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A Workbook For The Modern Yogi

What can those with the traveling gene do when faced with circumstances that disrupt their abilites to take flight and leave? Turn the exploration inwards—a journey of the self, through the self, to the self.

According to Brooklyn resident, yogi, and co-founder of Wanderlust, Jeff Krasno, yoga is more than Lululemon and fancy mats. It’s a way to cultivate one’s inner development. So, to help navigate this path, he wrote a book, Wanderlust: A Modern Yogi’s Guide To Discovering Your Best Self, with the help of some pretty heavy hitters.

Inspired by the interactive workbook style of The Artist’s Way and the elegance of The Art of Attention, Krasno, along with co-authors Sarah Herrington and Nicole Lindstrom, create an enticing collection of photographs, essays, asana sequences—using stick figures!—projects, and playlists.

“Recipes for living,” is how he describes it. To help write it, he called on an esteemed group of

contributors—including Dharma Mittra, Sharon Salzberg, Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa, and Krishna Das—to add their wisdom to the kettle.

YogaCity NYC’s Elysha Lenkin spoke with Krasno to learn more about his path.

Elysha Lenkin: How did a festival become a book on actualizing your best self?

Jeff Krasno: The book serves the same goal that the festival serves, which is to help people find their "true norths." The book reflects almost all of the people that have been at the festival— different yoga teachers, lecturers, chefs, philosophers, and progressive politicians—and is a cauldron of ideas and practices that will hopefully inspire people to live healthy and mindful lives. So the book is just the same idea as the festival, but it’s in a different form—one that people can take home.

EL: From pranayama techniques to tips on creating a vision board, there are numerous ways to approach this material. What’s the best way to navigate the book?

JK: It’s certainly not a "cover-to-cover" book. I think it can read that way, but different things are going to appeal to different people. Reading the introduction is helpful as it creates context for the rest of the book, especiallu for people who don’t know about the festivals, or what Wanderlust is. Other than that, there are different places to pop into it. Some things are really dense, and you may not want to always read about Patanjali. Or maybe you don’t care about cultivating a deep meditation practice right now, but you still want something inspirational. I think people are going to dog-ear pages, and come back to places that stick out to them.

I just open it up in different places, and if the moment captures me, I’ll start reading. And if it doesn’t, I’ll close it and open it back up.

EL: What is your favorite part?

JK: I gravitate towards the farmer Joel Salatin—I’m a huge fan. He writes this one thing, “What can you do?” He talks about how the human condition is really just the aggregate of billions of little choices, and when you start to look at it that way, you see a domino effect. I think it’s a really positive way to look at the challenges that confront the human condition. It's empowering to grow your own basil plant, or, if you know how, to cook a beet, because then you become a proselytizer for change. Then you can start to bend the arc of all those little decisions that you make every day.

EL: With over 50 contributors in the book, what is the thread that links these people together and what drew you to them?

JK: I address that in the first sentence of the introduction. I think it’s very germane to Wanderlust’s vision.

What does a yogi from New Jersey, a congressman from Ohio, a DJ from L.A., and a farmer from Virginia all have in common? Wanderlust, of course. But really, it's yoga. What we're trying to do, in some ways, is redefine yoga—it's not just something you practice on your mat, but a broader principle for living. And by living this mindful life, there is a thread—doing yoga, going to the farmer's market, acting as an ethical consumer, cooking your own food. Wanderlust is trying to be that thread so people see those lifestyle choices in a holistic way, and not as disparate parts.

EL: What exactly is your "True North"?

JK: It’s the notion of your best self, but it’s not exactly "north"—it’s a little bit "off-north," and that is the journey. The compass is the navigational device, and if your compass is a tiny bit off at the beginning, you can skew pretty far away, so you’re constantly recalibrating your journey. It’s not a straight, beautiful line, and you never really get there, but it's about the process. It’s like Pattabi Jois’ quote, “Practice and all is coming.” It’s the joy of finding that thing you love, and what you’re passionate about. It’s esentially a Venn diagram—here is what your passion is, and here is what you’re doing, and you’re living in the intersection. And that’s the true north.

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