Celebrating Integrative Wellness at the 5th Annual Inner IDEA® Conference

by Mary Monroe on May 18, 2010

The industry’s leading wellness conference will explore how a fit mind, fit body and fit spirit work together to create a total picture of health.

Five years ago, the Inner IDEA Conference changed the landscape of fitness education with a groundbreaking event dedicated to exploring the cutting edge of mind-body-spirit wellness. This year, Inner IDEA will celebrate its 5-year anniversary by taking a closer look at the emerging “big picture” of health: integrative wellness of mind, body and spirit.

The 5th annual Inner IDEA Conference will be held September 23–26, 2010, at La Quinta Resort & Club in Palm Springs, California, and will feature over 100 sessions on Pilates, yoga, Nia®, GYROKINESIS® and GYROTONIC® exercise, integrative movement, mindfulness and meditation, nutrition, research, mind-body medicine, motivational coaching, and wellness business and career development.

“This year we are looking at the complete human being and how the vital factors of body, mind and spirit integrate to create overall well-being and health,” says Marcia Hayes, programming director for Inner IDEA. “Integrative wellness is about moving not just the body but also the mind and spirit. At Inner IDEA, fitness professionals get to work with leaders in the wellness field and learn how to integrate new ideas and modalities to create the most benefit and positive transformation for their clients. Whether you’re a new or experienced mind-body-spirit instructor, this is a chance to get fresh ideas, broaden your services and learn more advanced skills.”

Inner IDEA also gives fitness professionals a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in a mindful experience that encourages personal development along with professional growth. “Inner IDEA attendees tell us they have transformational experiences themselves,” says Hayes. “They try new approaches at the conference and expand their approach to wellness in their own lives.”

One of the most powerful aspects of the Inner IDEA Conference has been its emphasis on community. “This is a gathering of people in our industry who are passionate about enhancing wellness on a deep level. They want to help other people and help the planet. They come both to learn and to share—it can be a pretty powerful experience,” says Hayes.

Since it began 5 years ago, Inner IDEA has had an unusually high satisfaction rating of over 96%, and the conference has become the leading educational opportunity for fitness and health professionals to study wellness with the world’s top researchers, teachers and presenters.

According to IDEA’s 2009 Attendee Survey, Inner IDEA participants include Pilates instructors, group exercise instructors, business owners and managers, personal trainers, yoga teachers, lifestyle coaches and a variety of wellness professionals. Nearly half of attendees have more than 15 years of experience in the industry.

“Five years ago, when we created Inner IDEA, we strongly felt that the industry needed a conference dedicated exclusively to the wellness principles and practices that bring mind, body and spirit together,” recall Peter and Kathie Davis, co-founders of Inner IDEA. “We wanted it to be a different kind of event where you didn’t just learn about mind-body-spirit wellness—you experienced it just by participating. The response has been overwhelming. Every year we have more wisdom to draw from, and we keep evolving. We’re so grateful for the support this event has received, and for the opportunity to work together with the Inner IDEA community to inspire the world to wellness.”

The Champion and the Shaman

This year’s Inner IDEA keynote speakers are six-time Ironman® world champion Mark Allen and shaman and healer Brant Secunda, who taught Allen the integrative approach that was the foundation of his competitive success. They are co-authors of Fit Soul, Fit Body: 9 Keys to a Healthier, Happier You, and as part of the conference’s Opening Ceremony, they will discuss and demonstrate how integrative wellness can profoundly enhance health and happiness.

Allen has been called “the world’s fittest man” by Outside magazine and “the greatest triathlete of all time” by Triathlete magazine. He attributes his success to his ongoing studies with renowned shaman Secunda. Secunda is a healer and ceremonial leader in the Huichol Indian tradition of Mexico. He completed a 12-year apprenticeship with Don José Matsuwa, the renowned Huichol shaman who lived to be 110 years old and who adopted Secunda as his grandson. Alongside other dignitaries, including President Jimmy Carter, Secunda co-founded the Peace University in Berlin. He is a founding member of the American Herbalists Guild and has taught at the American Holistic Medical Association Annual Conference.

Allan and Secunda joke about their unusual bond and partnership. “There aren’t too many Ironman/shaman teams in the world,” laughs Allan. “But we’re not only colleagues, we’re also close friends; our families are close. I owe a lot to Brant. I was trying to win the Ironman for 6 years, and I kept coming up short. I knew that what was holding me back was inside me—fear that I’d never win it, frustration, anger, jealousy. With all those negative emotions, I didn’t have the energy to focus in a positive direction. Brant changed that—he showed me how to feel comfortable wherever you are, not take things too seriously and use laughter and joy as tools. I learned how to quiet my mind and go to that internal space where your soul or heart is—the place you can draw on for strength.

“We’re going to touch on all of that at the conference: letting go of fear and anger and bringing in positive emotions to help you in setting your quest or achieving your goals,” Secunda said.

“It can be easy to contemplate, but hard to put into action,” Allen adds. “But putting it into action on a daily basis—plugging away at it—is what makes the difference. It’s how I went from losing the Ironman six times to winning it six times.”

Allen says that the concepts of integrative wellness that he and Secunda outline in their book are the result of a lifelong search. “Since I was a young boy, I’ve felt I was looking for something beyond what I could see that would give meaning to the ordinary experience of the world. I think my athletic drive was about that too, but just being physically fit wasn’t enough.”

Adds Secunda, “It doesn’t work to isolate one or the other, to just be spiritual or to just be physically fit. We need to bring it all together, to feel a connection.”

While Secunda has helped Allen improve his competitive performance, Allen has helped Secunda become healthier and lose 50 pounds. “The mix of what each person needs to become more whole is different for everyone,” said Secunda. “Even if we have the body or the clothing size we hoped for, we still might not have inherent happiness, or trust in the world or in ourselves. At the conference, we’ll talk about how to determine what you and your clients need. We may each come from different places, but we all need respect and a sense of community and connection. We all need a reason to get up in the morning.”

Not an Ordinary Experience

At Inner IDEA, attendees will choose from over 100 diverse, in-depth educational sessions representing the best in integrative wellness concepts and practices from around the globe. The faculty includes more than 35 leading presenters, researchers and innovators, each selected for his or her passion, vision and prominence in the field of integrative wellness.

Also integrative in its approach to education, Inner IDEA immerses participants in a personal journey of discovery through ritual, nature, meditation, visualization, music, silence and movement. Mindfulness is a central focus of the conference, and every aspect of the event is designed to encourage mindful engagement in the present moment. The culture is designed to create a nonjudgmental, noncompetitive environment to explore new pathways to wellness, with emphasis on acceptance and individual transformation.

One of the most highly rated facets of the Inner IDEA Conference is the tranquil retreat environment of La Quinta Resort & Club in Palm Springs, with its magnificent desert vistas, sparkling pools, gracious service and luxury spa. Nestled at the base of the majestic Santa Rosa Mountains, this beautiful resort is the ideal environment for the reflective Inner IDEA experience.

Special events during the conference include the Opening Ceremony, featuring keynote speakers Allen and Secunda; the evening Welcome Reception; five wellness-oriented mindful meal experiences; and many networking opportunities. Participants also enjoy browsing wellness-related educational products, books, videos, music, clothing and large and small equipment. (Look for special Inner IDEA discounts.)

Fresh Perspectives

Over 90% of this year’s program is different from last year’s, with fresh faces and new ideas, sessions and experiences. Here are some highlights of this year’s program:

Two New Preconference Sessions. All-day preconference sessions this year are “Pelvic Power for Core Integration” with Eric Franklin, founder of the Franklin Method, and STOTT PILATES® Essential and Intermediate Reformer on the V2 Max Plus Reformer, Parts I & II. Sign up early—preconference sessions are expected to sell out.

New Directions in Yoga. This year’s selection of yoga programs is stronger than ever, with some of the world’s leading names presenting on hatha yoga, raja yoga, nada yoga, vinyasa yoga, pranayama yoga and much more.

A Potpourri of Pilates. There will be 32 classic and innovative Pilates sessions on remarkably diverse topics, including “Reforming the Knee,” “Are You Cheating on Your Reformer?” “Creating Reformer Choreography,” “Reformer Resistance Training,” “Pilates Ball Choreography,” “Restorative Reformer,” “Essential Matwork on Stability Cushions,” “Conditioning on the Cardio-Tramp” and many more.

Integrated Exercise Programs.The wide variety of integrated exercise sessions will include tai chi, qigong, “Seven Steps to willPower,” Nia, GYROTONIC exercise, BOSU® Ball and “KiVo: The Kinetic Voice.” Other creative sessions include “The Healing Power of Sound,” using Tibetan bowls, gongs and tuning forks; “Ageless Strength and Flexibility”; “Chakra Energy”; MELT®; “Break It Down to Build It Up”; and “Just B.E.: Balanced Equilibrium.”

Nutrition, Emotional Health, Mind-Body Medicine, Mindful Career Development and More. Just a few of the diverse wellness sessions are “Your Brain on Exercise,” “Boosting Lifelong Learning and Brain Health,” “Get More Flexible in Your Body via the Mind,” “Change Your Feelings to Affect Chronic Disease,” “Relax Deeply With Autogenic Training,” “Women, Metabolism and the Hormone Highway,” “Women, Weights and Results!” “Market Yourself Authentically!” and “Mindfulness Meditation: The Power of Presence.”

For more information, visit www.inneridea.com.

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About the Author

Mary Monroe

Mary Monroe IDEA Author/Presenter

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