Vitality 3 Ways Wanderlust Made Me Love My Body I knew that this trip would be invigorating for me, but it got me to connect with my body in ways that I had forgotten By Noel Jane Bourg Photo by Ali Kaukas. Attend a Wanderlust Festival! I recently attended my first Wanderlust Festival at Stratton. I laughed, I cried, I meditated. I listened to brilliant minds speak. I rode up 4,000 feet, over the most green, beautiful mountains I have ever seen. I shared hugs, tears, and glow sticks and danced my booty off. I knew that this trip would be invigorating for me, but it got me to connect with my body in ways that I had forgotten. As a health coach, I help women love their bodies. By being present in the bodies that we have, we can become more present in our lives. These are the three ways Wanderlust Stratton made me love my body even more: 1. Seeing diverse women in diverse pants. It’s easy to believe that everyone out there doing yoga is a skinny young white lady. Wanderlust in Stratton taught me that not only are there plenty of different women of varying sizes, ages, shapes, ethnicities, and backgrounds, but also that yoga pants most certainly do not come only in black. I’m telling you I saw every kind of person in every kind of yoga pant: forest pants, galaxy pants, river pants, tie-dye pants, see-through pants, and pants that make you dance. If you could name the pant, I saw it. This is something I LOVE to see. None of these people were ashamed to wear yoga pants. And the diversity of pants styles was matched by the diversity of yogis. Studies show that seeing more diverse bodies makes people more comfortable with diverse bodies. So, just being around lots of different people and lots of different pants, I felt a little more comfortable being myself. 2. Dancing with a hula hoop. I’ll admit that at first, I was skeptical of “hooping,” but after I saw Shakti Sunfire’s performance at the “Wanderlust Spectacular,” my curiosity was piqued. She made something I thought was silly look graceful and even sexy. During her class, she reminded us several times that it was all about play. Instead of pre-choreographed dance movements, she taught us the basics of moving the hoop and reminded us that “it’s just dancing” and we didn’t need to feel frustrated. I had the opportunity to express my body. I didn’t feel any pressure to fit into one kind of dancing. I felt grateful for my own body and rhythm. I got to play and feel pretty, dancing in a field with a hula-hoop. Sometimes it’s fun to play in your body and feel grateful for the way it moves and connects to the beat. It’s nice to feel sexy in ways that are related to movement instead of shape. 3. Making to a lot (and I mean a LOT) of yoga classes. Wanderlust does not joke around when it comes to physical activity. It’s four long days of yoga classes, meditation classes, hiking, dancing, drinking, and playing. One could easily spend all day with only 20 minutes in between each class from 8 am until 9 pm and then go out celebrating and dancing until midnight. Caring for your body so that you can be present for four days of activity is vital. Knowing when to push and when to back off is critical to becoming an intuitive eater and lover of your body. That being said, I knew right away that I needed to tune in to what felt right to me. I took some advice from other yogis but also paid attention to the experience I wanted to create. It’s why I got to be in the room with just a few people to see Bill McKibben talk about climate change or stand three feet away from Lee Fields on stage. It’s how I ended up swimming in a gorgeous lake virtually by myself. However, I did attempt to drag a few stand-up paddleboard yogis in there with me. Yoga has led me to discover that movement in my body does not have to be about suffering and pain. It reminds me to listen to what is happening in my body, to breathe, and be present. It just feels good to live and move in your body. It was a wonderful reminder to me to be grateful for this incredible body that moves me, balances me, grounds me, inverts me, walks me, and dances me across the Earth. — Noel Jane Bourg is a certified holistic health counselor. Her coaching practice helps women quit dieting and embrace their bodies. For free advice on how to take back control of food, visit her website: noeljane.com.