When I’m not at the mic, I’m probably on the mat. Yoga is a big part of my life, and I’ve been teaching it in a variety of settings since late 2012. I first encountered Yoga at theatre school in Cornwall almost 30 years ago. I remember the long, elegant limbs of our movement teacher, Serena, slipping into ardha matsyendrasana – a seated spinal twist. That was my first yoga pose, and it has remained one of my favourites.
I immediately loved the deep all-over stretching that is unique to Yoga. Practising the poses seemed to open a door to me to explore my physical self and the possibilities of movement. These became important tools to me as an actor.
Yoga is about coming home to yourself. You can try and treat it as a series of movements, purely physical exercise but you probably won’t get far. Holding poses requires breath control and concentration and this in turn leads you inwards. It’s hard NOT to become more aware of your inner workings, your thoughts, feelings, as well as your physical self.
This kind of self-awareness, this slowing-down and spending time with yourself is so healthy for those of us who put our souls on the line for a living: artists, actors, writers, dancers, musicians, photographers, singers…
As a Voice-actor, as much as I try and convince myself that my work is just a recording, purely audio, it’s not me….it’s pretty hard to NOT feel that a little piece of Helen is out there in mp3 form(at). It reminds me of the saying that once you’ve had a child there will always be a little bit of yourself walking around out there in the big bad world.
It makes you vulnerable.
Because our performance or creative work draws on our very selves, our experiences, our inner wisdom. You can’t detach from your inner life and expect to give a meaningful creative offering. Rather, you have to use that experience – together with technical skill – to create an honest, inspired one.
'Yoga is the perfect opportunity to be curious about
who you are' ~ Jason Crandell
Yoga seems to provide nourishment for the creative's soul. It’s like a topping-up, a recharging system. Whilst any physical exercise makes us feel good and releases the endorphins, yoga is not only toning and stress-relieving, it’s also nurturing. Or rather, it shows us how to nurture, enables us to self-nurture.
This is valuable not just for the creative spirit but also for the business owner. In the freelance self-employed world, it’s easy to feel disempowered and spread-thin. Will I be chosen? How do I get more clients? Did they even listen to that audition?!
Having an internal support system - self-esteem, confidence and belief, is essential if we are to withstand the ever-shifting sands of the creative vocation. When I step onto my yoga mat, I am stepping in to myself. It allows me to feel my feelings, to release my hurts or frustrations, to hear my mind (and all the tricks it can play) and come to a place of stillness, clarity and balance.
When I step up to the microphone to give a voice-acting performance, I hope that I do so in that same spirit of balance. As it is only from that place – that place of quiet listening - that I have access to my inner well of resources. My creativity, my intelligence, and my true voice.
Connect with Helen:
British Voice Over Artist
Helen Langford is a professional voiceover and actor. She records voice overs for eLearning, on-hold messaging, whiteboard animations and more, from her home studio in Devizes, Wiltshire. Contact Helen today for a free custom demo and no obligation quote.
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