The artful mind august 2017

Page 36


Photo: Edward Acker


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.




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

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