Juggling a job and family? Women's retreat promotes mindful living

Kelly Lam remembers her time in a desk job, spending most of the work day sitting in front of a computer.

When she wasn't sitting for eight to nine hours a day, she would entertain clients over big meals and drinks.


"I'd come home from business trips, and I'd look aged and worn out," Lam said. "It really took a toll on me."

After setting out on a path to learn about holistic nutrition, Lam began a daily exercise routine and started eating food that promoted physical and mental health.


Wanting to help employers and employees balance a healthy lifestyle in their professions, Lam left her corporate job in commercial real estate and founded The Whole Purpose, an organization that builds customized health programs for individuals and corporations. The lifestyle program focuses on nutrition, physical well-being and communication.

But she still wanted to help the everyday woman who may be juggling a job and family life and yet still wants to feel good and have fun.

So she and friend Joanne Forster bounced around ideas and came up Mindful Her, a one-day event for women of all ages to practice meditation, eat healthy food and listen to speakers on relevant topics.

Their inaugural retreat, set for Oct. 24 at the Cultural Arts Center at Christ Cathedral in Garden Grove, will be a gathering place for an estimated 300 women. Guests are invited to dress in yoga attire, bring a mat and expect a relaxing and inspiring event, according to the organizers.


The morning will kick off with an acai bowl and smoothies for breakfast, wake-up group yoga and four mindful-living workshops from which to choose.

After lunching on a meal from Costa Mesa's 118 Degrees and discussing nutrition, women will attend additional workshops and participate in a visualized meditation session.

Keynote speaker Mallika Chopra, founder of, author of "Living with Intent" and the daughter of spiritual guru Deepak Chopra, will discuss her journey to purpose, peace and joy.

The day will conclude with tacos and snacks by Wahoo's Fish Taco (Kelly is married to Wahoo's founder Wing Lam) and a Healthy Happy Hour provided by Karma Tequila and Two Chicks on a Diet.

Chopra and chef Jenny Ross will sign copies of their books.

The goal is to encourage women to be positive toward one another.

"We did it just for women because in the U.S., women tend to tear each other down," Forster said. "That's not the way in other countries. We should all be supportive of each other."

"Why aren't we embracing each other and lifting each other up?" Lam asked. "Why not be good to each other?"


Lam, who has been a certified yoga teacher for over 15 years, and Forster, a fellow yoga instructor and surf fitness guru, are planning five wellness conventions next year.

They are thinking about focusing on inner beauty around New Year's Day and offering a couple's retreat on Valentine's Day at Ranchos Las Lomas in Silverado.

Cultivating a healthy lifestyle, Lam said, was essential when she was expecting her first child. During the pregnancy, she maintained her five-day workout schedule — spinning two to three times a week, exercising at CrossFit three times a week and fitting in yoga sessions.

She said she hopes that women who attend the inaugural Mindful Her will leave feeling self-confident and understanding their own mindful approach to wellness.

"Being healthy is internal to me," she said. "I just feel more energetic and empowered, and I want to help women decompress and feel better about themselves."

"I know what you mean," Forster said. "I want to be surfing when I'm 85-years-old."

"I'll be bench-pressing when I'm 85," Lam said with a laugh.



What: Mindful Her

When: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Oct. 24

Where: Cultural Arts Center, Christ Cathedral, 13280 Chapman Ave., Garden Grove

Cost: $125