Move Your Body, Mind & Spirit at the 2007 Inner IDEA Conference®

by Mary Monroe on Jun 01, 2007

Take yourself on an unforgettable journey to the core of your being: spend 3 days in mindful practice and study, exploring the many meanings—and paths—of wellness.

When it was introduced last year, Inner IDEA was the first event of its kind, intentionally designed not to be a “conventional” conference but to create a unique, multisensory experience that would bring together a small group of fitness professionals to “live” wellness, rather than just learn about it.

The response to the sold-out gathering was overwhelming, with the highest satisfaction rating of any IDEA event in 24 years. This year, the 2nd annual Inner IDEA Conference will take participants even deeper, to discover new dimensions of personal growth and professional opportunity.

“One attendee called Inner IDEA the best experience of her life, and others expressed similar responses to the profound way that Inner IDEA impacted them,” notes Marcia Hayes, programming director for Inner IDEA. “People told us how much they appreciated that it wasn’t like a typical conference. Instead, it was a more personal, in-depth experience. Again this year, Inner IDEA is going to be unlike any other event in the industry—and it’s going to take every participant on a very moving, powerful personal journey.”

2007 Inner IDEA will be held September 6–9 at the tranquil desert oasis, La Quinta Resort & Club, in Palm Springs, California. Attendees will relax in private Spanish casitas located in a secluded sanctuary of sage and citrus groves, sparkling pools and fragrant gardens, beneath the Santa Rosa Mountains.

“The beautiful, serene La Quinta setting is perfect for the Inner IDEA experience,” says Hayes. “The event ambiance is calm, balanced and focused, emphasizing wholeness of both the individual and the community. The environment supports journeying inward, as well as a sense of connection with other participants. At Inner IDEA, we are creating a new vision of wellness and a growing circle of leaders. From the inspiring Opening Ceremony to the touching moments of the Closing Ceremony, the culture of Inner IDEA is about mindfulness on all levels. Even the five meals during the event have unique opportunities for conscious eating, an option for a silent communal meal, and networking on wellness topics selected by participants.”

Lawrence Biscontini, MA, recipient of the 2004 IDEA Fitness Instructor of the Year award, also talks about the Inner IDEA difference. “Those of us who are presenters at Inner IDEA create our sessions differently than we do for other events,” he says. “We emphasize wellness, not just fitness. We come at everything from a different perspective. The traditional fitness model sees us as physical beings sometimes having a spiritual experience. At Inner IDEA, we come from the premise that we are spiritual beings sometimes having a physical experience. We embrace a plethora of sensorial experiences in our sessions, from taste to touch to smell to sight to sound. Our workshops are designed to move participants from fitness toward wellness and empowerment.”

More Than 150 Mindful Sessions

The 2007 Inner IDEA theme is “A Moving Experience,” and there will be more than 150 diverse sessions (over one-third more than last year), offering a broad range of ideas and practices to help attendees move closer to their personal and professional goals. Sessions were selected to immerse participants in the most forward-thinking, creative, multidimensional and personally enriching programs, taught by the most knowledgeable and influential leaders in wellness.

There are over 45 Pilates sessions, covering beginner to advanced training, both with and without equipment, taught by the world’s leading experts. Presenters include Mari Winsor, Moira Merrithew, Kathy Corey, Kathryn Ross-Nash, Ton Voogt, Ana Caban and Cathleen Murakami. Among the topics are “Global Pilates,” “Pilates Water Walking,” “Assessing Alignment Utilizing Pilates,” “Peak Pilates® Coaching Clinic,” “STOTT PILATES® Matwork for Breast Cancer Patients,” “STOTT PILATES Jumpboard Interval Training on the Reformer,” “Ball Pilates Choreography” and “Intensive Overview—Romana’s Pilates.”

Also exceptionally diverse, the Inner IDEA yoga program includes “Laughing Yoga,” “Colorgized Yoga,” “Yoga for Conscious Loving,” “Relaxation Yoga,” “Tai Yoga Flow” (in water), “Introduction to Yoga Sutras,” “Yoga: Movement as a Metaphor,” “The Power of Yoga Now,” “The Power of Deep Relaxation,” “Raja Yoga: The Authentic Yoga Practice” and “Chakra Energy.”

Attendees can choose from a multitude of meditation sessions, including “Beginning Meditation,” “Morning Meditation and Journaling Experience,” “Stress Management for Body, Mind and Spirit,” “Chakra Journey,” “Walking in the Full Presence of Life” and “The Labyrinth: A Meditation Walk.”

GYROTONIC® and GYROKINESIS® programming will be available—with equipment—throughout the event, with “Gyrotonic Lecture Demonstration,” “How to Become a Certified Gyrotonic Trainer,” “Gyrokinesis Group Class,” “An Introduction to Gyrotonic Methodology” and “Exercises for Certified Trainers: Building Blocks.”

Integrative movement programs at this year’s Inner IDEA feature tremendous creative diversity for exploring wellness. “Emotion in Motion,” “SHAKTI: The Experience,” “The Seven Steps to Willpower,” “Strengthening Body and Mind Thru Tai Chi,” “Tai Chi Fitness,” “Qi-Gong for Ener-Qi” and “Inspired by Prana and Power” are just a selection of the topics offered.

Nia® sessions include “The Body’s Way to Bring Anatomy to Life,” “Conscious Personal Training,” “The Five Stages of Self-Healing” and “The Five Sensations of Feeling Fitness.”

Expanded Sessions on Research, Coaching, Career and Business

This year’s curriculum also has a greatly expanded selection of topics in the areas of research, coaching, career and business.

Research-related sessions include “The Science of Mindful Practices, Parts I and II,” “Yoga Research Roundup: What You Need to Know,” “Aiming for Balance, How Thoughts Affect Health,” “The Bridge to Metabolic Enhancement and Rebalancing the Neuropsychology” and “Nutritional Immunity for the 21st Century.”

Coaching and business topics include “Career Coaching From the Spa Experts,” “Creating Your Career Map as a Mind-Body Professional,” “How to Reduce Your Marketing Budget and Improve Your Effectiveness,” “Mind/Body/Spirit Coaching Skills,” “Building Revenue From Yoga With Baby Boomers” and “Launch: Your Guide to a Mind, Body, Spirit Start-Up.”

Research specialist Ralph La Forge, MSc, managing director of the Duke University Lipid Clinic and disease management preceptorship program at Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina, notes that career opportunities continue to open up in the wellness arena for knowledgeable fitness professionals. “For example, for the first time, credentialed fitness professionals, such as ACE- or ACSM-certified exercise specialists, can sit for the boards in clinical lipidology, which is the diagnosis and management of lipid and related disorders, such as metabolic syndrome,” he says. “This board exam was formerly offered to physicians only.”

The new credential will enable qualified exercise specialists to work closely with physician-directed lipid clinics, diabetes management programs and cardiovascular risk reduction programs. (The exam is offered by the National Lipid Association’s Accreditation Council for Clinical Lipidology. See

In-Depth Training for the Future

This year, the Inner IDEA journey begins with an insightful and energizing celebration of the body-mind-spirit connection and its potential to profoundly change the health of the world. Mind-body-spirit visionary Pamela Peeke, MD, MPH, FACP, will give the keynote presentation, “Minding the Molecules of Mental Motion: The New Science of Mind-Body-Spirit Healing.” Peeke is a Pew Foundation Scholar in nutrition and metabolism, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Maryland, Discovery TV’s chief medical correspondent and author of Fit to Live and Body for Life for Women.

2007 Inner IDEA is also offering two preconference programs, with in-depth training on specialized topics. The first is “Peak Performance and Well-Being—Positive Psychology Coaching in Action” with Margaret Moore, MBA, founder of Wellcoaches® Corporation. This workshop will engage participants in coaching demonstrations and practice, and introduce them to positive psychology, coaching psychology and the concept of PEAK:

P for physical and higher purpose

E for engineering environments and fostering positive emotion

A for aspirations for best self and action plan

K for effective (k)ognitive processes

“Did you know that if you are healthy, happiness will prevent disease and extend longevity, comparable to the impact of not smoking?” asks Moore. “The emerging field of positive psychology is rapidly developing evidence-based guidelines for improving life satisfaction and happiness.”

The second preconference option is the in-depth yoga training program, “Power of Yoga Intensive Training” (for all levels) by Sherri Baptiste, founder of Baptiste Power of Yoga and author of Yoga With Weights for Dummies. Baptiste will cover the postures, techniques and skills needed to effectively teach a 60-, 75- or 90-minute multilevel yoga class, and participants will learn how to confidently lead a safe yet challenging class that yields transformation and inspiration. The sequenced class includes centering practices (mindfulness), a warm-up (preparation), a breath-based flow series (vinyasa) and balance and strength postures (dynamic practice).

A Heart and Soul Adventure

Inner IDEA is an ambitious exploration of “wellness within” that expands participants’ knowledge of a remarkable range of wellness concepts, research and movement forms (physical, emotional and spiritual). The “heart and soul adventure” will include memorable rituals, music, silence, meditation, visualization and other modes of experiential learning.

Workshops by presenters Linda Cammarata, RN, and Larry Cammarata, PhD, are examples of how diverse the Inner IDEA curriculum is. Linda Cammarata, wellness specialist for the spa industry and healthcare organizations, is presenting “The Mind-Body Sleep Experience” and “Support and Strengthen Your Immune System.” Larry Cammarata, licensed psychologist and tai chi instructor, is presenting “Relaxation Training and Mindfulness Meditation” and “Stress Management for Body, Mind and Spirit.” Together they will present “Morning Meditation and Journaling Experience.”

“Many people don’t know that adequate sleep helps control appetite,” says Linda Cammarata. “In one session, we’re going to explore the latest in ‘sleep hygiene’ techniques and how sleep helps you accomplish an uplifting emotional state of well-being. In another session, we’re going to look at allergies and how to directly influence and support your immune system. In a third session, participants will learn to use morning meditation and journaling to access and record inner experiences that will cultivate self-awareness and increased energy. It’s a wide range of topics you could only find at Inner IDEA—but all of them have the common theme of enhancing your connection to your body, mind, heart and spirit.”

Another featured event is “The Labyrinth: A Meditation Walk,” presented by Phyllis Pilgrim, education director of body-mind-spirit and specialty week programs at Rancho La Puerta Fitness Resort. “A mindful walking practice can be a useful segue from the business of your life to sitting meditation,” she says. “In a labyrinth meditation, you walk in ever-sweeping circles to reach the center. It is a pilgrimage to your own heart center.”

Pilgrim will also explore larger life themes in body-mind practice. “The weave of life’s challenges within yoga poses include courage, standing your ground, compassion (for yourself and for others), surrender, integrity, boldness and creativity,” she explains. “For example, if you are facing strong opposition to an idea you are passionate about, practice the warrior poses to establish your own idea, have courage in the face of opposition and stand your ground with compassion and understanding. Knowing the messages behind the movements will give your practice deeper purpose.”

That theme of seeking deeper meaning is central to 2007 Inner IDEA. Michele Hébert, and Mehrad Nazari, PhD, master yoga teachers and meditation guides, will present “The Inner Workouts of Yoga” and lead inspiring “inner practices” to help participants explore the deeper dimensions that can be missed in popular body-mind programs.

“Although more than 18 million Americans practice yoga and most health clubs now offer it, the most important dimension—inner practice—is not always part of today’s classes, which often focus heavily on the physical postures,” says Hébert. “The inner practices—such as chakra balancing; pranayama, or yoga breathwork; yoga nidra, or deep relaxation; and color and sound healing—can be powerful complements for expanding awareness and awakening the spirit.”

Hébert explains why exploring the deeper meaning of body-mind practices is essential for wellness professionals: “We can learn to observe and ultimately to change how we think and act. We find that how we do one thing is how we do everything, and our habits of thinking create our reality. So the implications for our lives are enormous. And as we learn to balance our mind, body and emotions, we allow our spirit to shine forth.”

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© 2007 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

About the Author

Mary Monroe

Mary Monroe IDEA Author/Presenter

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