I loved Allie’s energy, though! Her personality really came through in her teaching.
Overall, the yoga class itself didn’t give me that burst of peacefulness that I come to yoga for. My upper arms are still sore three days later, though, and that’s important too! And it was pretty amazing practicing yoga with a thousand other people. That was probably the coolest part, seeing the pose I was doing mirrored on hundreds of other bodies all around me, and seeing just how many people in my area came out to celebrate yoga.
Other perks of the festival included free popsicles from a truck sponsored by Lululemon (I had two and preferred the lime mint), demonstrations of acroyoga and hoop yoga, and, of course, having a smoothie and a granola bar with my buddy and chatting about yoga and teaching and being a mom. And while I don’t know that I’d want to go to another big festival, I’m really glad I went to this one!