Friday, April 27, 2012

Striving for year-round well-being

Sun Valley Wellness Institute expands programming

Express Staff Writer

The year 2012 marks the 15th year of the Sun Valley Wellness Festival, and in honor of its teenage years, the festival is looking to expand its horizons. Begun in 1997 by the Sun Valley-Ketchum Chamber and Visitors Bureau, the festival's management was transferred to the newly created Sun Valley Wellness Institute in 2005. Today, according to institute President Nick Maricich, the plan is to expand from solely producing the annual festival to becoming a center for health and well-being that offers programs and events year-round.

"We're looking to join forces with various partners to expand Sun Valley Wellness Institute's programs by bringing in renowned presenters and speakers on a wide variety of wellness-related topics throughout the year," Maricich said. "This also includes professional certification training programs for all kinds of wellness professionals—therapists, physicians and nurses, educators, body-workers, fitness instructors and others."

So far this year the institute has put on two such programs, David Crow's "The Pharmacy of Flowers & Contemplative Aromatherapy Workshop," which takes place this weekend, and "Ski To Live: A Unique Mindset Ski & SnowBoard Clinic," which happened last month. Upcoming programs include a Kiai golf workshop and a numerology workshop in June.

Part of the institute's plan is to become an umbrella organization for the valley's "community of wellness."

"We already have many top-notch wellness practitioners here, a first-rate medical center, great local organic food resources, an amazing natural environment with world-class recreation, vibrant arts and culture and many outstanding wellness-related programs and events already being put on by individuals, businesses and organizations," Maricich said. "It will serve everyone so much better if all of these activities are coordinated and marketed in a unified fashion. We already have thousands of wellness seekers on our website, email and social media lists who are interested in what our community has to offer."

The institute hopes its website,  HYPERLINK "", can become a central information source for all wellness-related programs and events in the valley, incorporating a comprehensive wellness-related calendar of events and directory of health and wellness practitioners.

Maricich said the institute's long-term vision is the creation of a wellness retreat center that would eventually serve as the headquarters for many of these kinds of programs and events.

"We're thinking big, and it will take time, energy and significant funding to make this vision happen, but it's an exciting prospect to work on building a more expansive wellness future for our community that can benefit us all in so many ways," he said.

Sun Valley Wellness Festival

The 2012 festival will take place Memorial Day weekend, May 24-29, featuring more than 50 presentations on mind, body and spiritual wellness, including keynote speaker Dr. Jill Bolet Taylor, author of "My Stroke of Insight." Visit for details and to purchase tickets.

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