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25th Annual Healthy Living
Retreat for Women

Get away to spectacular Fallen Leaf Lake, May 16-19, 2019 for a fun, educational and restorative weekend with Stanford and Bay Area health experts. Attend lectures and hands-on workshops to learn the latest scientific information on women's wellness, then head outdoors for a hike or sail, or simply kick back with a glass of wine. Presented by the Stanford Health Improvement Program within the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Spring 2018 Retreat Highlights

Flourishing through Cultivating Wisdom
There are research proven ways to maximize our physical and emotional well-being through the life cycle. These are important and involve nutrition, exercise, community and managing stress. However, all of our attempts to defy death and limitation end in failure as mortality gets us all. And the human desire to live a life that does not involve suffering and loss is futile as those experiences underlie so much of life. The closing chapters of life as suggested by Erik Erickson have their unique developmental needs different from those of other stages. The good news is that older people tend to be happier than those that are younger.

Many of the wisdom traditions across cultures suggest that wisdom may not only be the critical task of the aging human being but the very purpose of our lives here on Earth. This talk will explore aging successfully as the development of wisdom which includes taking rigorous care of the physical body as we make peace with relinquishing that body that will die. It will include strategies for connecting successfully with others and feeling comfortable with ourselves. This talk will suggest that the earlier we choose to embrace and model wisdom may be one of the critical decisions of our lives.

Presented by
Frederic Luskin, PhD


Cancer across the Life Cycle
In this interactive presentation, we will discuss basic concepts related to cancer prevention, detection and treatment. We will consider how development and age affect cancer risk, and how cancer treatment affects all dimensions of life across age groups. We will reflect together on how society and the media have depicted cancer over the past several decades, and how our ideas and attitudes towards diagnosis and treatment have evolved with new discoveries that have expanded therapeutic options.

Presented by
Lidia Schapira, MD


Body Hacking (for the Sane): Using Exercise Physiology to Slow Aging
Physical activity is a powerful medicine that can promote health and change the trajectory of aging. However, in the modern world, we have drifted away from incorporating physical activity into our lives. As the barriers to daily movement have gotten stronger, the burden to exercise has gotten greater. As scientists learn more about the pathways of disease, the causes of aging and the mechanisms by which exercise exerts its benefits, we can develop targeted exercise strategies that can slow (i.e. “hack”) the aging process. In this session, we will discuss how physical activity can slow aging and how different types and amounts of activity can optimize desired health and fitness outcomes.

Presented by
Anne L. Friedlander, PhD

Workshops are offered twice concurrently, so participants choose two of the four to attend.

The Eyes Have It!
What can you do to keep your eyes healthy and beautiful? This interactive talk will show you ways to keep your eyes looking young and bright, and inform you how to preserve your vision. Modern techniques for restoring vision will also be covered, including LASIK and intraocular lenses. Come find out the latest information about eyelid surgery, fillers and botox around the eyes. We will discuss various conditions and diseases that can affect the eyes, including those that come with aging. You will learn about cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration, and how often to be screened for these conditions.

Presented by
Barbara C. Erny, MD


Diabetes Prevention - How to Reduce Your Risk
Have you been told that you have pre-diabetes, are borderline diabetic, or that you are at risk to develop diabetes? If so, you are not alone. There are 84 million Americans who have pre-diabetes. Before people develop type 2 diabetes, they almost always have “pre-diabetes” -- blood glucose levels that are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Recent research has shown that some long-term damage to the body, especially the heart and circulatory system, may already be occurring during pre-diabetes. The good news is that scientific studies have conclusively shown that people with pre-diabetes can prevent the development of type 2 diabetes by making changes in their diet, losing some weight and increasing their level of physical activity. Participate in this workshop to learn what you can do right now to prevent diabetes.

Presented by
Shauna Hyde, MS, RD, CDE


Gut Feeling: How to Nourish a Healthy Intestinal Microbiota
Changes in the diet can change the bacteria in the human digestive system. The bacteria that inhabit the human digestive system are referred to as your intestinal microbiota. Maintaining the quantity and diversity of bacteria in your intestinal microbiota has implications on health and the prevention of numerous diseases like Irritable Bowel Disorders (IBD), metabolic disorders, obesity, and type 2 diabetes (T2D), and is even linked to mental health via the gut-brain axis. In this workshop, Dr. Lisa Offringa will talk about the basics of the intestinal microbiota and introduce how to nourish your gut bacteria to maintain health and wellness. Topics will include plant foods and fiber, and pre- and pro-biotic supplements to cultivate your beneficial gut bacteria. Choosing foods high in dietary fiber and fermented foods, as well as selecting quality dietary supplements will be discussed.

Presented by
Lisa Offringa, PhD


Building and Nurturing Your Wellness Ecosystem
The overall goal of this session is to identify key strategies that we can implement in our everyday lives to improve our own health and wellbeing as well as that of our families and friends. To do this, we will spend time understanding the evidence on multiple levels of influence on individual health and wellbeing and new cutting edge research on how to nurture health and wellbeing at all levels.

Presented by
Lisa Goldman Rosas, PhD, MPH

A Joyful World Beat Dance Class for Every Body with Live Music
This will leave you creatively stimulated, physically and mentally refreshed, and culturally enriched. Revitalize your body and soul with a joyful movement experience as you explore the sensual and expressive dance steps inspired from world Cultures including the Caribbean, Cuba, Spain India Africa, and Brazil. Enjoy a great integrative workout that includes beginning dance technique and explorations for developing a strong, supple, graceful body while learning beautiful new ways to move.

Presented by
Deanna Anderson, BFA


Can Walking Improve your Creativity?
This workshop will first explore the research based relationship between walking and creativity. You will pick an unresolved personal or a common problem, life hassle, or situation. Then you’ll try a guided walk to help generate some alternative perspectives or possible resolutions. The ultimate goal is to end up with either a plan or action or a path to resolution!

Presented by
Marily Oppezzo, PhD, MS, RD


Functional Strength through Balance
Join Jennifer for this active functional fitness workshop presenting a series of exercises to enhance your balance, flexibility, and posture. You will have an opportunity to practice exercises which take little or no equipment and are great for workouts at home, the office, or on the go. Gain confidence in doing the activities you love to do as you improve your functional strength. Progressions will be offered for all fitness levels. We will also spend some time figuring out how to make this a part of your daily routine starting NOW, not next week, month, or year!

Presented by
Jennifer Robinson, PhD

Fitness Testing/ Body Composition Screening
A health & fitness coach will lead you one-on-one through the testing in a supportive, encouraging environment. At the end you will review results with your fitness coach and create a plan to make health behavior changes to meet your goals. If you have prior assessment results, you can compare current and past results.

Presented by
Julie Anderson


Taking Your Action Plan Home
In this interactive session at the close of the retreat, Joyce Hanna will help you make your plan to put the information you learned into action when you return home. She’ll also talk about research-based tools of behavior change that will help you incorporate your goals into your everyday life.

Presented by
Joyce Hanna MA, MS

Jennifer's Pilates class focuses on the basics and how to get the most out of each exercise in the safest way possible. Beginners and advanced participants will be sure to get a great workout. Appropriate for any skill level.

Presented by
Jennifer Robinson


Sunrise Vinyasa Yoga
Begin your morning with Vinyasa, a style of yoga where asanas (postures) are linked with breath, creating beautiful movement and flow, from one posture to the next. The postures promote alignment, flexibility, strength and endurance. An active breath meditation will complete the class.

Presented by
Jennifer Robinson


Gentle TanShiva Yoga™ is an original movement form created by Deanna. TanShiva is based on the curving, spiraling and undulating patterns that form the evolutionary foundation for all human movement. Bringing mind to body, and feeling to breath, you will curve, spiral and undulate through a sequence of safe and gentle pleasurable movements and elegant postures. These progressions are designed to build deep support and encourage ease, and suppleness of movement. You will lengthen, strengthen, and engage your entire body in new and interesting ways. Practicing Tan Shiva will give you an opportunity to express your unique spirit within a balanced and intelligent movement form. Deanna adds the element of touch as a teaching tool. The dimension of hands-on touch support enables Deanna to be more responsive to your individual needs and limitations. This class is for persons at all levels of movement abilities and experience.

Presented by
Deanna Anderson, BFA


Tai Chi
Join us for a relaxing introduction to the healing art of tai chi. In this hour, you will be introduced to, and practice, a set of continuous, slow movements using the principle of shifting one’s weight while keeping the body stable and the breath smooth and even. This graceful practice begins with intention (in the mind) and is expressed in the gentle, relaxing movements of the body. Dress comfortably and come ready for a refreshing “workout” of the mind and body.

Presented by
Katie Sutherland

Being Yin: Preserving Health in the Modern World
Melinda will be discussing eight lifestyle tips to promote well-being and balanced health in the modern world. Stress is a major contributor to many health conditions. In our busy lives, we often find it difficult to carve out even more time for stress management practices. Through many years of working with traditional Chinese medicine and lifestyle modification with her patients, Melinda has found helpful and easy to implement routines to support the nervous system in working for you rather than against. Come and learn a Chinese medicine understanding of balance of Yin & Yang and how it can help provide a guideline to living a more balanced life.

 Presented by
Melinda Choy, MS, LAc

2018 Rates

The Healthy Living Retreat for Women is affiliated with the the Stanford Health Improvement Program and the Stanford Alumni Association (SAA). Applications are accepted from all interested parties, though Stanford alumnae have first priority; all applications are ranked by postmark. Additionally, SAA members receive a $100 discount. If you are sharing a lodging unit with non-alumnae family members and friends, one alumna gives the group priority reservation status.

SAA Member Rate*Nonmember Rate
$835 $935

If you're interested in becoming a member, please visit our membership page.

The Thursday, May 17 — Sunday, May 20 retreat package includes:
•  Three nights' lodging in a private bedroom with shared bath
•  Healthy meals from our chef's inspired and delicious repertoire
•  On-site recreation
•  Lectures and workshops
•  Daily movement and relaxation sessions
•  Body composition screening and fitness testing
•  Program binder with lecture and workshop materials
•  Specially designed Healthy Living Retreat gift

If you wish to arrive early on Wednesday, May 16, please add $226 to the rates listed above. This optional pre-retreat date covers your lodging, three meals, Thursday morning workshop and recreational facilities. This is an opportunity to acclimate and enjoy Sierra Camp before the regular program begins.

Please note that rates do not include taxes on lodging and meals.


•  Simple yet comfortable accommodations in Sierra Camp's lakefront cabins and lodge
•  Private bedroom with shared bath
•  Linens, towels and daily housekeeping are provided
•  Attend with your favorite women: cabin assignments are based on requests. If you do not request a cabin mate, we will assign one.


Reservations require a $100 nonrefundable deposit with your reservation form. We accept checks only, and they should be made payable to "SAA Sierra Programs, LLC". Balance is due by April 13.


Payments will be refunded, less $100, only if we receive written notice of cancellation before April 27. No refunds for cancellations will be made after April 27. The cancellation policy also applies to Wednesday reservations.


For reservations, contact Liz Aiken at 530-542-5600 or For program questions, contact Morgan Marshall at

Applications will be available in January 2019.

It's not just lectures and workshops! Join us for:

  • Early morning meditation, Pilates, yoga and trail running!
  • Paddle boarding, kayaking and guided hikes
  • Star-gazing cruises
  • So much more!

Camper Testimonial

“The talks were excellent and I learned quite a bit. I had fun kayaking, doing Zumba, hula hooping, and fly fishing. The location is beautiful, the food was delicious, and the fitness evaluation is very useful — what's not to like!”

Caroline Caufield, MBA '88

Maps and Transportation

Take a peek at our gallery

Connect with the Healthy Living Retreat Group

Coordinate carpooling to Stanford Sierra Camp, and afterward, share memories/photos and discuss retreat topics with fellow attendees

Join the group »


Contact Liz Aiken at
(530) 542-5600
or send an email