Yoga, Movement, and Learning to Feel Comfortable in my own skin

In my last post, I reflected on how I move physically on stage. I was graceful, but it almost seemed too protected, reserved and unnatural. Watching more videos of myself as Juliette, I noticed that I really do seem a bit stiff. Maybe not everyone on stage or in the audience could tell, but I know myself and I can tell that I wasn’t fully comfortable in my own skin on stage. Maybe my dress was a bit tight or I was trying to be elegant and graceful, but something about my energy seemed somewhat low and blocked. 

I am generally a very chill and relaxed individual. One of my first voice teachers criticized my lack of energy and made me dance around her studio while singing (which I ABSOLUTELY HATED, and I actually quit studying with her). I have learned to embrace my calm and serene side, but after watching my performances, I definitely see that I can bring more energy to my body and to the stage. Of course everyone wants to feel safe and protected while on stage, but there also has to be a vulnerability and willingness to take risks emotionally, physically, and even vocally. 

Over the years, I have practiced a decent amount of yoga. But like a lot of people I struggle with self-discipline, and I would get so excited to do a “30 days of Yoga” challenge, only to complete four or five days and then drop off the bandwagon.  It’s definitely hard to implement a daily practice and stick to it. I do really enjoy practicing yoga and I understand and feel the benefits but when I miss a day or two, it’s hard to jump right back in. Especially in such a stressful last year and half of the pandemic, there have been many times when I know I should exercise, but it’s easy to get bogged down by the stress of the day, the depressing news and the multitude of other hurdles and pressures of life. 

This past summer, I admit that I did not exercise other than a couple walks a week. I knew that it was having an impact on my body, my mind, my self-esteem and body image, but it wasn’t until I watched myself performing that it really hit me: I don’t always feel comfortable in my own skin. There have been other personal experiences and of course societal pressure that has contributed to this as well. I have always been aware of these issues, but reflecting on how I performed (although it wasn’t robotic or anything), it stirred something inside of me that I haven’t felt before. I feel somewhat sad and bothered that my body-image issues obviously impacted my performance. I feel fired up to figure out how to get comfortable in my own skin — even if it means dealing with the uncomfortable to get to that point. 

I have started a yoga practice again (Yoga with Adriene on Youtube for the win!) and I feel really motivated by the fact that I have a clearer intention going into daily movement. Of course I want to be healthier, stronger, and happier. I want to get out of my head, trust my body, release fear, and take up space! I want to be able to feel comfortable in my own skin so that I can be more adventurous, free, expressive, and entertaining on stage! The connection to my body and my breath will probably do wonders for my singing too. 🙂

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