yoga

THE GIFT OF GRATITUDE by Kassandra Horn

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This past week and, well, the past few months left me thinking more than usual about gratitude – about how and where it shows up in my life, habits or behaviors I may be holding onto that take away from it and what practices I could adopt to live and love from a place of abundance.  

Without turning this into a pity party, I can honestly say this year has had its share of ups and downs. I’m frustrated with lot of what’s happening in our country politically and economically. I’m facing a few personal demons and recognizing my responsibility in creating (or not creating) my own happiness. At the same time, I’m experiencing so many wins. And you know what? I’m learning to find gratitude in all of it. No, every day isn’t always an improvement but to the best of my ability I’m no longer hiding from the negatives. I’m listening to the lessons, using them to guide me and moving forward instead of looking back.

Let’s talk a little bit about what’s pushing me closer to my truth:

FAMILY who supports everything I do and loves me unconditionally but also keeps me in line. I love that as I get older our conversations and closeness grow deeper. I can be open about almost anything with them and know that even if we disagree, we appreciate our differences and intend to create a safe space for expression.

FRIENDS who know how to make life’s little moments a little sweeter, who will dance in the streets if the mood strikes, who aren’t afraid to say I love you and pick me up off the floor when my pain is too much to bear. They call me out on my BS, encourage me to pursue passions and remind me that I am imperfectly perfect on the days I don’t see it. 

YOGA for challenging me physically, mentally, emotionally. I’m still terrified to do a handstand on my own but I know one day it will become second nature. For a studio that embraced my ambition this year to make moves, find community and work through my troubles on the mat.

KITTEN for shining a light on the importance of patience and filling my home with consistent affection. On my worst days, he’s there to greet me at the door and won’t leave my side until I’m smiling again. And on my best, he lets me smother him with all my goofiness. Call me a sappy cat lady but making the decision to bring him home was both selfless and selfish.  

LONELINESS for teaching me that you really can provide everything you need. I love my ‘me time.’ Some of my closest will debate with me on this but I am an introvert. I need space to feel whole. I also understand that proving my independence (to myself and others) is not necessary, and that I can ask for help. I think for a long time I believed that If I didn’t have to lean too hard on anyone, I would never get hurt. Of course, that also meant I would miss out on the joy of being truly seen. So, I’m taking this opportunity, this gift of loneliness as a challenge to face my fear of getting too close and I’m excited about what’s on the other side.   

GROWTH for pushing me to discover my own limits, or lack thereof? And to truly realize my power. I still have a lot of work to do, but I can now say I’m excited about that. I’ve always loved learning and for once instead of learning about something outside of me, I’m turning inward to celebrate my strengths and forgive past versions of me as I shed them. Growth has brought me hard times, new friends, non-friends, more awareness and enlightenment than I could have imagined.

What are you thankful for right now? It doesn’t have to be grand or life-changing, positive or negative. It really can be anything that makes you feel.

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If you’re looking for more gratitude in your life, my friend and fellow Wanderlust Ambassador Asal Dean is on a mission to spread kindness at scale with her Gratitudegrams™️ project. She understands the value of showing yourself and others gratitude and is creating the tools for all of us to make an impact. Just think if we each shared something we’re thankful for every day, it might help make the difficult moments a little easier to bear.  

I’m hoping to interview her soon – stay tuned! 

WELCOME TO WANDERLUST by Kassandra Horn

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In case you missed it, in July I joined the brand ambassador program for Wanderlust Hollywood - a gorgeous studio located in the heart of Hollywood on a mission that extends far beyond movement on the mat. Wanderlust is creating a community rooted in mindful living and a safe space for you to explore your unique path to a deeper yoga practice, self-growth and enlightenment - to “find your true north.” I also happen to love all things travel so Wanderlust by every definition speaks to my soul.

As I sat down to write this post, I found myself reminiscing on the first class I took here. I don’t recall the teacher but I ventured outside my comfort zone that morning with the help of my friend Sandy for an unexpected surprise. I’m telling you the energy and peace I felt when I walked into this place is unprecedented. And I’ve tried quite a few different yoga studios and styles in this lifetime.

For one, the interior design is ON POINT. I’m immediately relaxed and drawn to the aesthetically pleasing bookshelves and merchandise dressing the entryway. They also have an inviting outdoor patio and cafe with a menu committed to eating local, sustainable and ethical while remaining delicious. I crave their Stumptown coffee - a little taste of the familiar Pacific Northwest - smoothies and bowls hardcore. And then there’s the most beautiful studio layouts with names like ‘The Greatest Place’ and ‘The Haven.’

But the teachers… The humans are the gravitational pull that would eventually point me back here with a bigger purpose. The ones I choose to lead me on this journey radiate with positivity, soul and intention every time they step into the room. They work so hard at what they do and it’s evident in the messages they bring forth to carry beyond the class and into our every day. They align with my own personal values of curiosity, kindness and integrity. Put it this way — next to practicing in Ubud, Bali, looking out into the jungle with birds chirping in my ear, this is as good as it gets.

Watching the studio evolve, attending classes on and off during the past two years as I navigated in and out of my own growing pains, makes me even more grateful be part of this world and to help them celebrate three years in LA this month. Do I think it’s a coincidence? No way! They’re really onto something with this true north business. :)

Have I convinced you to check it out for yourself? Read on for a deeper dive with the Wanderlust team in NY and LA, plus some fave photos of the studio. I’m incredibly thankful to them for the insightful Q&A and hope you find something here that inspires you to drop by and see us.

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What are three words that embody the spirit of Wanderlust Hollywood?

“Curious. Passionate. Engaged.”  

What does it mean to"'Find your true north"?

“To quest both inside yourself and out in the world to discover the things that reveal your highest purpose in this lifetime.”

How would you describe the Wanderlust festival experience to someone who's never been?

“Your days are filled with classes, lectures, and adventures in nature, and your evenings are filled with music, food and community.”

What is your inspiration for new dishes added to the cafe menu?

“We are a farm to table scratch cooking cafe - So the season definitely gets our creative juices flowing, both in selecting the key ingredients and also as we envision an experience that we are creating.  A meal is so much more than just it’s ingredients- it’s truly a source of community and health!”

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What are five Wanderlust goodies you can't live without?

“We love our early morning heated flows, gluten free banana bread muffins, dirty chai’s in the morning with almond milk, sitting outside on the patio with friends, and watching the sunset from the rooftop.”

How is Wanderlust Hollywood growing its presence in the Los Angeles/Hollywood community?

“By continuing to connect with new communities and companies whom we align with, and continuing to understand what is new in the world of yoga, wellness, and delicious food, all while maintaining our core values and staying true to our roots. We love making new friends, and do so everyday! Whether we are out in the community sharing the Wanderlust vision and hosting offsite classes, or welcoming someone new into the space, we love a juicy new connection.”

What are some key attributes of a Wanderlust yoga instructor?

“First of all, a good teacher has to be passionate about transmitting their own experience.  Then they need intelligence, compassion, and dedication… especially to make it through the long days of driving from one teaching gig to another.”

How do you come up with the focus of your Workshops?

“With workshops we aim to illuminate the less explored aspects of the Yoga practice - or the other 7 limbs of the 8 limbed path.  In a ‘regular’ asana class, we don’t ever get to dive too deeply into meditation or pranayama or the other more contemplative practices, or the more technical parts of the practice like anatomy or philosophy.  We also offer teacher oriented intensives - because a good teacher is a perennial student.”

Wanderlust Interviewees:

  • Sage Miller, Community Marketing Manager

  • Kimberly Small, Director of Publicity