With deadlines, ratings and budgets being a never-ending reality in Hollywood, stress and anxiety levels are high — especially before the holidays. But a powerful crop of influential life coaches, spiritual guides and breathwork instructors are teaching Hollywood how to keep stress in check and develop ongoing techniques they can call on when the pressure gets overwhelming.
Here, five wellness gurus explain how they’re helping Hollywood de-stress.
When Jennifer Aniston revealed in September that she’s been participating in “goddess circles” for the past three decades, she singlehandedly catapulted the art of circling into the mainstream consciousness.
Circling is an organized event where a group of women — in the case of goddess circles — or both men and women together gather with a chosen facilitator on or around a full moon to share whatever challenges they’re facing while sitting in a circle and passing around a “talking stick.”
Aniston’s close friend of 30 years, actress Andrea Bendewald (Suddenly Susan), the founder of The Art of Circling, leads her goddess circles, including one at her recent 50th birthday Mexican getaway with Courteney Cox and producer Kristin Hahn.
“Dre brings us all together, in one room, and makes us all feel as one,” explains Aniston, summing up the power of circling. “Honored and accepted. Seen and heard. Loved and adored. It’s a space I always know I can go when I am in need of guidance. Of any kind. It’s a safe space where I can cry, explore, question, doubt, express anything, and most of all, laugh.”
Most circles involve using astrology and common themes emerge among participants in line with what astrologers are saying is coming up under the full moon, says Bendewald: “The energy of the full moon affects our bodies and psyches. As the moon fills, so do we, and we feel that swell of edginess. We need to lean in, talk about it and share it, and then we can harness that energy. If you’re experiencing the same challenge as me, then I feel less crazy or alone or less inclined to self-medicate.”
Bendewald first experienced circling 25 years ago after moving from New York to Los Angeles. “I sat in this circle of self-empowered women and was struck by the familiarity and comfort of listening to them sharing their stories that were as layered and emotional as mine. Successful writers and producers sitting across from me had the same fears, hopes, dreams and challenges, and I instantly felt at home. To be seen and heard, to be witnessed, is a radical thing, and we don’t do that often.”
Today considered L.A.’s leading circle facilitator, Bendewald recently led a circle for WME’s literary department at its retreat and holds private sessions at her studio, as well as classes at L.A.’s Den Meditation.