Friday, May 15, 2009

Seeking 'harmony in transition'

Sun Valley Wellness Festival offers education, music and more

Express Staff Writer

Michael Beckwith will share the stage with Robert Thurman for a special appearance at the 2009 Sun Valley Wellness Festival. Photo by

The theme for the 12th annual Sun Valley Wellness Festival is "Harmony in the Midst of Transition," which could not be better suited for the troubled times many have been experiencing in our valley and around the world.

"We are the leading wellness festival in the country," said Heather LaMonica Deckard, festival co-director. "People from other wellness festivals around the country come to our festival to scope out ideas for their own."

The Sun Valley Wellness Festival is aTicket sales to the four-day celebration festival—Friday, May 22, through Monday, May 25—, and this year sales arehave been strong, up 30 percent upso far compared to last year, from last year a week before the festival . Deckard said. Ffor the first time in 12 years, programs have flown off racks and the festival has had to print moreextras, she said..

"We are grateful," Deckard said. "The phone has been ringing non-stop and it's all calls from people out of town. Many festival participants have said that the festival is not an optional event to attend—, we need it in our lives."

Concentrating on the renewal of mind, body and spirit renewal with through more than fifty 50 presentations and workshops, the festival presents the cutting-edge speakers and presentations by health-industry leaders.

"One of our featured speakers, Lynne Twist, is a positive presenter, especially for the times we live in," Deckard said. "She is a fundraiser and is a must- see for anybody in the non-profit and money world."

Twist will discuss people's relationship with money and how the current financial crisis can be used as a positive experience to live a morening meaningful life. Twist is a consultant, executive coach, award-winning speaker, author, fundraiser extraordinaire and global activist.

A few of tThis year's festival highlights include keynote speakers Michael Beckwith and Robert Thurman. Beckwith is an author and founder of Agape International Spiritual Center in Culver City, Calif. Beckwith He has appeared been a guest on "The Secret," "Oprah Winfrey Show" and "Larry King Live."

Thurman, a leading expert on Tibetan Buddhism, was chosen by Time magazine as one of its 25 most influential Americans in 1997. Time magazine described him as a, "larger than life scholar-activist destined to convey the dharma, the precious teachings of Siddhartha, from Asia to America."

"We are extremely excited about Michael Beckwith and Robert Thurman because they will be on stage together for the first time in public giving a presentation together," Deckard said. "They are friends and spiritual beacons and to have them together is a unique opportunity, which was done exclusively for our festival."

The festival will also present a concert by Emmy award-winner and Grammy-nominated artist musician Toni Childs, who performed at two of President Obama's inaugural balls. Her soulful music comes fromis rooted in her personal and spiritual healing and transformation.

Childs has been touring this year for the first time in over tenmore than 10 years, in with a brandsupport of a new CD. She will be making her firstmake her Sun Valley debut in the Sun Valley Pavilion with a full band, which includes Michael Barker, the former drummer, Michael Barker, of the John Butler Trio.

Other speakers of note include Dr. Steven Pratt M.D., a world-renowned authority and author of tthe New York Times best-seller "SuperFoods Rx," as well as "SuperHealth." He will address the role of nutrition and lifestyle in the prevention of disease and optimization of health.

East Avenue Bistro in Ketchum will be servingserve a menu from Pratt's book, "SuperFoods RxX" from Monday, May 18, through Friday, May 22. The $20 dinner special will include a first course, an entrée and dessert.

Among all the speakers are several workshops and presentations hosted by many Wood River Valley health and wellness practitioners. such asThe list includes Dr. Tom Archie, Alysha O'Classen, Valerie Skonie, Ryan Redman, Travis Scott, Melissa Boley, John Herbert and others. . In addition ongoing Cclasses will include offer instruction in yoga, cChi gGong, Pilates, hHula h-Hoops, and Feldenkrais (a school of movement re-education). An and an eExhibit hHall will feature a variety of vendors and a the Hands-oOn -Hall will offer massages and readings.

Tickets start at $30 and can be purchased online at, where a complete schedule of events is available, as well as special Wellness Festival lodging rates and other visitor information.

Sabina Dana Plasse:

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