World-class Wellness

Sun Valley is the perfect place to focus on mind, body and soul

Sun Valley is the perfect place to focus on mind, body and soul

For years, I considered my lengthy summer sojourns to Sun Valley an opportunity to regroup: to think, to get fit and healthy and to change up my normal routine for the better. In other words, I always thought of my time here as ‘Spa Sun Valley.’ While many of my friends paid exorbitant prices at wellness retreats so that they could work out, eat well and get a little synthesis for the soul, I did everything they were doing and more, in my normal day-to-day activities. From mineral hot springs, to breathtaking hikes, from spa treatments to fresh, healthy food, Sun Valley’s clean air, sunshine and gorgeous scenery provided the ultimate reboot, addressing mind, body and soul.

And that was without the benefit of attending the annual Sun Valley Wellness Festival. This event, chosen by Travel to Wellness as one of the Top 12 wellness vacations in the world, returns to the Resort from May 23 – 27. It is my version of ‘Spa Sun Valley’ taken up a few notches! Whether you are traveling 10, 100 or 1000 miles to attend Wellness Festival events, you are sure to experience an eye opening and habit-altering reboot.

Hiking in the area provides a fresh vantage point

Hiking in the area provides a fresh vantage point

“Sun Valley has always been a destination for health and wellness,” said Nick Maricich, Sun Valley Wellness Chairman. “Since Sun Valley’s opening in 1937, people have come from all over the world for healing experiences in this pristine alpine environment. Whether it is skiing, fishing, hiking, golfing, bike riding or simply watching the sun rise over the Pioneer Mountains, being in Sun Valley encourages an openness to new ideas, a re-centering and re-framing of priorities. It is the Sun Valley Wellness Institute’s mission to build on these experiences and to help Sun Valley get the recognition it deserves as one of the top destinations in the world for all aspects of health and wellness.”

Energy guru Amory Lovins is a featured speaker at the Wellness Festival

Energy guru Amory Lovins is a featured speaker at the Wellness Festival

The Memorial weekend Wellness Festival is the epicenter for this goal. For the mind, the Festival brings some of the most prominent speakers from many fields to the Sun Valley Inn. This year, one of the predominant questions asked by organizers is: What does energy have to do with wellness? The answer? Everything! Keynote speakers on this topic are global energy leaders Amory Lovins and James Woolsey. Their talk, to be held at the Sun Valley Inn Continental Room on Saturday, May 25, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., focuses on energy present and energy future. According to Festival organizers, “energy underpins our planet’s health and our personal health, from enabling alleviation of suffering from poverty, to providing clean air, to helping to ensure our national security. Energy is perhaps our greatest challenge, but also our greatest opportunity.”

During a break from Wellness Festival activities, the bike path awaits

During a break from Wellness Festival activities, the bike path awaits

Another part of the complete wellness picture, focusing on health and the body, is the Hands-On-Hall. Free to the public, everyone is encouraged to stop by the Inn for massage, healing touch, energy work, Tarot card readings and Henna body art that is particularly popular with the younger set (children are welcome).

To address the spirit, 16 workshops will be offered throughout the weekend focusing on topics as diverse as ‘Attuning to the Unseen World,’ ‘New Beginnings,’ ‘The Four Pillars of Health’ and ‘An Introduction to the Human Design System.’ These workshops are intimate and guaranteed to engage participants on a truly meaningful level. Please click here for tickets for all lectures and workshops and further information.

Trailheads to wonderful hikes lie just across Sun Valley Road from the Lodge, and spread north, south, east and west. Bikes are for rent at Pete Lane’s, located in the Village, and a bike path is readily accessible. Between lectures, workshops and inspiration at the Festival, take time to breathe the mountain air and let the Sun Valley sun work its magic. Take a break beside the scenic swan pond and let everything you have heard and seen sink in. Chat with friends in the Lobby Lounge. Grab a healthy bite at one of the Resort’s many restaurants.

The Resort's two outdoor hot pools are a great way to naturally relieve stress

The Resort's two outdoor hot pools are a great way to naturally relieve stress

To enjoy the full benefit of a wellness retreat, book a room at the Lodge or Inn at a special rate of $120 a night (please call 1-800-786-8259 for details and reservations). As a guest of the Resort, enjoy ‘Spa Sun Valley’ at its finest – soak in the relaxing outdoor hot pools, book a fortifying body treatment at the Salon and Spa, indulge in healthy food and wonderfully comfortable beds. All the Festival offers will be moments away.

You don’t need to go far for a world-class wellness experience. It is all right here.


Go ahead, you're worth it

Go ahead, you're worth it

Chutzpah, Chance Encounters and a Universe in Alignment bring Proof of Heaven Author to Sun Valley

Dr. Eben Alexander will captivate the audience at the Sun Valley Wellness Festival

Dr. Eben Alexander will captivate the audience at the Sun Valley Wellness Festival as this year's keynote speaker on May 24

Dr. Eben Alexander, author of the New York Times’ No. 1 bestseller Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife, will give the keynote address at this year’s Wellness Festival, to be held in Sun Valley from May 23 – 27. But booking this red-hot author, seeker and physician, who describes in his book a near death experience and a blossoming of faith, was anything but straightforward.

As Sun Valley Wellness Festival board member Pirie Grossman describes it, the process of agreeing on the right keynote speaker for this year’s Festival was proving challenging. “During a board meeting months ago, there were lots of ideas going back and forth but nothing was catching,” Pirie explained. “I was traveling to the TEDx conference in Washington, D.C., shortly thereafter and then going on to New York, so I left with an open mind, promising to look see if anyone perfect came to my attention.

Alexander's account of a near death experience has dominated the bestseller lists

Alexander's account of a near death experience has dominated the bestseller lists

Right before departing, however, Pirie’s fellow board member Elisabeth Grabher reached out to someone everyone agreed would be perfect for the Festival: Oprah Winfrey. And, synchronicity being what it is, it was also an episode of Oprah’s show that first introduced Pirie to Dr. Eben Alexander. After she saw his interview on the program, she began to research his story. Alexander seemed like a huge draw for the Festival and Cheryl Welch Thomas, another board member, contacted his agent to see if he was available.

“We always believe you should throw things out into the universe and see what happens!” laughed Pirie.

In New York, shortly after a conversation with a friend about her desire to have Oprah speak at the Wellness Festival and her keen interest in Dr. Alexander, Pirie returned to her hotel. While waiting at the elevator, the doors opened and a security guard glanced around, talking into his sleeve. “He stepped aside and there behind him stood Oprah Winfrey, no more than two feet from me,” Pirie laughed. “She looked right at me and didn’t try to hurry away. She was warm and approachable – she was Oprah!”

The following conversation ensued.
Pirie: Hi!
Oprah: (pause, smile) You have something to say to me.
Pirie: I’m from Sun Valley…
Oprah: Oh! I love Sun Valley.
Pirie: I’m a board member at the Wellness Festival…
Oprah: I’ve heard about the Wellness Festival.
Pirie: I just sent you a letter asking if you would come speak!
(Pirie quickly reminds Oprah of the date of the event)
Oprah: I’m going to be in Africa then, but do you know who you should get?
Pirie: Who?
Oprah: Dr. Eben Alexander.
Pirie: (gasp!) It is so funny you said that! You were the first letter we sent, he was the second. I saw him on your show. He is amazing.
Oprah: He is amazing. Be sure to let him know I suggested him.

“And away she went,” Pirie explained. “All I could think was when things are supposed to happen, they happen. Isn’t the universe interesting?”

The Wellness Festival offers something for everyone

The Wellness Festival offers something for everyone to take care of mind, body and spirit

Immediately, Pirie phoned her fellow board members in Sun Valley with news of the interaction. Cheryl, who had previously received a polite ‘thank you, but no thank you, Dr. Alexander is booked for the foreseeable future’ response from his agent, heard the news and sent a follow-up email. This note detailed Pirie’s encounter with Oprah and boiled down to, ‘this is meant to be, you have to come.’ Two hours later his agent called Cheryl back and said yes.

Ever since, Eben and Pirie have corresponded by email. “We joke, ‘how about that Oprah story?’” Pirie laughed. “He told me when he read that second email he was laughing and crying at the same time. We just couldn’t get over, and still can’t, the chain of events that introduced him to us and allowed us to bring him to Sun Valley.”

Dr. Alexander will speak at the Limelight Room at the Sun Valley Inn on Friday, May 24, at 6 p.m. He is one of many prominent inspiring speakers scheduled for this year’s Wellness Festival. Please click HERE for tickets and full Wellness Festival information, including speakers, movement, the Hands on Hall and workshops and activities for both adults and children.

The Sun Valley Resort offers terrific lodging choices to allow participants to stay in the center of the action for the weekend. Be sure to call Resort Reservations at 800-786-8259 and ask for the special Sun Valley Wellness Festival rate. This is a wonderful way to enjoy the full Festival experience. And you just never know who you might meet and where it might lead, do you?


The Sun Valley Inn is HQ for the Wellness Festival. Come on in!

The Sun Valley Inn is HQ for the Wellness Festival. Come on in!


The Sun Valley Wellness Festival is an annual gathering of the top speakers and practitioners of mind-body-spirit and environmental wellness. Presented by the Sun Valley Wellness Institute, our mission is to ” inspire positive change.” We welcome you to join us for 5 days of inspiration, education and healing that will enrich your life at the Sun Valley Resort in Sun Valley, Idaho. Please go online at to purchase tickets, view schedule of events, keynote speakers, workshops and reserve lodging.

Sun Valley Wellness Festival

Sun Valley Wellness Festival

Thursday, May 24 – Tuesday, May 29



Spring is a time for new beginnings and there is no better place to renew your body, mind and spirit than in Sun Valley, Idaho this Memorial Day weekend, at the 15th annual Sun Valley Wellness Festival, known as one of the premier festivals of its kind in the US. The five day celebration, held at the famous Sun Valley Resort May 24-29, will focus on the theme "Own Your Energy", and will include more than 50 presentations and workshops addressing various modalities of body, mind, spirit and environmental wellness, and a Next Generation Wellness educational tract just for children.


Leading off the long list of impressive, nationally-renowned speakers is keynoter Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, neuroanatomist and bestselling author of My Stroke of Insight.    Other top speakers include the popular inspirational author Alan Cohen, anti-aging expert and author Dr. Uzzi Reiss,  "Spirit Junkie" Gabrielle Bernstein,  forgiveness teacher and expert Mary Hayes Grieco, Oneness University guide and monk Doug Bentley,  energy intuitive, Reiki master, author and teacher Marie Manucheri, R.N., religious scholar, professor and teacher Lama Marut, Clinical Neuropsychologist and author Charlotte A. Tomaino, Ph.D.,  spiritual healer, teacher and founder of the International Holistic Academy Konstatin Karsharov of Macedonia  and yoga Master Saul David Raye, who is well known for his empowering and transformational approach to yoga, healing, and spirituality.


The new Next Generation Wellness track will feature presentations designed specifically for children such as, Kids Yoga & Mindfulness Relaxation, Children’s Journaling, and Sharing Healing Touch.


Other new events:

  • Legendary singer-songwriter Carole King will also be at the festival, signing her new book, A Natural Woman, at the Chapter One bookstore area outside the Wellness Expo hall on Sunday, May 27.


  • Saul David Raye & guest musicians will present, ANANDA Cosmic KIRTAN, a soulful evening of sacred chant, meditation, movement and prayer on Saturday evening, May 26.


  • Decoding Deepak, a new feature-length documentary film that chronicles one year in the life of spiritualist and pop cultural icon Deepak Chopra, which is written, directed and produced by Deepak’s son, filmmaker and journalist Gotham Chopra.  The film will show at the Sun Valley Opera House on Thursday, May 24.


  • Guided meditation session in the Garden of Infinite Compassion (home to the Buddhist prayer wheel presented by His Holiness the Dalai Lama to the community of Sun Valley) at the Sawtooth Botanical Garden and Opening Shaman Fire Ceremony at Trail Creek – both on Thursday, May 24.


Movement & Wellness Expo:  In addition to the exceptional line up of speakers and workshops, the Sun Valley Wellness Festival will offer a Movement Studio with a variety of ongoing classes with a focus on various types of yoga & Qi Gong practices taught by outstanding teachers, including Saul David Raye and Qi Gong master John Cole.  The Wellness Expo runs all weekend and features vendors selling wonderful wellness products from beautiful clothing to jewelry and health products.  In the Hands-On-Hall, attendees can get a massage, reflexology, have an intuitive reading, or try a henna tattoo.  The Wellness Expo is free and open to the public throughout the festival.


For those who want to mix in some outdoor fun, the Sun Valley area, set in the spectacular Idaho Rockies, is full of opportunities for outdoor recreating including hiking, biking, fishing, rafting, golf and more.  The community also has a vibrant arts and cultural scene that is innovative and world-class.


Tickets for the Sun Valley Wellness Festival can be purchased online at , where a complete schedule of events is available.  Special Wellness Festival lodging rates at the Sun Valley Resort start at just $115. To make lodging reservations call 1-800-786-8259 and ask for the Wellness Festival rates.

The Sun Valley Wellness Festival is produced by the non-profit Sun Valley Wellness Institute, which offers & promotes year-round programs on health and wellness as well as an extensive online wellness directory and calendar of wellness & fitness events.

2011 Sun Valley Wellness Festival May 27-30

The 14th Annual Sun Valley Wellness Festival will feature Keynote Speaker Gregg Braden,

Get ready to be recharged and renewed!
The Sun Valley Wellness Festival is an annual gathering of the top speakers and practitioners of mind-body-spirit and environmental wellness. Presented by the Sun Valley Wellness Institute, our mission is to "inspire positive change". We welcome you to join us for 3 days of inspiration, education and healing that will enrich your life at the Sun Valley Resort in Sun Valley, Idaho.

Sun Valley Wellness Institute
PO Box 4174
Ketchum, ID 83340
(208) 726-2777

13th Annual Sun Valley Wellness Festival May 28-31, 2010

Sun Valley Wellness Festival, May 28-31, Sun Valley Inn

Special Wellness Festival hotel rates, starting at $115.00 a night, are available at Sun Valley Resort. Please call Sun Valley Resort Reservations at 800-786-8259 for more information.

The 13th annual Sun Valley Wellness Festival features keynote speaker Jamie Lee Curtis, along with Abraham Verghese, Dani Shapiro, Lama Surya Das, Spencer Sherman, Ross Bishop, David Crow and many other wonderful presenters. Movement classes from yoga to belly dancing, an Exhibit Hall and Hands on Hall with over 50 vendors and practitioners, two days of workshops and more, including a special musical performance by Colbie Caillat. A beautiful setting for an inspirational event. For more information and tickets please go to:

Colbie Caillat to perform May 30 at the Sun Valley Pavilion

A coordinated effort between Sun Valley Resort and the Sun Valley Wellness Festival will bring Grammy Award winning singer/songwriter Colbie Caillat to the Sun Valley Pavilion on Sunday, May 30, 2010. Gates open at 6:30pm and the concert will start at 7:30pm.
Tickets are $43, $36 and $29 for Pavilion seating. Lawn seating $23.
Hotel & Concert Ticket packages are also available. Call Hotel Reservations at 800-786-8259.

Tickets on sale now online at: or call the Recreation Center box office toll-free: 888-622-2108.

Colbie Caillat is known for such hits at “Bubbly,” “Realize,” “The Little Things,” and “Feelings Show.” Her simple soft voice and catchy rhythms transcend what is traditionally classified as pop music. Aside from singing, she also plays acoustic folk guitar.
Caillat won the Grammy Award for best pop collaboration with vocals with Jason Mraz for their collaboration on the song, “Lucky.” Caillat was born in California in 1985 and grew up in Malibu and Ventura County. She grew up surrounded by music with her father, Ken Caillat, who is most notably remembered for co-production and engineer credits on Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours” among several other albums.
Last time around, Colbie Caillat was feeling "Bubbly," and the entire pop world seemed to want a sip. But this time, effervescence flirts with explosiveness. For her sophomore album, Breakthrough, Colbie has shaken up her sound, bringing in a wider array of producers and players, and significantly picking up the tempo at times from her debut effort’s signature ballads. So keep an eye on those carbonation levels: champagne corks may fly.

Sun Valley 2009 Wellness Festival Concert featuring Toni Childs

Sunday, May 24 at 7:30 PM Toni Childs will perform at the Sun Valley Pavilion as part of the Sun Valley Wellness Festival.

Toni Childs Toni Childs, who most recently performed at two of President Obama’s Inaugural Balls, will be performing at the Sun Valley Pavilion. Toni’s debut album, Union, earned her Grammy nominations for Best New Artist and Best Female Rock Vocal Performance. The New York Times called Childs “one of the most promising among a new generation of composers and performers.” Her first tour was opening for Bob Dylan. Toni’s most recent album, The Woman’s Boat, earned Toni her third Grammy nomination, for Best Female Rock Performance. Her music is deeply soulful and heart awakening. It comes from her personal and spiritual healing and transformation, and from her deep devotion to Mother Earth. She is much more than a "rock star"… people have compared her performances to the "heart-opening" music of Deva Prem.

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