Merriam-Webster defines happenstance as: a circumstance especially that is due to chance They came together by mere happenstance.
Sometimes the best things in life, happen by chance…
I have practiced yoga off and on for much of my life. Only recently have I begun to practice on a regular basis. Upon entering the Theater Program at the University of Central Florida, I attended a few yoga classes looking for something to do and to stay active. Something just clicked. I began to really get hooked on yoga. I connected with a few teachers that I really enjoyed and soon I was practicing three to four times a week and began my own personal practice. Since I began practicing yoga seriously, the benefits have been overwhelming. I noticed time and time again the positive changes in my acting abilities, and my metal and physical health.
The acting programs at UCF place a huge importance on breathe. Professors instill in students that breath holds the key to emotional life. I learned about breath energy (different breathing for different emotional states), how to grow your capacity for larger, fuller breathes and even how to breathe through your lower back (I know, crazy to think about). As my yoga practice grew so did my acting abilites. I noticed a link between the two. Yoga became a way to practice the breathing techniques I learned in my acting class. It became a place to focus on breath but also to focus on emotional health. This created a better understanding of myself that, inadvertently, helped me as an actor.
Later in my training, both as an actor and a yogi, I noticed benefits to practicing yoga in relation to acting that I had not even realized would happen. I began to notice how yoga helped me become more in tune with my emotional self. I became able to have a real dialogue with myself and could more accurately understand the emotions living within me. I am beginning to understand what I am feeling and why I am feeling it. It is becoming easier to connect, emotionally to the work, because of my personal yoga practice. As well, I am better able to control my nervousness and be more at peace and content when acting and in every day stressful situations. I am able to transition into a character’s life easier. In contrast, after taking on the personality of a character, yoga helps me shed the negative emotional qualities taken on during a scene. For example, during a recent scene, I played a rape victim. I found it exhausting and unhealthy to carry that emotional energy with me throughout the day. By practicing a grounding flow and meditating, I was able to shed the character and proceed with my life in a healthy way.
One day I hope to obtain my yoga instructor certification. In the meantime I will continue to take yoga classes, grow my practice. I look forward to seeing where yoga and acting take me, by happenstance.
For more information about the benefits of a regular yoga practice go to https://www.yogajournal.com/lifestyle/count-yoga-38-ways-yoga-keeps-fit
Carmen Burbridge is the daughter of Shannon Burbridge (Co-Owner of Aura Aerial & Yoga.) She has studied acting and theater since the age of 10. She began her theater journey at Players By The Sea in Jacksonville Beach FL and progressed to the acting program at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts in Jacksonville FL. She is currently studying theater at Shenandoah University, continues your yoga journey and is excited to see where both of your passions take her.