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LISTEN UP: How Getting in the Zen Zone Makes You a Better Actor

Trying to be an actor is a full-time job. Your weeks are filled with submitting for auditions, going on auditions, attending classes, going to the gym, working your survival job, and hopefully having a little time left over to see a play or film to stay current (or let’s be real: to grab a drink and let off a little steam). The stress of it all can make you a little crazy. But if you take the time to work daily on your mind and your body, you will relax both mentally and physically, and be in the perfect state to take the industry by storm!

If you know me at all, you know I’m not some hippy dippy, new age kind of person. Being anxious is my default, and sarcasm my M.O. After years of letting all the stress build up in my neck and my shoulders, I decided it was time to let it go. I started going to yoga several times a week to get rid of the tension. The practice of yoga relaxes your body, but it also clears your mind and makes you feel more at ease. If you’re not stressing out all the time, it’ll be easier to stay committed to getting your career off the ground. Having a relaxed mind and body makes life a lot less stressful, and it also makes you a better actor. When I’m on stage or on set, and I feel tension in my body – or I’m in my head because of anxiety – it creates a disconnect between my mind and my movement. My performance will feel stilted, or disconnected. When I started to work daily on my body – and my mind by proxy – I was able to stay grounded and connected. 
Many yoga studios offer donation-based classes or work-study programs that make it possible for broke artists like us to afford classes. If you can’t get to a yoga class regularly, try getting up early to do a few sun salutations! Even if you aren’t the most amazing yogi there is, sun salutations are a great place to start. When you get home after a long day of trying to make that paper/auditioning/whatever, try to clear your mind instead of watching TV or reading a book. Lay down in your bed, eyes closed, lights off, and see if you can relax your mind. And if for whatever reason yoga doesn’t end up relieving you of some of your stress and tension, at least you’ll have a great butt!

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