Wellness retreats, Health Fairs, Conferences
As we approach spring and think about moving our bodies and improving our health, there is a wealth of information, support, and tools to be found at wellness retreats, health fairs, and various health related conferences. For instance, next Wednesday, March 2nd, Topeka’s Washburn University will be hosting a Wellness Fair from 11:00-1:30 at the Memorial Union, Room A. I will have a table there and would love to visit with anyone who is interested in holistic healing. Here I will be the teacher. March 9th-13th I will be attending a yoga conference in St. Louis. There I will be the student. There is a lot of great information out there—for both the teacher and the student.
I learned long ago that if I wanted to see what was on the cutting edge and what the newest tool or innovation for health and wellness might be, I would find it at a conference. Bureaucracy and academia are meant to move slowly and establish reliability, but they do not do so well with encouraging innovation. When I certified in Pilates 15 years ago, it was not yet being taught in the universities here. Zumba is now a household word, but I remember being at a conference when Zumba was brand new and being played on monitors in the foyers to catch people’s interest. The concept of simple, fun, repetitive movement to motivating Latin music was a great idea that really caught on. It was at a conference that I found Yamuna over ten years ago. I had no idea then what a profound impact the beautiful woman with long, silver hair rolling around on various balls would have on my life and on the lives of so many others. She does not do conferences anymore, but many of her practitioners do. So look around, and your life may be powerfully influenced by something you find.
Technology now makes it very easy to find fairs and conferences on whatever topic may interest you. A few minutes of searching can yield a wealth of information about what is available near you—or far away. There is always a chance that the event may not be what you hoped it would be, but reviews and a little more research can usually ensure you will be pleased with your investment.
And it is an investment. Even free wellness fairs like the one I am doing Wednesday at Washburn University are an investment in time. This is a small investment—an hour or two at a local hosting facility. Large conference experiences will be much more expensive. A large gathering such as IDEA fitness conferences or the yoga conference I will be attending cost about $200 a day tuition plus transportation, food, and lodging. This can certainly add up, especially when you add in the cost of being away from work as well.
I believe, however, that the benefits justify the cost. Leaders in education and wellness come together to teach and to learn, and as a result everyone becomes a better teacher and/or student. And we meet people. Or not. And either way we fill a need we have. I remember being at an Inner IDEA conference years ago (yoga, pilates, tai chi, etc.). There were two breakfasts being offered. One area was a silent area for people to eat and be still and ponder. The other was a busy area of networking and meeting other people who shared interests, passions, and business ideas. Sometimes we want to network. Sometimes we want to be alone. Attending conferences can give you both options.
And a fresh perspective. It is easy to get stuck in just knowing what we know. We are beings that want to learn, to explore, to understand more. The world we live in offers many educational resources online, and these can be extremely helpful. But especially when we are learning about the body, sometimes we need a body to teach us. There is something very important and almost magical about people coming together to teach and to learn. Some little piece of information we had not considered before can give us a whole new perspective and approach to what we are trying to do.
Some of that comes just from getting away from the demands of daily life—groceries, laundry, work, bills—and being in a different place with different people doing different things.
Yamuna does much of her work now at retreats or at what she calls “Body School,” a few days in a beautiful environment focusing exclusively on the health and well-being of our bodies. Whatever we are able to take in during the conference or retreat experience comes back with us—knowledge, insight and understanding become ours to help us in everything we do.
So what are some things you are interested in learning? Are there some areas of wellness you would like to explore? Have you been to any particularly great retreats, fairs, or conferences? What have you experienced there? I would love to hear about them!