Dr. Safdi has served as Chairman of Gastroenterology at Cincinnati Deaconess Hospital as well as President of the Ohio GI and Liver Institute.

He publishes a newsletter on health and wellness. He was also co-founder of the Consultants for Clinical Research, the Ohio GI and Liver Institute, and eMerge Health Care Solutions. He was elected and served as the President of the Ohio GI Society. He has been featured on the national program of Medical Crossfire and authored or co-authored numerous medical articles and abstracts. He has been asked to speak on numerous occasions on Gastroenterology and health and wellness topics around the US and world. The Telluride Integrative Wellness Summits had Dr. Safdi as one of the featured speakers along with Deepak Chopra. He has volunteered his time as a medical ambassador to numerous countries with People to People. His visits to India, Africa, Vietnam, Cambodia, Cuba as well as others to study and lecture on healthcare has helped him understand the need for disease prevention and not just a focus on treatment. His understanding of the need to incorporate diet, exercise, education, and alternative approaches has driven him to start longevity programs to focus on lifestyle changes that are durable focusing on evidence based quality medical research.


Ellen has over 16 years of experience coaching competitive swimming, and 10 years working in the fitness industry teaching Zumba, dance, indoor cycling, barre, water aerobics, swim and strength and conditioning. She was the Assistant Varsity Swim Coach and Aquatics Director for the University of Chicago from 2007-2010 and then went on to earn her Master’s Degree in Sports Administration from Northwestern University in 2011. While earning her degree, Ellen was the Head Swim Coach for the Irving Park Penguins and taught swimming at fitness for the Spa at Trump Tower in Chicago. She then went on to coach internationally competitive swimmers and triathletes at FAC in Boulder, CO before landing in Telluride in 2015. She believes that, “You only get one body” and loves helping people pursue fitness in a way that ensures that they can be active for as long as they live.


Eliza will help develop a nutritional plan and follow-up with participants in regards to a healthy diet for life. She has a master’s degree in food science & human nutrition, is a credentialed registered dietitian nutritionist, has a bachelor’s degree in exercise & sport science and is an ACE certified personal trainer. Eliza works full time at an integrated health clinic where she provides individual nutrition counseling related to healthy eating, weight loss, and medical nutrition therapy. She also offers community healthy cooking classes and grocery store tours, private nutrition counseling at the Spa at the Peaks resort, and a weekly nutrition class and indoor cycling class. Eliza believes in a “whole body approach to health and views wellness as a combination of physical, mental, and emotional well-being.” In her free time you can find her exploring the immense outdoor abundances that the San Juan Mountains and Southwest have to offer.


Debbie Madaris has been an integral part of The Peaks Resort and Spa Fitness team for the last 14 years. She is a certified Personal Trainer through the ISSA and her 40 years of experience in the fitness industry includes certifications from ACE, IDA, Spinning, CrossFit, Zumba and Yoga. She also created the ever-popular Peaks Fitness Class, “Strengthen and Lengthen,” and also teaches, “Mobility Maintenance” when she is not busy training clients. Her current professional focus is strength, conditioning, flexibility and mobility. Her approach as instructor and trainer is to “keep things fun, educational and casual”.


Rachel is an ACE certified Personal Trainer, Schwinn Indoor Cycling instructor. She is currently working towards her NASM Certificates in Golf Fitness Specialist, Corrective Exercise and Performance Enhancement Specialization. She worked in the industry as a personal trainer and group fitness instructor for three years in her hometown, Australia and started work with The Peaks Resort and Spa at the start of 2017. Rachel believes that “fitness is about so much more than exercise; it’s a catalyst for positive change in every aspect of your life.”

Myofascial Release

Myofascial Release is used with a Foam Roller and it’s great for mobility, flexibility and warming up the body before a workout.
Foam Rolling helps to relieve muscle soreness after a workout and can help loosen up muscles before a workout. It helps to break up any tightness and it can be used regularly even if you’re not in the gym or planning a workout. If you work a desk job or a job that requires long periods of sitting or standing, using the foam roller will release any tension in your muscles. When foam rolling, you may feel some tightness or stiffness in a particular area, hold for 30 seconds or more whilst taking big deep breathes until you feel a stretch and release.


Harrison has a tremendous talent working with our retreat members in developing fun and personally crafted workouts that can be continued for a lifetime. He is a Personal Trainer who specializes in strength training, rehabilitation, injury prevention, muscle imbalance correction and sport-specific training for athletes of all ages. In addition to his Bachelors of Science in Kinesiology, he is currently certified through the National Academy of Sports Medicine for Personal Training and Golf Fitness, the Active Stretching Technique by Annette Lang, and also holds a Functional Movement Screening certification. After completing his college education, Harrison interned with a physical therapist and went on to become a personal trainer in 2010. Some of his hobbies include fishing, hiking, cars and dogs, and he is incredibly excited to be living in Telluride and training at The Peaks.


Kat will be an integral part of our team and help develop the ability of participants to understand the benefits of (yoga, pilates, etc). She is a 500hr certified Balanced Body Pilates Instructor and Kaiut Yoga
level one instructor. She has been teaching yoga for 25 years and is also certified in Hatha, Yoga for Athletes and is currently continuing her Kaiut Yoga education. Kat has been teaching pilates for 7 years and is also a certified Advanced Myofascial Therapist. She is endlessly fascinated with the intricacies of the human body, especially the body’s ability to heal.


My name is Gayle Worth and I am a NLP Clinical Hypnotherapist and Past Life Regressionist. Hypnosis is a truly amazing tool that can help with anything you need in life. In Hypnotherapy sessions you enter into natural states of consciousness that we actually enter every day. Ever wonder how you got home even though you were behind the wheel? That is an example of being in a hypnotic state! In hypnotherapy, you are entering your unconscious (subconscious) mind which is an altered state of consciousness that lies between awake and sleep. Entering this state will help to improve your life!

Hypnotherapy is most commonly used for: Stress, anxiety, overcoming addictions, overcoming fears and phobias, pain management, insomnia, most depressions, weight loss, quitting smoking cigarettes, goal achievement, surgery preparation, birthing, personal problems, spiritual connection, and regression therapy. Hypnotherapy is a safe therapeutic tool that can allow you to break past barriers and find true happiness. I look forward to being a part of your growth!

Common Myths about Hypnotherapy

Hypnosis causes people to lose control and reveal secrets.
Fact: Hypnosis is very safe and you are in complete control in every session at the level of your subconscious mind. A hypnotherapist never has the ability to “make” you do anything, they are merely a facilitator or a guide. In other words, if you do not like where a hypnotherapist is going, your subconscious mind is so powerful it will reject the suggestions. Also, as the client you can lie in hypnosis just as easily as in your waking state.

Some people cannot be hypnotized/Weak-minded or unintelligent people are more successful subjects.
Fact: Everyone has the capability to be hypnotized. It is actually a natural state that you enter into every day when we are waking up in the morning and when we fall asleep at night. Also, the ability to be hypnotized has nothing to do with intelligence. People may have had unsuccessful attempts in the past and that frankly has to do with the hypnotherapist. There are many different techniques to put someone into a hypnotic state and a properly trained therapist will find a method that will work best for the individual.

Some people may not be able to awaken from hypnosis. Hypnosis has harmful effects.
Fact: No one has ever been stuck in a trance before. It is simply impossible. There are no recorded harmful effects from any hypnotherapy session. Even if a hypnotherapist were to leave the room while the client is in a trance, they will simply come back to their normal awake state on their own. Actually, any time you wish to get out of a hypnotic state you can simply open your eyes and become fully alert.

Hypnosis isn’t an effective therapy.
Fact: It is EXTREMELY effective.
A comparison study shows: “Psychoanalysis: 38% recovery after 600 sessions. Behavior Therapy: 72% recovery after 22 sessions. Hypnotherapy: 93% recovery after 6 sessions.”
Source: American Health Magazine

Why is it a good idea to practice yoga? Can anyone practice?

People often get intimidated by the idea of practicing yoga because they might have an image of someone doing elaborate poses such as headstances. This is not what yoga truly is though. Yoga is for everyone, every age, every body, male or female. Yoga should be practiced by everyone because it is the ultimate stress reducer. There are various forms of yoga out there and every posture can be done with modifications to make them more accessible at any practice level. Another amazing reason to start practicing yoga is that it has been proven to ease mental and physical pain.

A common pose in yoga is Upward Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana). You begin by lying on your stomach with your legs stretched behind you. To help lengthen the spine you can tuck the toes for a moment, then bring the feet flat with the tops of the feet on the mat. Then you bend your elbows so they are almost perpendicular to the floor. Keep the elbows close to the ribs so they are not flaring out. Keep the shoulders down the back as you inhale and push into the hands lifting the chest off the mat. You push into the tops of the feet to lift the thighs off the mat. Modifications for this pose: you can use blocks under your hands for leverage. You can drop the thighs and keep them glued to the mat. You can only lift up very slightly with the chest-moving into a half cobra pose. This posture is an example of how there are always modifications available for every pose. Also, Yoga is truly about listening to your body and you are allowed to rest in a Child’s Pose or Embryo Pose at any time needed; both are resting postures so you can catch your breath.

What is meditation and why should you practice it?

Meditation in the simplest terms is taking time to quiet your mind and body. Meditation is the stillness that everyone needs in their life. Our society is so non-stop, that we need to take the time to slow down and become still. This allows us to reduce stress, anxiety, fear, and any other negative emotions that may be harming us or holding us back from going after our dreams. It may be hard to get started into meditation at first, but once you are able to find a routine you are able to change your life in ways you may not know you can!

There are some very simple ways you can start to practice at home. Set your timer to 5 minutes. The easiest way to slow down is to focus on your breathing. Notice the slight coolness of the inhale as it comes in through your nose and notice the slight warmth of the exhale as it comes out through your nose. Focus on this until the timer goes off. Another great way to practice is alternate nostril breathing. In a comfortable seated position and with eyes closed, cover your right nostril with your right thumb and breathe solely in and out with your left nostril. Continue for 3 minutes. Release right nostril and cover left nostril with your left thumb. Breathe in and out of right nostril for 3 minutes. At first you will notice mind chatter when start to practice meditation, but eventually it will become easier to quiet the mind. Also it is a practice, you can never be perfect, but even just trying for 5-10 minutes every day, you will start to notice change in your life.


Regan has a 200-hour yoga certification, a 700-hour diploma in somatic bodywork and a master’s degree in communication. She teaches Hatha, Restorative and Prenatal Yoga. She believes yoga is a living practice that goes beyond that mat. She believes coming to the mat is a way to come home to our Selves. Regan has been with the Peaks Resort and Spa the last five years sharing Restorative Yoga with her community.

Restorative Yoga with Regan is about relaxing deeply. Participants will hold poses 5-7 minutes to invite the body to unwind, open and reorganize. The practice includes a series of poses that work with posture and alignment. The work may seem subtle, but has great benefits. It invites us to “be here now” and open to the idea of “less is more.” Some inversion, back bending and twisting are common, but practiced gently and receptively. The class is open to all, including those who’ve never practiced yoga before. This includes the elderly and pregnant women.


Coach Miller has worked at many levels in the fitness industry for 40 years. As a Strength and Conditioning Coach and an Athletic Trainer, he has prepared athletes, ages 13 to 70, in track and cross-country, football, basketball, wrestling, skiing, and baseball.

Coach has been involved also as an athlete, competing in football, track, and Olympic weightlifting. Currently he is an avid recreational athlete – skiing, mountain biking, and hiking.

Coach’s philosophy on fitness is simple – personal fitness is a lifestyle and a choice to live a healthier, longer, and more vibrant life.


Eliza Gass MS, RD has always been fascinated by the brilliant and seamless complexities of the human body. This fascination was the driving force of her pursuit to become a nutrition professional. Eliza first obtained a bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Sports Science before receiving a master’s degree in Food Science and Human Nutrition. She is a certified personal trainer and fitness instructor and is credentialed as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN). Eliza works in an integrated health clinic providing individualized nutrition counseling tailored to varying patient needs. Her nutrition philosophy supports a whole body approach to nutrition and eating wherein food fuels body, mind, and spirit. She believes that the diet should be composed of mostly whole, minimally processed foods. She also recognizes the strong ties that food and eating have to culture, social interaction, pleasure, and the environment and attempts to view nutritional science through those lenses. Eliza believes in the diet as a lifelong eating pattern and encourages consumers to be weary of diets that promise a quick fix, that require immense supplementation and financial input, or that eliminate one or more of the main food groups.

Fitting of a nutrition professional, Eliza enjoys, foraging, planting, and gardening and spends many evenings creating new dishes with self-grown and harvested foods. Aside from food and nutrition, Eliza’s main passions are entangled in the mountains. She was born and raised in the heart of Colorado’s San Juan Mountains and spends most of her free time exploring their wild terrain in one way or another. In the warmer months she can be found hiking mountain peaks and when the snow flies she is often snowboarding.


Jenna’s relationship with yoga started in 2000, and little did she know that it would have such a positive impact on her life. Soon after diving into the world of yoga, Jenna realized that this practice wasn’t just physical but that it also broadened her emotional and spiritual awareness.

She started teaching yoga in 2008 and has studied several different styles including hatha, vinyasa, yin, restorative, and anusara. Jenna’s love for yoga practice spurred her passion for holistic health and wellness and inspired her to study holistic nutrition. She now shares her knowledge of yoga and healthy living both on and off the mat in her classes, online cleanse programs, workshops and retreats.

Jenna recognizes that yoga has powerful, therapeutic effects on the body and mind which can impact how we feel on a daily basis and how we show up in life. She believes that integrating the lessons learned on the mat into everyday life is the true medicine of this practice.

To find out more about Jenna’s approach to holistic health, yoga, and plant-based living, checkout her website jennacarpenter.org

“The groundwork for all happiness is health”–Leigh Hunt


It is a foundational piece of yoga asana that is not just in the physical form but in the mind. Sometimes flexibility means going out of your way, meeting in the middle, leaning into the discomfort, surrendering and letting go of control. It isn’t always easy or convenient. It is a learned behavior that is achievable when we put the effort into becoming more flexible which can be as subtle as shifting perspective. An example shift in perspective could be when you observe your behaviors and ensure that you are not being reactive. Yoga teachers are constantly preaching about observation and for good reason. When we can come from a place of non-attachment, aparigraha in Sanskrit, we can be more loving, sweeter and lighter. This act of being flexible doesn’t mean being passive but instead, the importance of staying open, non-reactive/judgmental and meeting people where they are which ultimately means compromise.
Yoga has helped me over the years become more flexible in my body, that’s for sure. But the true lessons that transpired have broadened my perspective into becoming a more open and receptive human being. The practice is a fine art of when to be strong versus flexible when to push harder verses when to back off. For example, I follow a predominately plant-based diet but when I am in another country and I don’t have many options if any at all, I do my best to choose accordingly and unfortunately, it isn’t always practical or possible. I travel prepared and do my research. However, there are moments that I let go of my stance and compromise with the cards that I have been dealt. I surrender my control over the situation and I embrace the culture along with the options that I have, simply to be less neurotic and more malleable.
I do my best to integrate these beautiful lessons of yoga in everyday life whether it be in my relationships, work, play, projects, travel and the list goes on. I choose to be compassionate, understanding and loving. It’s about the application process and making this world a better place which can be expressed through our interactions with others- being easy going, laid-back and once again, flexible. It’s a powerful skill to not overreact in certain situations but instead make the choice to let go and let flow.
There are some things you don’t have control over but in the end, you can choose to respond with compassionate understanding. Take a moment to step into someone else’s shoes. Inhale deeply to reset and step back from overreacting. During the exhale, let go of fear, anxiety and anything that doesn’t serve you. Remind yourself that everything will be ok if you let it be. Embrace your flexibility so you can be loving even when it’s new territory and uncomfortable.

Restorative Yoga Helps With Sleep

Who knew that restorative yoga is good for sleep? It makes sense right? Re-stor-a-tive: having the ability to restore health, strength, or a feeling of well-being. That definition fits like a glove when it comes to restorative yoga. This style is typically slower, holding poses 2-10 minutes at a time. Similar to yin yoga but not the same. Restorative yoga was designed to help relax and slow everything down. In result, it can leave you feeling like butta! You will want to melt all over the place!! So practice in the evening or even better before bed. I have found, the most beneficial piece to practicing restorative yoga is how much it helps with sleep.

Whether you are new to yoga or have been practicing your entire life, here are a few poses that instantly help with dropping into your body. Keep in mind, the most important component to this practice (no matter what style) is the breath or prana, in Sanskrit. Here are a few restorative yoga poses that I recommend before bedtime. If you are looking to sleep better, try these asanas (poses):

Legs Up The Wall a.k.a. Viparita Karani
You need a wall for this pose. So pick one and sit close to it. Lean down onto one elbow, move the legs up. If you have tight hamstrings, move the hips a little bit further away from the wall and bend the knees. This pose helps gain flexibility in the backs of the legs, relieves low back pain, stress, tension.

Pigeon Pose ~ Eka Pada Rajakapotasana
Start in down dog or on the hands and knees, pull the right knee forward behind the right wrist at a 45 degree angle, placing the foot in-front of the left hip and straighten the left leg back. Draw the right hip back and the left hip forward. Walk the hands away from the body and place the forward on the ground if possible. If not, use a pillow or bolster and place the forearms down additional modification, lean onto the right hip to relieve intensity. Hold this pose for a minimum of 30 seconds up to 5 minutes. Do the same on the second side. This pose stretches the hip, glutes, low back, impinged piriformis, groins and psoas.

Child’s Pose ~ Balasana
Kneel on the ground with your knees open wide, point the feet back and take a seat on the heels. Walk your hands all the way forward, rest the elbows on the ground, drop your forehead on the ground and close your eyes. Take 30 seconds to a few minutes to gently stretch the ankles, thighs and hips. This pose can help relieve back and neck pain, calm the mind, relieve fatigue and stress.

Corpse Pose ~ Savasana
Everybody’s favorite! Lay flat on the ground, take up as much space as you need with your arms and legs, and close your eyes. Rest for a minimum of 1 minute or until you feel complete. This pose helps reduce stress, fatigue, insomnia, lowers blood pressure and relaxes the body. It can help calm the brain and help with mild depression. If uncomfortable on the low back, bend the knees and place a bolster or pillow underneath the knees.

Most yoga classes end with corpse pose, and it’s definitely one of my favorites. Regardless of what style of yoga you do, take a few minutes before going to bed and unwind with these poses.

Here are some benefits to practicing yoga:

  • Calm the mind & body
  • Allow you to be more present
  • Builds awareness
  • Prevents injury
  • Enhances happiness and clarity

Lastly, what you may not know is, this practice can be an extremely healing for folks that suffer from health issues such as cancer, chronic pain, depression and sleep disorders (Breus). With several different styles of yoga to choose from these days, it can be hard to know which one will work for you. I recommend trying it all and if you really want to unwind at the end of your busy day do a slow flow, yin or restorative yoga.
Hope these poses help with getting better sleep, I know they have had a huge impact on me and my yoga practice. I promise it will help with transitioning from a busy day into a more restful, deeper, and better sleep. Enjoy!


Jerry’s approach to training is to help clients turn back the effects of time and accomplish fitness goals by using a holistic approach to wellness. Jerry has been coaching and training individuals and teams for 15 years in various capacities including Personal Training, Rugby, Wrestling, CrossFit and Nutrition. His certifications include CrossFit Level 1 Coach, Primal Blueprint Certified Expert, Poliquin Group BioSignature Modulation Practitioner, NASM Personal Training certificate. Jerry seeks to help people achieve their goals by addressing numerous factors including fitness, movement, nutrition, lifestyle, and finding a way to make it all fun to create lasting habits. He also has a BA in Mathematics, loves to dance, and learned to cook from his father who is a three star Master French Chef.


Kat is a 500-hour certified Balanced Body Pilates Instructor and Kaiut Yoga level two instructor, with 200 hundred hours of training. Kat is a certified advanced myofascial therapist with 25 years of experience. Kat enjoys living a mountain life style. She believes that having a healthy body mind and spirit is essential to life. She is constantly in awe of the body and its ability to heal.

Kats going to write about the ‘magic circle’ and ‘fascia’. Will get to me before end of day tomorrow.

Pelvic floor and the magic circle

The pelvic floor in women consist of muscle and tissue that stretch from the tailbone to the pubic bone. It has a shape of a hammock or mini trampoline and holds the organs up and in place. Your pelvic floor muscles help you control your bladder and bowel. The pelvic floor also helps your back to stay strong and healthy.

Simple exercise to do every day lay on your back, knees bent feet on floor. Place magic circle between knee, or a pillow or book, inhale relax abdominals exhale squeeze ring and pull abdominals in and up. Everything above navel is relaxed. You should feel as though you are stopping the flow of urine/wind as you do the exercise. Do a set of 10 2 times and work your way to 3 sets of 10. You are on your way to a stronger pelvic floor!