Experience the Spirit of Community at the 2008 Inner IDEA® Conference

by Mary Monroe on May 28, 2008

Take a life-changing personal journey with other fitness and wellness professionals who are passionate about integrating mind, body and spirit into a powerful new model for health.

The first annual Inner IDEA gathering, held 2 years ago, was designed to be a new kind of fitness conference, one that was more like a retreat than a convention, that embodied mindfulness from the Opening Ceremony to the close. Where other industry events were primarily action oriented, this one would emphasize inner wellness along with movement, encouraging participants to take a deeper look into themselves as they explored the cutting edge of mind-body-spirit health.

“The response was amazing right from the beginning,” recalls Peter Davis, Inner IDEA co-founder. “We found that many of our members wanted an opportunity like this to immerse themselves in the study and practice of wellness on all levels—and they wanted to connect with other people who had the same passion and intention.”

The second Inner IDEA event was also a huge success, and both events earned a record-breaking satisfaction rating of 97%. Inner IDEA had quickly become something of an industry phenomenon, but perhaps more importantly, a community was born.

“Participants tell us that one of the things they love the most is the feeling of being part of a community,” says Kathie Davis, co-founder of the event. “Inner IDEA gives people the time and space they need to really make connections with each other. They get to know each other. They share their personal stories, their experiences and challenges with clients, and their vision for a more integrative approach to health and wellness. Everyone is on a personal path, but for the 3 days of Inner IDEA, attendees really get to share the journey together.”

That was the inspiration for this year’s theme, A Community in Motion.

“We’ve discovered that this is a very motivated, dedicated, powerful community of people,” says Peter Davis. “They are leading the way into a new era, and a new consciousness about what being healthy really means. They are creating an exciting force of knowledge, creativity and compassion that is already having a powerful impact around the world.”

Education, Celebration, Personal Journey

The third annual Inner IDEA Conference will return to the beautiful, secluded desert sanctuary of La Quinta Resort & Club in Palm Springs, California, September 11–14. The event will again be an immersion experience that engages all five senses through ritual, nature, movement, meditation, visualization, music, silence, the power of spirit and much more. Through­out the 3 days, the emphasis will be on a noncompetitive, nonjudg­mental environment and a culture of acceptance that honors the needs and interests of individual participants.

The heart of Inner IDEA is its innovative and eclectic program of more than 150 diverse sessions on groundbreaking topics in wellness.

“This is our biggest and strongest program ever,” says Marcia Hayes, programming director for Inner IDEA. “This has become the premier industry event for in-depth study of mind-body-spirit topics, and we are drawing top names in the field to present on our faculty.”

Hayes explains that mindfulness is at the core of everything that happens from the first moment to the last—and it does not happen by accident. “This is a unique event because of our 100% commitment to the mindful approach and the 10 principles of the event. People may not realize that we make sure in advance that every presenter and every session integrates the Inner IDEA philosophy of mindful practice. And it goes beyond the sessions to the location, the pacing of the program, even the meals. Our goal is for attendees to have a nurturing, life-enriching, fully engaging experience from the second they arrive.”

As Hayes says, Inner IDEA is also designed to allow participants to customize the experience to their own needs. “Some attendees are most excited about the opportunity to learn new skills and techniques that will increase their effectiveness with clients and help them meet professional and business goals. Some participants are looking more for personal growth and discovery or making connections with other attendees. And some people really want to have more of a private retreat experience and just restore and rejuvenate themselves through the process. We encourage people to have the experience that is most valuable to them in the moment.”

Advanced, Diverse Wellness Curriculum

What makes the Inner IDEA experience so rare—and so highly rated by its participants? The answer is presence. Each Inner IDEA session and instructor is selected for effectiveness in providing a mindful, balanced experience that acknowledges and uplifts mind, body and spirit. The Inner IDEA curriculum challenges existing paradigms with cutting-edge topics and research.

Here are some highlights:

Pilates. Look for the newest trends and developments in the Pilates field. You’ll find more sessions than ever before, reformer and mat, beginner to advanced, for mainstream and special-interest markets. Expect the latest equipment, leading instructors and the most innovative techniques from STOTT PILATES®, Balanced Body®, Peak Pilates®and more.

Yoga. Enjoy everything from restorative yoga to inversions; from laughing yoga to yoga and sound healing; from strength training to yoga therapy—and much more, encompassing all styles and skill levels.

Nia®. Choose from a wide range of Nia programs, including sessions that focus on movement, healing techniques, sounding (blending voice and breath) and awakening the sacred athlete within.

Gyrotonic® and Gyrokinesis®. Explore introductory sessions for both individual and group training.

Integrative Movement. Pick from creative programs that include “Buddha Camp,” chakra study, tai chi, qigong, Feldenkrais®, stone therapy and many more.

Mindfulness and Meditation. Parti­cipate in labyrinth meditations, mindful walking, a moon meditation and other awareness-enhancing activities.

Health, Nutrition, Research & Well­ness. Learn about the latest wellness research trials; strategies to enhance fat metabolism and weight loss; relaxation techniques; and more.

Business, Careers and Lifestyle Coach­ing. Join sessions on mind-body-spirit wellness career planning, spiritual aspects of business, how to become a brilliant facilitator, the Tao of negotiation and other professional and business development topics in the holistic health field.

Special Guests and Moments

The Inner IDEA community will gather for the first time on Thursday evening, September 11, when the Opening Ceremony will set the stage for an inspiring experience.

This year’s featured keynote speaker is Patrick Gentempo Jr., DC, world-renowned presenter, successful chiropractor and one of the most prominent names in alternative health care. A two-time Amateur Athletic Union national karate champion, he is the co-founder and chief executive officer of the Creating Wellness Alliance, which has more than 230 Creating Wellness Centers in three countries. Gentempo has been featured on television programs on ABC, PBS and the Discovery Channel. He was selected to give testimony to the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

Gentempo will explore how wellness professionals can play a critical role in the wellness revolution to turn today’s failing healthcare model around—and how they can leverage opportunities to their business or career advantage.

Another Opening Ceremony highlight will be a meditation led by special guest Swami Veda Bharati, spiritual director of Sadhana Mandir Ashram (founded by Swami Rama) in Rishikesh, India, and spiritual guide of the worldwide organization AHYMSIN (Association of Himalayan Yoga Meditation Societies International). Swami Veda Bharati has taught meditation and yoga philosophy since the age of nine.

Also included in the Opening Ceremony will be the presentation of the 2008 Inner IDEA Inspiration Award, which recognizes individuals whose outstanding leadership in the wellness field has inspired people toward mindful activity and a healthy lifestyle.

This year’s award recipients are Frank and Serpil Iszak, founders of Silver Age Yoga Community Outreach in San Diego. They have trained more than 100 yoga teachers in geriatric science–based yoga. Since the start of the project 4 years ago, over 4,000 free weekly yoga classes have been held at 23 sites in San Diego.

Following the Opening Ceremony, all Inner IDEA participants are invited to an outdoor Welcome Reception featuring healthy, light fare.

Throughout Inner IDEA, the meal experiences will give participants the chance to explore the joy of mindful eating. Meals will include fresh, healthy lunches and nourishing outdoor breakfasts on Friday and Saturday, with the option of a hosted silent breakfast on each of these days.

Finally, there will be several special evening programs, including a healing moonlight meditation held outdoors.

New In-Depth Training Offered

This year Inner IDEA attendees can select from two new all-day preconference workshops:

“Happiness Coaching: It’s in Our DNA” with Margaret Moore, MBA. Can you build your own “happiness DNA”? Moore says “yes” in this intriguing session that coaches you on how to build your own DNA of well-being. Moore will explore four components of well-being: energy (physical wellness); emotions (resilience, emotional intelligence and balancing positive and negative emotions); strengths (developing talents); and meaning (visions, values and higher purpose).

“Creating and Deepening Your Yoga Practice” (All Skill Levels) with Michele Hébert and Mehrad Nazari, PhD. This comprehensive workshop from the joyful raja yoga tradition will support and enhance your current practice, emphasizing balance and the inner practices of yoga. This consciousness-based journey will guide you to the essence of the yoga experience, as you study pranayama (breathwork), asanas and their related psychology, inner dimensions of mindfulness, concentration, chakra balancing and meditation.

Inspiring Inner Awakening

Time to breathe, think and feel.

A chance for meaningful connection.

A serene environment that fosters reflection.

A scenic desert setting to relax and recharge.

These are some of the Inner IDEA characteristics that past attendees have most appreciated. Their unique perspectives reflect how Inner IDEA has touched their personal and professional lives. Here are just a few examples of how participants have described the Inner IDEA experience:

“I learned to be in the Now—to fully appreciate and experience right where I am at every given moment. I found that it’s okay for me to enjoy the process of living my dreams. I may not be where I am going, but I’m much further than I thought.”

“I discovered that I am proud to be a pioneer in integrative fitness and to let it shine—because I have real value to share with others.”

“Wow, I actually have the power to relax—what a joy! In the past it has taken me so long to ‘switch gears,’ but here, I was able to do so faster than ever before.”

“I was inspired by the dedication of the Inner IDEA mission and how it has resisted temptation to be more traditional. I really loved the silent breakfast and also appreciated the pacing and sense of abundance. I never felt that I had to hurry to claim my space.”

“I most enjoyed the level of education and accomplishments of many of the presenters, who are the top leaders in their field.”

“What did I enjoy most? The people, people, people!”

“The shared knowledge and expertise among the presenters, staff and participants was amazing. It was a consistently uplifting and motivating experience. All the experiences were woven together like a beautiful tapestry, and every thread supported the others.”

SIDEBAR: Inner IDEA Planning Details

When: September 11–14, 2008

Where: La Quinta Resort & ClubPalm Springs, California

49-499 Eisenhower Drive

La Quinta, CA 92253

Phone: (760) 564-4111

(800) 598-3828

Registration Fee: $595 before July 25, 2008

$645 after July 25, 2008

On-site: $675 (Note that the

event may be sold out.)

Preconference fees are extra.

Special Room Rate: Single/Double $160, inclusive of resort fee, plus applicable state and local taxes. Rate is based on availability and is good until Friday, August 15, 2008.

For More Information: See www.inneridea.com or call (800) 462-1876.

Gather a group of five friends and the sixth person is free!

SIDEBAR: Not to Be Missed at 2008 Inner IDEA

introduction of the latest Pilates equipment from STOTT PILATES, Balanced Body and Peak Pilates

two breakout sessions with 2007 Inner IDEA keynote presenter, Pamela Peeke, MD, MPH, FACP

a session with 2007 Inner IDEA Inspiration Award winner, Deborah Szekely, founder of Rancho La Puerta and the Golden Door spas

back by popular demand: labyrinth walking meditation (held outdoors)

a meditation with Swami Veda Bharati

These sessions are new for 2008:

  • STOTT PILATES Essential Pilates on the Edge™
  • SHAKTI 2008: The Experience
  • Yoga Power and Tai Chi Grace
  • Happiness Coaching: It’s in Our DNA (preconference workshop)
  • Creating and Deepening Your Yoga Practice (preconference workshop)
  • Pilates, Biomechanics and Reality
  • The New Balance
  • Buddha Camp
  • Sound Healing and Yoga
  • Relax Deeply With Autogenic Training
  • Silver Age Yoga
  • It’s Easy Being Green
  • Winning at Losing: The Truth About Successful Weight Loss
  • Awaken Your Senses
  • Nia: Moving Meditation
  • Manifesting Spirit in the Business of Fitness
  • Experience Is How You Use It
  • The Tao of Negotiation

SIDEBAR: Who Comes to Inner IDEA?

Inner IDEA attendees share an interest in learning more about wellness of body, mind and spirit. But from that point on, according to survey data, the Inner IDEA community is extraordinarily diverse, representing a wide array of personal and professional paths.

  • Attendees include
  • Pilates instructors
  • group exercise instructors
  • yoga instructors
  • personal trainers
  • fitness business owners and managers

In 2008, the Inner IDEA Conference will continue to expand: professional attendees are encouraged to invite their students and clients to join them.

SIDEBAR: The Setting Says It All

Serene, exquisite La Quinta Resort & Club in Palm Springs, California, earned high ratings from attendees in 2007 as the ideal setting for Inner IDEA’s reflective, restorative focus. La Quinta is deeply committed to its philosophy of caring for the mind, body and spirit of its guests, creating a soothing and meditative environment for the Inner IDEA retreat experience. Attendees stay in private Spanish casitas under the soaring Santa Rosa mountains, amid sweeping views, magnificent gardens and winding paths that lead to more than 40 pools, 5 golf courses, 7 restaurants, 23 tennis courts, over 50 hot tubs and 35 treatment rooms. Spa offerings include sacred stone therapies; sage wraps; citrus and sea water soaks; and baths in mustard, milk whey and fango mud.

SIDEBAR: Procrastinator’s Alert: Attendance Is Limited

One of the defining, and most well-received, characteristics of the Inner IDEA experience is the intimate environment, which fosters a warm, personal experience unlike that of larger, less focused events. Because participation at Inner IDEA is limited to 500 attendees, registrations are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis; you can register by website, phone, fax or mail. The advance registration deadline is July 25.

SIDEBAR: IDEA Offers More Inner IDEA Scholarships in 2008

IDEA scholarships were extremely popular last year, so this year Inner IDEA has increased the number of available scholarships to five. Complementary event registration to 2008 Inner IDEA (travel and accommodations not included) will be awarded to five recipients who demonstrate financial need, the ability to impact others through their mindfulness training, and a passion for inspiring the world to wellness through mind, body and spirit. To apply, candidates need to submit an essay on the topic “What Is Your Wellness Passion?” For more information, see www.inneridea.com. Essays must be received by June 16, 2008, to be eligible. 

Mary Monroe is a Los Angeles freelance writer specializing in mind-body-spirit wellness.

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About the Author

Mary Monroe IDEA Author/Presenter

Mary Monroe is a freelance writer in the Los Angeles area.