Tips to help keep you moving and living happy, supple, and strong.
It’s no secret that actors need to have flexible, supple, strong bodies. Our craft demands that we be malleable, able to mold our bodies almost like a shape shifter into the uniquely different life and physical expression of each character. Can you do this? Can you also undo this and get back to your own, personal uniqueness?
The actor’s body does not need to look like any particular thing. Actors do not need to have the ripped physique of Wolverine or the speed and agility of Lara Croft. It doesn’t matter what your body looks like, but it does matter how accessible it is to you. Do you have access to your body’s full expression? Gyrotonic can get you there, and it can get you back to neutral as well.
Getting Back to Neutral
When I was younger, I was in a production of West Side Story. In one scene, the character Anita is attacked by gang members and I was on stage for the action. I remember running off stage after the scene and feeling how tense the entire cast was. We were all so young and we didn’t know how to release the intense feelings and body tension brought on by witnessing the staged reenactment of a brutal attack. It was difficult to move on to the next scene and many of us were in tears backstage afterward, all momentum felt lost. We carried that trauma in our bodies all the way through the curtain call and most of us probably took it home with us, too.
Imagine playing Richard III – Shakespeare’s famous hunchback character – and holding your body in a hunched over position for hours during rehearsal and performances.
When your role on stage or screen embodies imbalance, how do you bring your body back to its natural, flowing, balanced energy state?
The Gyrotonic Method can give you the tools to rid your body of the after-affects of being in contorted positions.
Tips for Recovering the Flow of Energy
After performing a physically challenging or emotion-laden scene, try these easy maneuvers to restore the state of peace in your body.
Relax the Whole Body
Lay down (or, if you’re in a public space, just sit and lean against a chair for support). Feel the fatigue in the soles of your feet, in your toes and your shins. Feel the tension in your thighs and then let them relax. Allow your belly to open and expand gently. Let your ribs fill with air. Go from the bottom of your feet through the crown of your head, imagining deep relaxation in each body part.
Give Your Shoulders Some Love
Squeeze your shoulders up toward your ears tightly. Slowly let them drop back down and take a deep breath.
Keep a Joyful Imagine in Mind
Before you step into rehearsal or performance, keep an image in your back pocket that makes you smile. Maybe it’s the big wet kiss your dog gave you last week, or the mad dash your cat made for the catnip yesterday. When leaving the performance, take a moment to recall this joyful expression of life and let the tension of the scene slip away.
Through Gyrotonic exercise, you can learn how to be relaxed with strength. Every single Gyrotonic movement is designed to incorporate core strength because you can’t move freely if you’re not strong.
If you’re ready to free your body and explore your creative movement, call or email me to get started with your first Gyrotonic session.
Over the River and through the Woods
Happiest of Holidays to You and Yours!
"Over the river and through the woods" was more than a line from a holiday song to me growing up. For my family it was part of the Christmas ritual as we drove up to my Grandparent's farm in Northern Wisconsin. Frequently we were driving in heavy snow and there were many trees to see and rivers to cross before we crunched up the gravel drive and were welcomed by the lights of the farmhouse kitchen.
Even before the car stopped the dogs would be barking their "Hellos" and I would dash out of the car to rub their wagging tails and receive their sloppy kisses. If there was any light left in the day I'd run to the barn to visit the cows in their stalls munching away on their hay and corn. I loved the barn with it's earthy smells and steaming pails of milk! I would stay in there for hours, talking to the cows, scratching their itches and rubbing behind their filed down horns. If I got too close to their nose though, I'd end up with a long strip of gooey green hay slime on my sleeve (or worse, my face!) when the curious bovine licked me with her long tongue.
Those days on the farm and hours in the barn with the cows, dogs, cats, sheep and chickens were some of my happiest childhood days. It was also where my healing skills were first nurtured and my desire to help any and all creatures in pain gain strength. It wasn't all play and petting the pretty (pretty dirty!) cows though. Visiting the farm meant helping with the milking and the feeding and the barn cleaning (the endless barn cleaning!!) and whatever else Grandma and Grandpa needed help with. It made for a strong body and great sleep at the end of day. Long walks in the woods, through the fields and along the river taught me a love for nature that remains with me today.
It's a Southern California Christmas for me this year, but no matter whether you're sledding in the snow or surfing in the sea this Holiday season, may you be blessed by the warmth and love of dear ones, keeping them in your hearts joyfully and with good cheer!
Big Holiday Hugs,
P.S. Share a favorite Holiday memory in the comments section below :D
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