Wellness, as a lifestyle, has reached new importance due to the challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic this past year. The Sun Valley Wellness Festival & Conference (SVWFC), widely recognized as the longest-running wellness festival in the world, has been on the forefront of the wellness movement for decades and continues to offer a wide range of innovative wellness programs through its four pillars of focus—Mind, Body, Spirit and Environment—during its 24th annual event, June 25-28, in Ketchum, Idaho.
According to Andria Friesen, Sun Valley Wellness board president, “Our 2021 roster hosts exceptional speakers and highly relevant content, that will be offered both locally and globally. Attendees can participate in the physical SVWFC or view our presentations from the comfort of their homes.” Last year, when the conference pivoted to a fully “Virtual Experience” due to the pandemic, it attracted attendees from 35 states and 15 countries, including Australia, Spain, France, United Kingdom, Germany, Portugal, and Monaco.
Here are just some of the topics presented at this year’s event:
BREATH: THE NEW SCIENCE OF A LOST ART
No matter what you eat or how much you exercise, none of it matters if you’re not breathing properly. Research shows us that making even slight adjustments to the way we inhale and exhale can jump-start athletic performance; rejuvenate internal organs; halt snoring, asthma and autoimmune disease, and more. Science journalist and author James Nestor (above) tests long-held beliefs about our most basic biological function.
SPIRITUALITY AND FAITH
Honesty and human connection are the key to creating and sustaining community. So says Nadia Boltz-Weber, New York Times best-selling author and Lutheran minister. A “pastor for America’s outsiders” (BBC), the community of faith she founded in Denver, Colorado—House for All Sinners and Saints—is a haven for a diverse community seeking affirmation and acceptance.
PLANT MEDICINE: ANCIENT WISDOM, MODERN PRACTICES
Delve into the healing potential of altered states with panelists: Austin Perlmutter M.D., co-author of New York Times best-seller Brain Wash: Detox Your Mind for Clearer Thinking, Deeper Relationships, and Lasting Happiness; Shawn Wells, an expert in the fields of performance nutrition and longevity; Kole Whitty, co-founder of the Psychedelic Space Program; Kyle Kingsbury, retired UFC fighter and director of Human Optimization at Onnit; Pamela Hadfield, founder of HelloMD; and Colin Wells, founder of Veterans Walk and Talk, a veteran peer-support group.
COVID: FACTS AND FICTION
Dr. Vin Gupta has become one of the most visible medical commentators on COVID-19, along with CNN’s chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta (no relation). In this presentation, he will share the latest information about the COVID-19 vaccines, their effectiveness and what we can do to help bring an end to the pandemic in our own communities. Dr. Gupta will help dispel myths, provide facts and address concerns.
COOK FOR YOUR LIFE: TEACHING HEALTHY EATING
Packing meals with a variety of colorful cancer-fighting fruits and veggies—peels and all—is the best way to add vitamins, minerals, fiber and important phytonutrients for keeping the immune system strong. Speakers include: Corry Hart Clayville, media executive and director of partnerships for Cook for Your Life; bilingual presentation and cooking demonstration by Liza Schattenkerk, founding member of Food.com; and Hispanic liaison Herbert Romeo, local activist committed to Hispanic initiatives and community programs.
“Healing is a doorway to wholeness, and we all need healing from racism,” says author Milagros Phillips. Phillips specializes in transforming relationships between people of different backgrounds and creating a safe space to engage in difficult conversations on race and racial conditioning. Her powerful approach leaves participants empowered, inspired and hopeful.
YOGA AND RECOVERY
Yoga movement has helped countless individuals find relief from their attachments to substances across the board: alcohol, drugs, pot, coffee, gambling, sex, caffeine, cigarettes, hoarding and beyond. Author Tommy Rosen has spent the last two decades immersed in yoga, recovery and wellness and teaches people how to embrace the wisdom of numerous modalities to overcome vices.
Beyond the speakers, there are live workshops, movement and meditation sessions, vendors, music, food and more. Events were split between the Argyros Performing Arts Center, the Limelight Hotel, the Sun Valley Culinary Institute, and Forest Service Park. For details, visit sunvalleywellness.org.