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Healthy Living Retreat for Women

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No Dates Scheduled 


The Healthy Living Retreat is in redevelopment and we are unable to offer this program in 2022.  We hope to bring you the opportunity in Spring 2023 to again treat yourself to four days of relaxation and rejuvenation alongside a team of friendly and knowledgeable Stanford and Bay Area health experts.

Spring 2020 Program Details (2023 Program in development)


Your Healthy Living Retreat is enriched with sessions and seminars led by a diverse group of presenters—from physiologists, nutritionists and psychotherapists to scientists, yoga instructors and sleep consultants. 

See Presenters



The Good Gut, presented by Erica Sonnenburg, PhD
The past decade of research has revealed a profound link between the bacteria that inhabit our gut, our microbiome, and our health. Diet has emerged as one of the most powerful levers available to shape the composition and functionality of the gut microbiome. Our research is currently focused on understanding basic principles that govern diet-gut microbiome dynamics, and how interactions between nutrients and microbes within the gut can cascade into physiological changes to human biology. We use the study of traditional populations around the globe along with dietary intervention clinical trials in order to understand how to improve diet in a way that maximizes health, prevents disease, and lessens the burden of existing diseases.

Ownership and Engagement for a Life of Courage and Contentment, presented by Sonoo Thadaney Israni, MBA
How often do stress, conflict and decision making rattle you? Sonoo will share how to use decision and conflict coaching skills and tools that strengthen your roots and find purpose and joy for a life of courage and contentment. Making healthier choices and decisions come from the clarity of your values for strong thoughtful, meaningful journeys. Anchored in Authentic Courage for Constructive Change.

CourAGEous Aging: Cultivating Vitality in the Midlife Years, presented by Carole Pertofsky, M.Ed.
Explore the latest research that addresses myths, realities and self-limiting attitudes about aging. Learn skills to spark vitality, fulfillment, joy and self-care so that your body, mind, and spirit flourish at this remarkable life stage.

Wake Up to the Power of Sleep, presented by Karen Schwarzbach Join Certified Sleep Consultant Karen Schwarzbach for this engaging and informative presentation. Understand the science of sleep and learn simple tips and tricks to improve your own sleep and that of those in your organization. With insomnia reaching epidemic proportion, according to the Centers for Disease Control, now more than ever it’s critical to understand the role restorative rest plays in one’s overall health and well-being. The Harvard Medical School Division of Sleep Medicine identifies Sleep the third Pillar of Health along with Nutrition and Exercise. Find out how daily activities, habits, behaviors, and environment can improve or impede the restful sleep adults need, along with the far-reaching physical and mental health risks associated with prolonged sleep deprivation.

Learning objectives include understanding common barriers to restorative sleep, simple solutions to improve sleep, health conditions and medications that contribute to loss of sleep, and long range impact of prolonged sleep deprivation. You will learn about tools and resources that can be used personally as well as disseminated throughout an organization to improve sleep.


Mindfulness Self-Compassion for Health and Wellbeing, presented by Renee Burgard, LCSW
This experiential workshop offers practices - and ways of understanding them - for feeling physically released, mentally and emotionally at peace, enlivened, connected, and resilient. You’ll learn brief mindful body scan, yoga and walking/sitting meditations self-compassion and loving/kindness practices, and a bit of the history and research behind them. These practices help in cultivating the allowing awareness of mindfulness; ways to transform difficulties; a deepening the sense of connection, belonging, and wellbeing; and greater kindness for ourselves and others.

Posture for Strength, Relaxation, and Well-Being, presented by Esther Gokhale
Having arrived on the planet without a user’s manual for our bodies, we depend on our culture to help us develop healthy movement and posture habits. In modern times, however, this cultural support has been eroded. Join posture expert Esther Gokhale (GO-clay), L.Ac., for an exploration of how you can use ancient wisdom on posture to positively impact your emotional health. With Esther’s guidance, you’ll learn how to use physical posture cues to engender helpful emotional states including strength, confidence, relaxation, adaptability, and more. During this workshop, you will study how to improve your particular posture, how common posture cues like “chin up, chest out” and “sit up straight” undermine rather than support your body’s structural integrity; and how to restore a natural, healthy, and confident body and mind. This workshop is suitable for people willing to invest intellectual and physical effort toward improving their way of being in the world!"

Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare: A Layperson View on the Hope, Hype, Promise, Peril, presented by Sonoo Thadaney Israni, MBA
Sonoo Thadaney-Israni has co-chaired the National Academy of Medicine's (NAM) Working Group focused on Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare since 2018. This workshop is based on the Special NAM Publication titled: AI in Healthcare: The Hope, The Hype, The Promise, The Peril. Sonoo will present an executive summary on the ethical issues that would matter to a lay audience and help demystify AI in healthcare.

Maintaining Caregiving Relationships while Chronic Health Conditions: Challenges and Strategies, presented by Dr. Ranak Trivedi Most of us will provide care to a loved one, or receive care from a loved one during our lifetimes. This can happen gradually as health deteriorates, or suddenly. The relationship between the caregiver and care recipient can suffer as they navigate the challenges of managing chronic or serious conditions. In this workshop, you will learn why it is important to focus on the relationship even as health changes, and techniques to nurture the relationship even as you nurture your own self.

Fitness and body composition screening
A health and fitness coach will lead you through this one-on-one testing in a supportive, encouraging environment. At the end, you will review results with your fitness coach and create a plan to make behavior changes to meet your goals. If you have prior assessment results, you will have the chance to compare current and past results.

Personal Action Plan for a Healthy Lifestyle, presented by Joyce Hanna, ’56, MA ’58, MS
Before you depart for the weekend, this forty-five minute session is an opportunity for you to focus on what you want to take away from the weekend and incorporate into your life. You will ask yourself, “What’s new?” “What do I need to let go of” “What could I be like next year?” “What will I celebrate?” “What might stop me; what might help me move?” We will briefly explore how to make changes and create new habits. Research on behavior change is now a hot topic in scientific journals, books, and news articles. This interest in the science of habits has given us some information we can all use. Some experts in the field estimate that habits make up 40% of our daily routine and thus have an enormous impact on our well-being.

We can get better at regulating impulses. We can learn to distract ourselves from temptations. We can procrastinate less. Once we get into that forward moving groove, our brain gets practice in helping us focus on our goals. There is growing evidence that you can train your brain for better self-control. It’s empowering to know that change can happen, and we all have the freedom to remake our habits.

One of the most important things you could take home from this weekend is ways to nourish yourself, giving yourself what you need to manage and recover from stress. Nothing drains our good intentions faster than stress. Stress encourages us to focus on immediate, short-term goals and outcomes, whereas long term thinking requires us to keep the big picture in mind. Knowing how to take care of yourself helps you put your best self forward to do the things you want to do and be the person you want to be.

Movement classes

Hula, presented by Dominique Del Chiaro
Hula is an integrated dance of poetry, rhythm and movement that uses the dancer's body for storytelling. Hula helps trim the waistline, strengthen the back and improve strength, flexibility and balance. Join us in this flowing, low-impact form of dance that is easy to learn and enjoy from the first step. Please bring water, a skirt or sarong, and your Aloha spirit!

Pilates, presented by Jennifer Robinson 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 are sure to get a great workout. Appropriate for any skill level.

Sunrise Vinyasa Yoga, presented by Jennifer Robinson 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.

Tai Chi, presented by Katie Sutherland, MA ’96 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.



You’ll enjoy a comfortable private bedroom with a shared bath in Sierra Camp's lakefront cabins and lodge. You can room with your favorite women by submitting a request for your cabin assignment, or simply leave your preference blank to have a cabin mate assigned. Linens, towels and daily housekeeping are provided.


Refuel throughout the weekend with healthy meals from our chef's inspired and delicious repertoire. Options are available for those with specific dietary needs.

Getting here

Attendees can access Stanford Sierra Conference Center by car or by shuttle. Planning on driving? Get directions. Taking the shuttle instead? Get shuttle information.


Your retreat package includes three nights' lodging (5/14–5/17/20) in a private bedroom with shared bath, meals, on-site recreation, and all programming (e.g., lectures and workshops, daily movement and relaxation sessions, body composition screening, and fitness testing) and a specially designed Healthy Living Retreat gift. Rates do not include taxes on lodging and meals.

Guest type Rate*
Stanford Alumni Association (SAA) member $890
Non-member $990

Because Healthy Living Weekend is a program of the Stanford Alumni Association (SAA), SAA members receive a $100 discount. If you would like to become a member, please visit the membership page.

*If you wish to arrive early on Wednesday, May 13, please add $241 to these rates. This optional pre-retreat fee covers lodging, three meals, the Thursday morning workshop and access to recreational facilities. This is an opportunity to acclimate and enjoy Sierra Camp before the regular program begins.


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


Reservations require a $100 nonrefundable deposit with your reservation form. Only check payment is accepted, and checks should be made payable to "SAA Sierra Programs, LLC." Balance is due by April 10.


Payments will be refunded, less $100, only if written notice of cancellation is received before April 24; no refunds for cancellations will be made after April 24. The cancellation policy also applies to Wednesday reservations.


For reservation questions, contact us at (530) 542-5600 or by email. For program questions, contact Morgan Marshall by email.