Though dark clouds hovered ominously, the parade of yoga-mat-toting festivalgoers trekking from the subway to Brooklyn’s Prospect Park proved that rain or shine, Wanderlust 108 was not to be missed. And they were right. The event was nothing short of uplifting: a day of live music, yoga, guided meditation, inspiring speakers, and a 5K run for those who were feeling super-ambitious.
Wanderlust’s core mission is to create community around mindful living. In Hinduism, Buddhism, and Judaism, “108” is considered a sacred or auspicious number—symbolizing harmony, hope, and unity—a concept directly aligned with Wanderlust 108’s overall philosophy. “This was an opportunity for us to dig in and really push our limits to create a new experience that can keep Wanderlust on the cutting edge,” co-founder Jeff Krasnos told Well & Good.
From the enthusiastic hula-hoopers, artists weaving flower crowns, and pair of gentlemen offering free haikus, it was clear that at Wanderlust 108, no form of expression was discouraged. Local businesses as well as established companies set up tents, and attendees were free to sample everything from Japanese-inspired tacos to the current issue of Health magazine.
Hundreds of people gathered for guided meditation led by Elena Brower, Virayoga founder and author of The Art of Attention. Some participants were relaxing after the 5K run, others preparing their minds for the group yoga to come. Brower’s ability to connect and authentically engage with hundreds of people, making each participant feel at ease in the crowd, was quite remarkable.
Mindfulness champion Dan Harris was the first speaker. A Nightline news anchor and Good Morning America Weekend correspondent, Harris discovered meditation after having a panic attack on live TV in 2004. Since then, he’s embraced meditation as therapy, an experience he wrote about in 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works—A True Story. As he told the Wanderlust 108 audience, “If it can work for a fidgety, anxious newsman, it can work for you.”
Another unlikely mindfulness and meditation convert, Congressman Tim Ryan also explained his dedication to promoting the benefits of the practice. Ryan, author of A Mindful Nation: How a Simple Practice Can Help Us Reduce Stress, Improve Performance, and Recapture the American Spirit, is a proponent of using mindfulness meditation as a tool to aid returning soldiers and veterans with reintegration as well as a therapy to combat addiction, depression, and other mental health challenges. “These practices help us become more aware, allow us to fully participate in the present, and give us the ability to observe without judging,” explained Ryan.
Another yoga luminary, Seane Corn guided the crowd through meditation and series of yoga postures as a chilly drizzle began to fall. Corn has not only traveled the world teaching yoga, but is also a co-founder of the program Off the Mat, Into the World, dedicated to initiating social change through the positive benefits of yoga. She didn’t shy away from the spiritual aspects of the practice and her technique of encouraging each of us to set an intention for each movement helped everyone stay focused despite the intensifying rain.
As the excellent beats of MC Yogi (aka Nick Giacomini) and yoga teacher turned spin-master DJ Drez resonated across the park, we left Wanderlust 108 cold and muddy, but rewired and inspired nonetheless.