Happy New Year!
About four months ago I joined a new yoga studio in my neighborhood here in NYC, when I decided I wanted to commit to exclusively doing yoga, at least for a few months to see how I felt with the consistent practice. I began practicing yoga when I was in graduate school and immediately loved it. I felt it was the "thing" for me. Because there were no studios in close proximity in grad school my practice was irregular, and in my mind I kept telling myself that one day I would practice daily. Well it only took me a few years to finally fulfill that promise to myself (geesh).
For years here in NY I tried to get into the gym circuit lifting weights, running on the tread mill, doing the elliptical, and taking a spin class on occasion. Nothing really stuck for me, and I never found consistency. In fact I found lifting weights to mostly be dull and boring and the thought of running on a tred mill just seemed silly. I felt disconnected from my body, and even though I had worked with a private trainer for many months I wasn't seeing results that were mind blowing. I would take the occasional yoga class and feel earth shattering change on a physical, emotional, and spiritual level. My inner voice would scream "YOU NEED TO BE DOING THIS EVERY DAY!" And I would ignore that. I would look up articles about how yes yoga is good for you and can keep you lean but won't help with muscle definition, but then I would read an article that said just the opposite of that. What the hell? I decided to start listening to myself, my deep inner guide.
Finally I listened to my guide and have felt a huge difference in my life, as my almost daily life is filled with yoga (hot and regular). Since doing yoga I've noticed a great deal of emotional and physical transformation. I feel stronger on many levels, but mostly spiritually I am finding that my work on the mat relates entirely to my life off of the mat. It informs my life off the mat in so many ways. While I still have a little bit of body fat that I want to let go of (someday), I am feeling the transformation physically in a very organic way. mostly in releasing the desire to look like someone else and someone I am not.
As I was working on audition sides the other day I became frustrated because I fell into some old patterns and I realized something very important...my creative process is a PRACTICE just like yoga, and in fact my LIFE is a practice. Wow that gave me pause...you mean my creative process doesn't have to be PERFECT!? It doesn't have to set in stone? Nope! You mean I can have good days and bad days?
Some days in yoga practice my headstand is really good and in others I can barely get into it. That's just the way it goes sometimes, it's just like that with my creative work too. Some days it's just easier to go with it and to be vulnerable, and other days it takes a lot of work just to staple that resume to the head shot knowing that you have be open and honest in front of strangers yet again.
The practice of headstand has it's basic technique that's extremely important in doing headstand safely and properly. Without the proper technique the pose isn't going to work. The strength in your arms is extremely important, you can't put the weight on your head (even though it's called headstand). So I compare this with the practice of doing our creative work...we have our basic foundation and if we stay true to that (it takes great strength which builds up over time) we'll be ok. We gently lift one leg and then another and we get into the pose. Maybe we're feeling a little off one day and we can't get all the way up without feeling more fatigue than usual, while the next day we could get up easily and it feels great! The point is we do it and we try. It's ALWAYS going to be different. But the process is a PRACTICE.
It's one thing for people to talk about an artistic process, just like a yoga practice...but the action of all of that says so much more. The action of an artistic process is often hard to articulate because it's so personal. Just like a yoga practice...it's easy to articulate that you went to class (an audition or whatever)--but what's happening beneath that. Usually in yoga class the mind is running...your breathing...sometimes the mind goes all over the place, and sometimes you set an intention...how do you make that intention work throughout your practice? It's the same with the artistic process..but my point is that we should all just embrace the beautiful mystery as a PRACTICE. Maybe your practice in your process is a safe personal space you create in your home to create and play...maybe you light candles and practice your sides in the dark, or maybe your practice is in a hot bath where you can really relax and say your lines freely and authentically.
Feel that relief leave you when you allow yourself to stop trying to be so fucking perfect! The beauty of practice is we can fall over and over again, the trick is showing up and getting right back up as soon as you fall.
Let's make 2016 a year of gentle practice in every aspect of our lives. I don't know about you, but I think the world could use some more gentleness.
Peace, love, and be in touch!