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A New Meeting of Mind, Body and Soul

Explore innovation in meditative movement, exciting equipment and infinite inspiration from the 2022 IDEA World Convention.

Group photo at 2022 IDEA World Convention

When you tell people you’re going to a conference, they’ll probably advise you to load up on coffee. It always seems to be the same people. The same topics. The same countdown to the conclusion.

That’s just not the case at the IDEA® World Convention—especially this year. There is so much that’s new, innovative and inspiring. Even gathering together in person felt new again. And the theme—LIMITLESS—reflected an unbounded commitment to embracing new possibilities. The energy is endless; the passion is palatable.

IDEA World offers an incredible breadth and depth of topics—from business to nutrition to programming to mind, body and soul. Here’s a peek into the 2022 IDEA World Convention, where attendees explored new ways of approaching classic formats; where their imaginations were stretched along with their bodies; and where their spirits soared through pure and powerful inspiration that nourished their souls.

Celebrating Excellence; Reigniting Passion

Billy Blanks and Elaine Lalanne

Billy Blanks and Elaine LaLanne on stage at the Opening Ceremonies.

It’s hard to describe an IDEA World Opening Ceremony. It’s the kind of event that embodies the emotion behind, “Oh! You had to be there.” It’s that amazing. Overwhelming. Inspiring. But it is possible to capture a bit of soul-quenching magic that happens when you realize that you’re part of something larger than yourself and you know—for certain in your soul—that you can change the world.

IDEA: Newborn at Age 40

IDEA’s 40-year timeline featured some hilarious memories of fitness through the decades, as well as some thoughtful perspectives on how far we’ve come. How incredible and truly groundbreaking it was for IDEA founders Peter and Kathie Davis to turn a bunch of leotard-clad aerobics instructors into an industry. It started here. And now, we are a part of a profoundly important restart, as Amy Boone Thompson and husband, Sean, reclaim IDEA’s identity as a family-owned company and renew its clear, unwavering and uncluttered commitment to take our industry into the future. “I am limitless,” said Thompson in her opening remarks. “You are limitless. And, together, we are limitless.” Believe it. The best is yet to come.

Blazing New Trails

Twenty-three-year-old student and Support Squad volunteer Ian Kanemoto sat in his first IDEA World Opening Ceremonies at his first IDEA World. He knew he wanted to work in the fitness industry, but in those moments, “I knew then that I wanted to do it for life,” he says. The moment the Culture Shock Las Vegas dancers hit the stage, IDEA itself stepped into a whole new era. The power possible from our next generation is represented, in part, by the new IDEA Emerging Trailblazer of the Year. This year’s recipient, Lacee Green, like the other impressive finalists, leveraged social media to build her brand and her following, showing us all to branch out and pay it forward. “Look what happens,” she said, “when you listen to your heart and follow your dreams.”

Look for a full story about all of our recipients and finalists in the Summer issue of Fitness Journal, coming soon.

Give Up? Nope!

Both the IDEA Jack LaLanne Award recipient, Billy Blanks, and the IDEA Fitness Inspiration Award honoree, Amy Purdy, have overcome incredibly difficult challenges and emerged triumphantly (but even that seems too small a word). Blanks recounted how he was bullied as a child, ostracized and marginalized due to his size and dyslexia. He turned to fitness and, ultimately, turned his Tae Bo® workout into a worldwide phenomenon.

At age 19, Purdy, an athlete and massage therapist, contracted meningococcal meningitis. She was given less than a 2% chance of survival, put on life support and placed into a coma. Ultimately, she lost her spleen, a kidney and both of her legs below her knees. Purdy beat the odds, coming back to become a world-champion adaptive snowboarder and a guiding light for others. Seems like it would take a lot to impress her, but she seemed in awe of the IDEA family. “There is so much energy and passion in this room,” she said, clearly moved, reminding everyone of our shared mission. “You are helping people accomplish something they don’t think they can do. That’s a gift.”

Mind, Body and Soul: New Thoughts on Classic Subjects

Rocky Heron at 2022 IDEA World Convention

Rocky Heron teaching in his yoga session.

Yoga is certainly not new, but the way we think about it—and all mind-body practices—is evolving in exciting and important ways. Integrating holistic thinking into all mind, body and soul modalities is the wave of the future. These new avenues help fit pros expand their business to reach new clients and engage existing ones with new programming options. Here’s a sampling:

Healing Arts for Special Challenges

Inclusion in fitness has become much more focused on clients with special physical and mental health needs. Reaching these often-underserved populations is more than just a smart business decision—it’s a vital way to inspire the world—the whole world—to health and wellness. In “Managing ADHD with Yoga,” Kim Gray presented techniques to tailor sessions that help adults and children better manage symptoms and improve life quality. Debbie Rosas broadened the scope of “Movement as Medicine” for clients with cancer and other diseases with strategies for choosing music and movement patterns that help clients experience the healing effects of exercise. And Beth Shaw concentrated on “Yoga to Relieve Anxiety and Depression,” especially relevant after the turmoil of the past few years.

See also: Yoga Mobility and Stability for Pain

Breathing and Mindfulness

When asked to demonstrate his favorite strength move, presenter Rocky Heron closed his eyes, crossed his hands across his chest and took five deep breaths. In that act of breathing, Heron refocused, remembering to love himself and finding what he calls his “own inner compass.” Strong work, right? Breathwork has been a part of yoga for, well, centuries, but modern fit pros are rediscovering its power and applying the science of breathing and mindfulness to all modalities. Paul Cauldwell and Chris Nentarz, PT, highlighted both the mental and physical benefits of better breath awareness, starting their session with this airy fact: We take 23,000 breaths per day—that’s 8 million in a year. What an incredible renewable tool we have to work with!

See also: Breathwork Research and Application

Ancient Arts Re-envisioned

Rethinking something like a sun salutation may seem like a sort of yoga blasphemy! In fact, taking a look at how yoga became popular in the U.S. illuminates some interesting imperfections in our modern practices. By bringing today’s science-based information about biomechanics into the picture, fit pros have an opportunity to create new types of movements for clients with fewer injuries. Sadie Nardini explored this very topic in “The New Anatomy of Yoga: Learn the Deep Core Line.” Beyond classic instruction, Nardini “goes down the anatomy road,” honoring the foundation of yoga’s ability to act as a “way to move through the world,” but also moving away the superficial back line movement to a more fluid flow. Everything old is new again for the mind, body and soul, and it sure makes sun salutations shine!

See also: The Science of Yoga

Rethinking Regressions

Perhaps you remember your first group class and the impossibly high standards set by the perfect bodies and high kicks of the front-row folks. You’re reading this now, so you probably stuck it out! But think of the people who were less confident, less graceful, less coordinated and certainly less likely to ever come back. That’s why teaching modifications is vital, and the trend (and imperative, really) is to offer those modifications in ways that are respectful and empowering to the mind, body and soul. It can be practical and science-based, as well. Ellen de Werd, for instance, offered a modification strategy for “WARRIOR Rhythm” that can be applied in any class, from yoga to HIIT. “If there’s impact, take that out first,” she says. “Then reduce speed, and finally, if necessary, range of motion.” All without judgment, recognizing the strength of character it takes to even try!

See also: Streamline Your Yoga Cuing

Showcasing the Possibilities

Group workout at 2022 IDEA World Convention

Several IDEA World attendees joined group workouts in the Showcase Arena.

For some, the IDEA World Fitness & Nutrition Expo is a place to enjoy a little downtime from classes while meeting vendors, upleveling product knowledge and scoring some tasty samples. But for others, it was the happening place to up your game and get your sweat on. It was all on stage—and on the floor!—in the Showcase Arena.

MEGA Circuit Fun

Six minutes of a tough exercise can seem like a lifetime, but the right equipment and a novel approach can transform work into fun—and turn perspiration into inspiration. At the MEGA Circuit, the fun was the focus as fit pros experienced 6-minute bouts of new (or new-to-you) equipment options designed to broaden horizons and enhance client workouts. Participants each tried at least eight of the 20 stations to get a full-body workout. This type of exploration is crucial for today’s fitness professional, as the need to stay fresh and different has never been more important in attracting new clients and keeping existing ones interested and engaged.

See also: Small Exercise Equipment for Big Impact

MEGA Innovation: Especially New and Fun

Some especially innovative new MEGA Circuit arrivals? YBELL 4-in-1 fitness tools, Stick Mobility workouts and the Tonerbum challenge—one of the crowd favorites and one highlighted by emcee Alex Isaly as a “workout to watch,” which didn’t feature any equipment at all! It was led by celebrity trainer David Jack, partnering with Showcase sponsor Lionel University. Those 6 minutes were pure gaming fun with participants playing tag while laughing and running around like 6 year olds. It was an amazing workout—and it was born out of a big mistake. When the medicine balls Lionel ordered didn’t show up, Jack did what any fit pro would do—he built new programming on the fly. Learning to be comfortable in any situation is actually part of the Lionel curriculum, approaching its exercise science degrees with a holistic approach of programming, psychology, communication and certifications. The students are most typically ages 25–30. Bring it on, next wave of fit pros!

Showcase Stars

Oh man, do the workouts in the Showcase have star power or what?! The K-POP Dance Aero with Suhee Pyu, PhD, and Jiin Woo, PhD, was anything but academic. It was a blast! Cesar Vasquez showed true Les Mills GRIT, Halley Seim and Melissa Zurcher were HIGH Fitness phenoms, and Nikki Snow’s ELEV8 took everyone to new heights. This is the place to try something new, revisit the classics, and perhaps most importantly, be a client again, caught up in the excitement that gifted instructors inspire.

There was another face to watch in the Arena, too: 42-year-old Alicia Lucoksi. Alicia’s mom, Chinda, has been an IDEA member and volunteer for 30 years, but Alicia’s journey with fitness has only come about in the last 5. She was born with cerebral palsy, autism and developmental disabilities, and every day was a pretty wild ride. Caregivers often used food to try and get her to focus and calm down, and Alicia grew to 260 pounds and could barely move around at all.

That’s when Chinda realized that Alicia might finally be ready to give fitness a try, and she set off with patience and skill to get her daughter moving. And everything changed. Alicia has lost about 100 pounds, can focus and communicate much more effectively, and just loves to move. During Nikki Snow’s class, for instance, she was right near the front. Her moves? They were uninhibited and unique and perfect. And she was perfectly inspiring to everyone around her, including Nikki, who noticed and appreciated Alicia’s passion and perseverance. “She was great,” said Nikki, adding “everyone deserves to be empowered.”

The industry is beginning to more fully understand the importance of working with special populations, but it sometimes helps to have a real person to inspire you. Alicia gave many the chance to do that very thing at IDEA World this year with a message that empowers our entire profession.

See also: A Boy with Cerebral Palsy

A Time to Transform

If there’s one commonality to the new meeting of the mind, body and soul, it’s the importance of opening yourself up to change, imagining the possibilities and then going for it. IDEA World provides some of the tools to help you push past your limits—if you’re willing! Calvin Corzine, an incredible yoga instructor redefining the practice with some really unique sensory manipulations, says that his team has a pretty simple rule: “ABL,” he says. “Always be learning.”

It’s good advice—for mind, body and soul.

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November-December 2020 IDEA Fitness Journal

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