Sean Hoess, co-founder, Wanderlust Festival

How he turned the yoga boom into a healthy, eco-friendly party

“We were trying to create something that was a lifestyle movement, not talent driven,” Hoess says in our podcast. (Photo courtesy of Wanderlust)

Coachella for yogis? These days, with the health-and-wellness industry now worth trillions of dollars globally, it’s not hard to imagine something so mainstream. That’s exactly what Sean Hoess, co-founder of Wanderlust Festival did several years ago, as the craze heated up. Hoess founded Wanderlust in 2009 with Jeff Krasno and Schuyler Grant, fusing the trio’s experiences in both the music business and the yoga community. Prior to Wanderlust, Hoess and Krasno were the co-founders of Velour Recordings and Grant, Krasno’s wife, was a popular yoga instructor who led out-of-town yoga retreats.

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The three sought to create a healthier and more eco-friendly alternative to the festival experience without compromising on fun, which they felt nobody else was tapping into. “We realized that people were willing to spend all of their disposable income first and foremost on experiences and particularly experiences that were aligned with their health and values and beliefs,” Hoess tells us in our podcast. At Wanderlust retreats it’s yoga, not music, that is the daily focus, with music at night. “We were trying to create something that was a lifestyle movement, not talent driven,” Hoess says. Other activities include hiking, meditation, speakers, and workshops led by noteworthy yogis from all over the world.

Wanderlust participants assume the warrior pose (Photo by Julianne Lesinski/Courtesy of Wanderlust)

Originally conceived as a weekend festival in California, Wanderlust has since grown to eight multi-day festival retreats and dozens of single-day events known as “mindful triathlons.” Wanderlust also operates four yoga studios in Hollywood and Squaw Valley, Calif., as well as Austin and Montreal. Earlier this year, the company launched an activewear collection with Adidas.

Sustainability is a crucial component of the Wanderlust experience. Hoess and his team have devoted a lot of energy making Wanderlust events as close as possible to having zero impact on the environment. This includes recycling and composting, power from biodiesel generators, as well as carbon offsets. The organization sources local food for its events and hopes to offer a ride-sharing program soon. The next festival is scheduled to take place in Oahu, Hawaii, in March 2018. –By Kim Thornton