Yoga does so much more for you than just bend you into a Pretzel. Performers of every kind, be it actors, singers, dancers or musicians, can reap the benefits internally and externally. Here’s 10 reasons to grab a mat, anytime, anywhere (within reason) and have a bit of fun.
1. INCREASES STRENGTH AND FLEXIBILITY
Starting with the obvious, these could be viewed as 2 separate points, but in truth one cannot work efficiently without the other. The perfect harmony between flexibility and strength enhances the bodies ability to perform everyday activities let alone the physical demands of exploring your inner animal, zip, zap boing or 15 second quick changes. Yoga works from the inside out and the external results can be powerful. If you incorporate arm balances, handstands and forearm stands into the practice then you’ll step away from the mat each day one step closer to looking like Tarzan or Wonder Woman. If you keep testing your limits safely, your body will be able to do more and you’ll have the freedom to have more fun.
2. CONNECTS WITH CORE FOR POISE AND BALANCE
A strong centre makes the body light but strong, centered but free. Most yoga posture are designed to work in a 3 dimensional way. When the body works in relationship to gravity, different focus points are challenged and balanced, enhancing proprioception. The ‘White Cat’ can be found in each and every one of us.
3. IT KEEPS YOU LOOKING AND FEELING YOUNGER FOR LONGER.
There WILL come a time, if it hasn’t happened already, that you’ll glance around the audition room and suddenly everyone is 10-15-20 years younger. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t still be in the game though. As we age our muscles are prone to wastage, therefore by engaging, activating and refreshing the muscle fibres in a low impact way, we can keep the bodies younger for longer. Healthy blood and lymphatic flow, free from toxins, keeps those cheeks rosy, eyes sparkly and complexion glowing. With all that deceptive youth, bouncing energy and wealth of experience you’ll be the hottest duracell bunny in the room.
4. HELPS KEEP AWAY THE DREADED LURGY
Nobody wants to miss opening night or a final recall. As a cheaper alternative to the colourful array of lotions and potions on every actors dressing room table, yoga improves and stimulates the Lymphatic system. Inversions ( postures where head is lower than tummy ) use gravity to increase drainage, spinal twists help to stimulate our internal organs, which stimulate metabolism and rate of excretion. Removing stagnant waste detoxifies the body to prevent illness and disease such as respiratory virus’, gastric flu, migraines…..to name a few. The Serotonin helps your intestinal tract become more efficient too. Just don’t eat a curry before class.
5. INDUCES A NATURAL HIGH AND INCREASED CONFIDENCE
Yoga increases Serotonin and Endorphin production, this is what gives us a natural high which in turn increases confidence, combats depression and promotes a positive outlook on life and ourselves. Low self esteem is an all too common ailment in performers, often seen in the most artistic and talented. The negative effects of this can be sleeplessness, anxiety, drug abuse… This vulnerability can be harnessed in a positive way though by flipping our perspective of ourself on its head. Yoga promotes an inward thinking for self examination and growth. Obstacles can be reflected as opportunities and this positive approach to life enhances self worth and self belief. It’ll give you that Je ne sais quoi in the audition room.
6. IMPROVES FOCUS
Meditation and mindfulness helps clear away the fuzz. By focusing on the here and now we can free our minds of all the distractions that creep in and sabotage our concentration when trying to learn lines or pick up complex dance routines. No one wants to feel like they’ve been catapulted into an episode of ‘The Generation Game’ ( now I’m showing my age 😁) studies show that a regular yoga practice also improves sleep. Busy brains can unwind and overstimulated senses can reset. Rest and restoration calms the brain, de-stresses and prevents accidents and injuries.
7. IMPROVES THE VOICE
Without breath there is no voice which is an actors and singers important tool. Throw in the challenges of using it while dangling upside down or walking the tight rope then it could be a recipe for disaster. When we are aware of the sensations of breath we can better control and enhance the mechanism. Pranayama ( breathing exercises) helps to fine tune our respiratory system to have a more powerful use of breath. Anchoring the breath also steadies the nerves which will help you glide through important audition moments. Bring out the Diva in you.
8. IMPROVES SPINAL HEALTH
Back pain and injury can become extremely debilitating. Backbends, forward bends and twists create space within the vertebrae to allow for greater range of movement. Having the strength, especially in the core is necessary to protect the spine.
The spinal column also controls the nervous system. It connects all the vital organs so spine health keeps the whole body working more effectively.
Weight bearing postures increase bone density which helps the body deal with impact, preventing fractures and breakages. It is especially important to woman prone to osteoporosis .Yoga takes the joints through their whole range of motion, squeezing out the old fluid, making way for fresh nutrients to protect the cartilage, reducing friction.
9. IMPROVES STAMINA AND ENDURANCE
Dynamic yoga, such as Ashtanga or Iyengar. With high paced flows and Inversions really get the Cardiovascular system pumping. More oxygen = more energy and better brain performance. The perfect fuel to get all performers through Panto season…”Oh yes it will!”.
10. ITS FUN!!!
Think of your mat time as a mini adventure. It’s your own personal journey so don’t judge, be patient, don’t take yourself too serious and savour every step. The possibilities to surprise yourself are endless. You never know what you can achieve until you try. You can do it for free in your own home, take it into the great outdoors or meet a whole bunch of wonderful people from all walks of life, of all different shapes and sizes at a local class. Bring out your playful side and turn your world upside down.
So what are you waiting for? Give it a try…you’ve got nothing to lose!
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