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LifeFest, which took place Sept. 8-10, is hailed as Hawaii’s
premier health and wellness event designed to “educate the mind,
rejuvenate the spirit, encourage physical fitness and highlight
indigenous Hawaiian cultural and spiritual practices.”
For the weekend, the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, opened its ballrooms
and boardrooms to health experts’ lectures and workshops, and a
fairly even mix of about 3,100 residents and visitors alike lined
up to pay anywhere from $20 per activity to $195 for a Power Pass
allowing access to most events.
Five-night accommodation packages with LifeFest tickets were
available at the Ritz for $2,090-$2,350, and the nearby Kapalua
Villas featured two-night packages ranging from $848-$1,208.
While the event is growing into more of a signature event for
the Ritz, few guests at this point, seemed to travel specifically
to Hawaii for LifeFest.
With sessions kicking off as early as 5 a.m. and wrapping up
around dinnertime, clients could attend some 20 events in a day
although there was some overlap. Between sessions, clients could
check out the expo to sample and buy health-related products,
including healing music, touch therapies, mineral make up, local
art, dietary information and clothing.
As a fan of any exercise that also involves sweets, I opted to
start my morning with “The Yoga + Chocolate Experience: Melt Your
Heart, Free Your Mind.” During this 90-minute workout, David
Romanelli guided participates through a series of poses while
pausing every so often to snack on dark chocolate. The idea is to
heighten the yoga experience and also to get some, perhaps
much-needed, anti-oxidants in the body. Romanelli, who has been
featured in The New York Times, teaches classes in Venice and Santa
Monica, Calif., and offers wine and yoga retreats.
In addition to cooking demonstrations and lectures, including
“Is Your Diet Making You Sick?” and “Living Cuisine and The
Balanced Plate,” LifeFest also focused on ways to stay young.
Clients could learn about a variety of cutting-edge anti-aging
therapies again, anti-oxidants were among the key topics.
Keeping with tradition, LifeFest hosted events focused on
indigenous Hawaiian practices, including a purification sweat
house, a hands-on spiritual healing demonstration designed to
release emotional blockages and restore balance (pono) and harmony
(huikala), as well as a rare chance to meet chief Sonne Reyna, who
discussed secrets of native ceremonial healing.
The keynote speakers also drew quite a crowd. In a rare island
appearance, best-selling author and world-renowned pioneer in
integrative medicine Dr. Andrew Weil discussed lifestyle practices
to promote graceful aging and optimal health to a sold-out
In perhaps a less-expected topic considering the venue, Yahoo!
veteran turned life coach Tim Sanders told the audience how they
could be more, well, likeable. The Likeability Factor (or
L-Factor), Sanders said depends on “your ability to consistently
produce positive experiences in others regardless of
And according to Sanders, likeable people are not only able to
maintain positive relationships, but also tend to receive better
health care and often find greater success in the workplace.
After all that sitting during lectures, clients could work on
their moves with sessions like belly dancing and ChiRunning. I
headed to the “Healing Movements: Salsa” class, taught by a local
instructor. Ashley Mueller, of The Studio Maui, took our group
through the basic salsa steps, and we even learned a turn or
At the end of the hour-long class, my partner looked at me and
said: “You really need to work on those steps.”
I guess there’s always next year.
The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua
The Studio Maui