A little over a month ago I received an email from Wanderlust informing me of a new yoga and meditation center that would be opening in Hollywood this summer. If you’re not familiar, Wanderlust is an organization that puts on a yoga and music festival which occurs in over many cities worldwide. I volunteered Wanderlust Squaw Valley last year and had an amazing time handing out gondola tickets in flip flops during a hail storm and making eye contact with perfect strangers! Seriously, I have such fond memories of my experiences at the festival that I was intrigued by the idea of a permanent, year-round center to practice yoga, meditate and hang out with cool like-minded yogis!
Wanderlust Hollywood finally opened last Friday and I went to check out the 12pm Fixx class. When I first arrived I didn’t realize there was a parking lot, so I did what I would normally do in Hollywood…drive around for 10-15 minutes, praying for a spot and translating confusing parking signs. Luckily, I did find one and was able to make it to class in time. The entrance to the building has a cool wooden sign and I was able to capture a cute photo for Instagram with sun rays spilling into the frame 🙂
After checking in the women at the front desk directed me to “The Haven,” the yoga room on the third floor. There were some cubbies to put personal items and another wall of props including blocks, bolsters, blankets and even yoga mats to borrow. The instructor, Alex Dawson, started us in a seated position and gave as an opportunity to connect with our breath and set an intention for the practice. She mentioned how she had put “Wanderlust” on her vision board a year ago and now she is teaching there. Just an example of how our intentions and mindfulness can really work like magic sometimes!
She led us through a few flowing movements with prayers hands before getting us into some standing poses. The flow was just challenging enough to feel like I did some work during the 45 minute class but when it ended, I only wished it were longer! Wanderlust does have longer classes on their schedule so I’m definitely going to check out one of those!
After class, I wandered around a bit, exploring the second floor where the meditation is located. The room itself consists of a bunch of meditation stools that sit close the ground. I’m looking forward to attending one of their meditations soon.
Just outside the meditation room there’s a hallway covered in paintings of Buddha, part of an ongoing art project by Amanda Giacomini to paint 10,000 Buddhas. I really liked her inspiration for the project and what she says about it:
The image of many Buddhas sitting together speaks to the ability within all of us to become enlightened. As Thich Nhat Hanh says, “You have to do it yourself, no one can do it alone.” It’s a beautiful message: while we each have to do our own work, the power of practicing in community is undeniable.
Also, this “silence please, getting sit done” sign is adorable and I want one:
As I was wandering I ran into Monica, the studio director and yoga teacher, who offered to give me a tour. She showed me the library, where members can go to study, learn and hold meetings. A few things around the building were still getting finished up and she promised the bookshelves would be filled before long. She also showed me the private rooftop hangout which will also be for members only once it’s completed.
After my tour, I grabbed some lunch at the cafe. I sat on the cafe’s patio which is surrounded by plants that provide just enough shade with a sprinkling of sun shining through. The space somehow manages to boast a really peaceful vibe despite it’s location on Highland Blvd, one of Hollywood’s busiest streets. Each table was adorned with fresh flowers and the wait staff checked often to refill my mason jar with water. I really enjoyed eating lunch there while browsing through their artfully-crafted journal (pictured below).
I was a little bummed they didn’t have more vegan options on their summer menu. To be fair, many of items were vegan if you ask for no cheese. But even the avocado toast had egg on it! For some reason I suppose I expected a place like Wanderlust to offer up a more compassionate menu. Though I remember being similarly dissapointed by the “Cook Like You Care” lecture I attended at the Squaw Valley Festival last year. That being said, the vegan option I ordered was very inventive and delicious. The grilled mushrooms offered up a nice smoky flavor, while the other veggies provided a nice crunch. My only complaint is that the portion was fairly small for the price ($11).
Overall, my experience at Wanderlust Hollywood was really wonderful! I’m glad to have met some new smiling faces and found a welcoming space to explore my yoga practice.