Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Get into the swing of ‘mindful awareness’

Sun Valley Wellness Festival kicks off May 27

Express Staff Writer

Anne Day, a practitioner of healing touch, is one of many well-established health professionals who will give presentations at the Sun Valley Wellness Festival. Photo by

Healing hands will welcome guests to the annual Sun Valley Wellness Festival on Thursday, May 27, with a full-moon fire ceremony at Trail Creek Cabin in Sun Valley. The Memorial Day weekend festival will be chock full of events focused on helping participants find new paths to health.

Parenting training, movement classes, golf instruction at the Sun Valley Club and integrative medicine sponsored by the St. Luke's Wood River Foundation will all be elements of the four-day event, May 27-31. "Creating Your Own Well Being" is the theme of this year's festival and includes more than 50 presentations and workshops addressing mind, body and spirit wellness.

Actress Jamie Lee Curtis will deliver the keynote address titled "Live Wisely, Love Well" Friday evening at 7:30 p.m. at the Sun Valley Inn, which is the center for information about all activities and the place to buy festival passes and sign up for workshops.

The exhibition and hands-on halls at the inn are free to the public from Saturday to Monday and include free consultations in all manner of healing arts. There will be 55 booths with a variety of offerings in the exhibition hall, including jewelry, massage, henna tattoos and health food.

Singer and Grammy award winner Colbie Caillat will perform Sunday evening at 7:30 p.m. in the Sun Valley Pavilion.

This year, the Sun Valley Wellness Institute will open new doors to parents, educators and health-care professionals—any guests looking to bring greater wellness to children and teenagers. Two corresponding workshops of "Mindful Awareness" focused on youth and caregiver development are being offered, one Saturday and one Sunday.

The workshops are broken into two parts, the first on Saturday to consist of a "theoretical overview of how mindful awareness can be used in a family setting and in school to nurture emotional regulation and strengthen attention." The second part on Sunday will be an introduction to daily practice of mindful awareness and will explain how different techniques can be adapted for children and teens.

The board of the Wellness Institute embraced the goal of trying to attract young parents to the festival—"people who are just getting into the concept of wellness and trying to bring it home," said board member Ryan Redman, a yoga instructor and father of two boys.

Redman said he is working to bring more mindful behavior to his own life, an attitude that he hopes will prove to be a good example for his sons to follow.

"Mindful awareness has many definitions. A secular definition is paying attention with kindness and compassion with oneself, others and the world at large. It's a hot topic right now."

The focus of the workshops is to introduce skills necessary for developing attention, a remedy for "ubiquitous attention-deficit disorders," Redman said.

He added that he is looking forward to learning from psychologist Doug Coatsworth on Saturday, whose presentation, he said, "will provide an overview of theory and research about how mindful awareness in homes and schools can be useful to fostering well-being in parents, teachers and youth."

"I'm in the trenches myself," Redman said. "What I see is young parents all looking around for tools to be a better parent. Often we don't have (practical parenting skills) in place when we start. We hope that people can come away from the weekend and start using some stuff right away."

Other workshops and hands-on experiences included golf at the Sun Valley Club and the legacy of St. Luke's Wood River Foundation, which is sponsoring Anne Day, a practitioner of healing touch, a treatment protocol that is being integrated into more mainstream care at hospitals including St. Luke's. Day's presentation is called "Healing Touch: An Effective Integrative Energy-Based Approach to Health and Healing."

Just before lunch on Saturday, the hospital foundation is sponsoring a lecture by Dr. Abraham Vergnese titled "The Machine Will See You Now: Touching Where It Hurts in a Technological Age."

Prior to Thursday, festival-goers can put their hands on programs at Chapter One Bookstore on Main Street in Ketchum. More information is available at the festival website,, and starting May 28 there will be an orientation desk at the Sun Valley Inn.

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