Wandering together

Not all those who wander are lost, but if you found yourself directionally challenged at Wanderlust 108’s “mindful triathlon” Saturday, there were plenty of gurus to point the way. Southside Park was flooded with a sea of yoga mats for Sacramento’s second installment of this nontraditional tri that included a 5K run, live music, yoga and meditation. The retreat, which happens in cities internationally throughout the year, attracted a seriously religious following of folks who had flown in from across the country to multitask on their modes of relaxation.

Face painting under the 5K wooden arch began the day and was sought after by almost every attendee, making it seem like an obligatory step to become a full-fledged participant. Groups in homemade matching T-shirts walked, while a few runners gave it all they had. A small dog in its own running bib stood on the sideline to cheer by panting.

Before the yoga leg, Alli Forsythe (the emcee of the day) started a dance party scored by DJ Sol Rising. Yogi-runners were encouraged to jump up and down (ants, beware!), to hug their neighbors and to embrace the day … all while barefoot.

“When was the last time you got unconditional love, and when was the last time you gave it away?” Chelsey Korus asked before leading yoga. The day’s theme was “cultivating your best self,” and Korus had the crowd of more than 1,000 trying to do just that.

And yet, in plank position, everyone was encouraged to laugh from their core at the people who came in late and had to lay their mats near the port-a-potties. The flow (of the yogic sort) continued as faces were smashed against downward-dog butts—tight quarters to test everyone’s tolerance of odors.

“It’s like this now,” Korus kept repeating. It was like hundreds of participants putting their hands on their neighbors’ backs while taking tree pose—balancing on one foot. I was tempted to yell “Timber!” to create a domino effect of yogis. Mindfulness stopped me.

“Take appropriate actions for pleasant experiences, knowing they are impermanent,” said Noah Levine, a Buddhist teacher who led the meditation. Levine emphasized the need to train the heart and mind to just let go. Letting go wasn’t hard, especially for the snorers: Can we say nirvana?

Next, attendees could sign up for other classes like hooping. For those who had never smeared a hula hoop (no, that is not code for bagel), this was the class. I learned how to pop my leg out into a gymnastic bow pretty well. The three on-duty cops seemed to agree as they smiled—because of the display of talent or oddity we’ll never know.

The day rounded out with “mindful” commerce: Booths sold items like homemade jewelry and the food you might imagine a yogi would eat, like avocado bowls. Samples of kombucha were passed out like Halloween candy.

“Love is contagious,” Korus said. So is the New Age lifestyle.