The concept of wellness is unique in a world crowded by fitness regimes, diets and products, taking an approach that is comprehensive for mind, body and spirituality. If one aspect of your life isn't healthy, no matter how many pushups you can do, then you can't reasonably be considered well.
Enter Whistler Wellness Week, nine days of activities to start off your summer.
The focal point of Wellness Week is the Whistler Yoga Conference, which runs June 4 to 6. This three-day event boasts more than 20 teachers and over 40 seminars and workshops. So far 150 people have registered to take part, some from as far away as Mexico and Texas. Some 70 per cent of attendees are yoga teachers looking to enhance their skills. Eight local instructors from Whistler are also on the list.
Glenn Iles, who is producing the conference with yoga instructor Tanya Di Valentino, says they are pleased with the numbers.
"It was in the target range of what we wanted to achieve, but of course we're very pleased with that for a first-time conference," Iles said.
Most of the registration was gained through networking, online and through yoga studios says Iles. The conference instructors also recruited their friends and colleagues.
As for the future, Iles says the goal is to try to double the number of participants for next year - although he says that might be a bit aggressive.
"I think we have a niche of opportunity within the mountain resort environment for a yoga conference while focusing on advanced students and teachers, and on enhancing skills and knowledge for teachers across North America.
"We're not competing with the big conferences, we're not trying to be the Toronto Yoga Show or the Vancouver Yoga Show, just a niche event for yogis."
For more information visit WhistlerYogaConference.com.
Wellness Week gets underway at the two-night Veracis Wellness Spring Retreat at Brew Creek Lodge, which runs Friday, May 28 through Sunday May 30.
If you're sticking closer to town there's the Whistler Wellness Fair on May 29 at the Westin Resort and Spa from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., the Adult Try-a-Tri and Kids of Steel triathlons on May 29, the Whistler Valley Trail Run on May 30 and Whistler Bike to Work Week from May 31 to June 4.
The Wellness Fair is now entering its seventh year, and will offer everything from food (noon to 4 p.m.) to holistic and health products, to therapy at more than 35 booths on the second level of the Westin. Participants include the local Slow Food movement, an interactive art therapy display, a wine-tasting booth and even a machine that scans your body's aura. There will also be a speaker every hour during the fair until 5 p.m. A complete list is available at www.whistlerwellnessfair.com.
Organizer Roxanne Chappell is pleased with the way the fair has grown over the years.
"What I really love is that it gives the whole corridor and people here who do amazing things an opportunity to come out and let them know they're out there," said Chappell. "It's a good opportunity to see what's out there, and the main thing with a wellness fair is to get people to come out and try something new, and to never give up if they have a healing or wellness crisis in their life. It's a broad spectrum from chiropractors to people doing energy work."
Iles is primarily focused on the yoga conference, but had a hand in creating Wellness Week several years ago. He believes the Wellness tourism industry has a lot of potential in Whistler, and that word is already getting out.
"I think we're on the right track at this point," he said. "There are two things happening. One is that travelling for wellness is continuing to grow as people are looking for vacations as an opportunity to improve themselves, whether it's for personal well-being or fitness. The second thing is that Whistler is becoming known as a wellness destination, although a combination of things needs to happen to become more well known.
"One thing that needs to happen is the facilities, and we're catching up with the Scandinave Spa and the new spa at the Fairmont. We also have fresh mountain air, hiking, cross-country mountain biking, a new Nordic skiing facility as a legacy of the Olympics... that are creating the awareness that Whistler is a fantastic place to go. We have world class physios and we're starting to get events - like the Every Woman in the World conference and this yoga conference."
Iles has also helped bring self-help and spiritual guru Deepak Chopra to Whistler twice, and says he will be returning for a third time.
For more information on Whistler Wellness Week visit www.whistlerwellness.com.