Photo: Edward Acker
INTERVIEW BY HARRYET
Harryet: As an actor and a yoga teacher, can you explain the true benefits of yoga in your life? Caroline Kinsolving: Yoga is the practice of breath. I always ask: if we need to breathe in order to live, why not breathe our best? When we take a deep breath in (through your nose, as if smelling a flower) and then a slow breath out (as if blowing out a candle) we calm our nervous system. We spend most of the day taking shallow breaths, especially when driving, which our body registers as fear. Yoga is not just about getting six-pack abs or turning into a pretzel. It is a practice that helps calm the nervous system through challenging positions. With a calm nervous system, you have a healthier body and a clearer mind and therefore, you are able to function better. Yoga helps me as an actor in numerous ways. It calms me when I feel nervous or stressed. It is centering and allows me to be more present in performance. It also keeps me healthy, which is crucial since actors can't get sick.
32 • AUGUST 2017 THE ARTFULMIND
PHOTOGRAPHY EDWARD ACKER
(THEATRE, MODEL AND OTHER SHOTS SUPPLIED BY ARTIST)
What is the best way for you to prepare for the mindset of a serious role? Caroline: I think having strong empathy and sympathy helps. Being able to put myself in someone else's shoes is a skill that I try to exercise often, whether I'm acting or just walking down the street.
It sounds like yoga and acting go hand-in-hand for you. How do you benefit in your everyday life from being skilled in both fields? Caroline: At an early age, I became very aware that we've all got one body, and that's it. When I started doing yoga, I realized that my brain and body felt and functioned better. For an actor, one's body is their instrument. Practicing yoga is one of the many tools I use to try to be at my best, in work and life. I grew up with a beloved family member who suffered from disease, and I think that gave me the awareness that made me protective of health, and that made me dismayed when watching people abuse
their bodies. It was like watching a violinist bash a Stradivarius around, and then expect it to play well. I’m an actor in New York and Los Angeles, having spent years working bi-coastally in television, film and theatre. I started teaching yoga as a hobby, because I enjoyed doing and sharing it, and it started to go hand-in-hand with my work as an actor. Sometimes I teach yoga to my co-stars and crew before our performances or during a break on set; it’s a fun way to create community and rejuvenate. My life revolves around movie studios and yoga studios.
How do you prepare for an audition, Caroline? Caroline: Auditions take an interesting set of mental muscles, slightly different than those required in rehearsal and performance. Part of what I have learned to love about this job is that it is a constant journey of discovery without a clear path. You sort of just continue to bushwhack through unknowns and find incredible lessons along the way. I've been fortunate