Wellness

January 2018

Soulbare founder Monica Graves brings a signature sense of wellness to the meetings world

by Lori Tenny

  • Monica Graves

    Monica Graves

    /Portals/0/images/Magazine/2018/0118/Wellness.jpg

    Monica Graves

    Monica Graves
  • A Soulbare Retreat, Seagull Cove Resort, Panama

    A Soulbare Retreat, Seagull Cove Resort, Panama

    /Portals/0/images/Magazine/2018/0118/Wellness2.jpg

    A Soulbare Retreat, Seagull Cove Resort, Panama

    A Soulbare Retreat, Seagull Cove Resort, Panama
  • Monica Graves

    Monica Graves

    /Portals/0/images/Magazine/2018/0218/Welness2.jpg

    Monica Graves

    Monica Graves

A self-proclaimed insatiable spirit nerd, Monica Graves is on a mission to spark audacious, passionate, purpose-filled living within the hearts and minds of everybody she encounters through her work. And it shows. This free spirit puts a smile your face the minute you meet her, and after an hour or two in one of her sessions, instills in you a sense of profound confidence to take your life to new levels of well-being.

Graves was one of the many presenters focused on well-being during the recent SPINCon 2017 gathering in Grapevine, Texas, which carried the theme Brain, Body, Being, Business, underscoring the ever-increasing importance of incorporating health and wellness into the meetings agenda as well as into personal lives as busy meeting planners.

During her two-part session, Tiger Time: Revved, Revived and Feeling Fine, Graves had attendees tapping into the infinite wisdom of Mother Nature to discover simple, easy-to-implement lifestyle miracles for a solid body, strong mind and spirit that sparkles, while also learning ancient Ayurvedic principles of vata, pitta and kapha in order to understand how to use sound, color, environment and food as medicine.

“Tiger Time is about harnessing your inner badass, so no matter what comes your way, you have tools and resources to live fiercely,” Graves said. “It was the second year I was asked to bring this back to SPINCon because of its popularity.”  

Her other SPINCon 2017 session, Accept, Forgive, Thank, was an interactive workshop in which attendees learned the importance and power of letting go of past setbacks and grudges.

“The turnout for that session was amazing,” she said. “It’s important because emotional well-being is now just being tapped, and people are discovering how vital it is to feel happy, satisfied and filled with gratitude and live with a sense of purpose. They’re ready to heal past disappointments.”

Graves has presented at SPINCon for four years and has also spoken at MPI World Education Congress events, local chapter meetings for MPI and SITE, and a wealth of other industry events.

Graves has been studying global well-being and wisdom traditions for more than a decade, including under Dr. Deepak Chopra. After teaching for several years at The Chopra Center for Wellbeing in Carlsbad, Calif., she set off on her own. In 2015, she founded Soubare Retreats + Lifestyle, through which she facilitates everything from 10-minute mindful moments before keynotes to help unify and reenergize attendees all the way to multiday employee enrichment programs and customized retreats for conference and incentives.

“Soulbare is really about a radical commitment to well-being, in that we not only discover the tools to live well through meditation, yoga, Ayurveda and conscious teambuilding, but we have the space and permission to exercise those tools,” Graves said. “It allows a group to appreciate each other’s gifts and talents, and it fosters a deeper sense of respect for one another.”

Graves said her background in having been mentored under Chopra and having taught at The Chopra Center for six years sets her apart,  while she also prides herself on making ancient wellness traditions more approachable to modern-day life.

One of the most impactful programs Graves recently spearheaded was for a California company that deals in greenhouses and farming and wanted to mitigate the physical and emotional stress experienced by their employees.

“I created a 21-day meditation program for the employees,” she said. “While on day 1, I was met with lifeless blank stares, at the end, there was so much camaraderie, livelihood and support among them, and every single person reported lower blood pressure. They knew their well-being was important to their employer, and the shift in their relationships was palpable.”

Another powerful program was a multiday wellness incentive for a big-name bank that ended up running for three years.

“I had a 33 percent return rate every year,” she said. “It was a five-day retreat, and every day focused on a different aspect of their well-being [physical, career, community and emotional] and how to use food as medicine and how to give back to their community and within their corporations. They received massages, and all of the meals were organic, locally sourced and vegetarian. It was a complete reset for them in terms of body, mind and spirit.”

Graves said some of the most rewarding aspects of her work are being the first gateway people have to developing a wellness practice and giving clients the tools to find confidence.

“I can’t imagine a bigger gift than introducing somebody to living a more whole and vital life...especially when they can’t wait to go home and share it with their kids or spouse, so it really becomes a ripple effect that inspires how they influence all spheres,” she said.  

For more information, contact Graves at monica@soulbare.com. 

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