Empower Your Creativity with Yoga

One of the more fulfilling elements of a regular yoga practice for me is the sense of truthful empowerment of my creative energy.  Along with the myriad of physical, mental and spiritual benefits that have enriched my life through yoga, I’ve found a renewed sense of engagement with my desire to create and encourage creative freedom in those around me. This passion for how my practice has served me as a performing artist led me to develop a yoga workshop for the theatre students and teachers that traveled from around the country to Lincoln, Nebraska in June for the 2015 Thespian Festival led by the Educational Theatre Association.

I’ve had a very fulfilling career as a performer, working on some of the larger musical hits of the last few decades including Wicked, Rent, Mamma Mia and Monty Python’s Spamalot. The desire to continue striving for more success and the next big gig led to burn out and a loss of my sense of self, my creative energy had become stagnant and stale. I couldn’t remember why I wanted to be a storyteller and performer anymore.

I discovered yoga while on tour with the musical Wicked. About halfway through my 3 and a half year run with that show, I needed to find a way to physically re-center and renew my body as well as refresh my mind so that I could continue to give the performance that I knew I was capable of sharing. Yoga gave my creative energy the restart it needed, allowing me to re-invigorate my performance and re-engage with my fellow actors to help create a sense of community within our company.

After completing the 200 hour power yoga teacher training program through CorePower Yoga in Chicago, I knew that I wanted to share my journey with aspiring performing artists. I was given two 90 minute workshops at the Thespian Festival to share my yoga journey and give the students a beginner Vinyasa flow experience. The first night of the workshop about 40 people showed up, the second night I had several repeat attendees and the class was over 60 people strong. I spoke of how using our breath and allowing our yoga practice to be unique for our own bodies can help us connect and unlock our creative energy sometimes suppressed by stress and everyday pursuits. We connected with our breath, established proper alignment for our Sun A and Sun B variations, then flowed together as a group allowing our breath and movements to join together as a community of creative artists practicing our yoga.

I was not prepared for the outpouring of gratitude and positive feedback that came from the students and teachers in attendance. One student in particular came up to me almost tearing up, thanking me for the opportunity to be still, focus on his breath and release his stress that had been causing so much pressure. I’m humbled by and grateful for how much yoga has changed and enriched my life and I am eager to continue learning about and sharing my creative artist yoga journey.

A testimonial from workshop participant:

“My students loved it and told me they haven’t felt that much stress release in a long time. There’s just something so beautiful about a hugely diverse group coming together and finding the human commonality of breath and respect and release. Yoga is so much like theatre in that way. We need breath, we need an outlet, we need expression and we find it with both theatre and yoga. Thank you for bringing that to the festival. Your guidance and instruction within the safe place you created for your class to express themselves and try things was awesome.”

 

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