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Episode 286: Breathing Exercise for the Actor

core work May 29, 2024

This week what I wanted to do was a breathing exercise for actors because I think in this incredible turbulent world that we live in, and yes, it's always turbulent, but it seems particularly turbulent right now.

It is so important that for us as artists, that before we are about to perform, that we get to the center of us. 

As a little girl, I called it, go back to the source. 

And I believe that is connecting to that part of us that is connected to the Universe. 

So what I'm going to do I'm not going to breathe with you, but what I am going to do is guide you through breathing exercises.

So what I ask of you is to breathe in through your nose

and let out a big sigh, ah, and again, breathe in through your nose, and let out a big sigh,and that can be as loud as you want it to be. 

Pause. Stay still. Breathe in through your nose.

And again, sigh out. You can even scream if you want. And pause.

And just allow your breath to be where it wants to be. Whether that's breathing in through your nose or your mouth.

As you do this, I can encourage you to do this for those of you who have subways on the subway, on the tube, or if you're on a bus, or you're riding in the back of a car, or you're at home, sitting on the couch, or maybe you're lying down.

And if possible, see if you can wear an eye mask or put a gentle scarf on your eyes, just to block out that little extra light.

As you breathe through this next set of breathing exercises, I want you to almost imagine your body expanding and contracting. 

Your entire body expanding and contracting. Expanding and contracting. Expanding and contracting.

Exhale all of your breath.

And take a deep breath in.

Hold it. Two, three, four, five. Exhale.

Pause, two, three, four, inhale.

Hold, two, three, four, five, exhale.

Pause, two, three, four, inhale.

Hold, two, three, four, five, exhale. 

Pause, 2, 3, 4. One more. Inhale.

Pause, 2, 3, 4, 5. Exhale.

Pause. 2, 3, 4. Good. 

Now just allow yourself to breathe.

So what you notice there is we did an inhale and I had you hold for five, then an exhale, and then I had you hold for four. 

I'm going to do one more set and this time we're going to go a little bit slower. Just allow yourself to breathe. 

This will probably be an exercise that you'll listen to several times.

Each time if you can, really see if you can match your breath to my voice. 

What that does is takes the control out of you and surrender it to something else. 

You're not surrendering to me, you're surrendering to the Universe.

Exhale all of your breath, and inhale.

Hold, three, four, five. Exhale.

Pause, two, three, four. Inhale.

Hold 2, 3, 4, 5, exhale.

Pause 2, 3, 4, inhale.

Hold 2, 3, 4, 5, exhale.

Pause 2, 3, 4, 5, Inhale.

Hold, two, three, four, five. Exhale.

Pause, two, three, four, five. Inhale one more time.

Hold, two, three, four, five 

Let it all out Haaaaaaaaaaaaaa

Rest. Just allow yourself to be okay. It's okay. It's safe.

You are secure

Love yourself in this moment It's okay to do that

Be in this moment. Just for this moment. It's okay. It's okay.

It's okay.

Now at this moment you can pause and just allow yourself to breathe and stay in stillness. 

Or you can gently open your eyes, let them flutter, remove your maskyour scarf and feel your body. 

Sometimes when I can't sleep, which doesn't happen all the time by any stretch of the imagination, but it does happen, I find this breathing exercise to be very helpful.

I hope it is helpful for you too, and I encourage you to practice it numerous times. 

It only takes a few minutes. 

And again, if you can. To the best of your ability, really see if you can listen to my voice and follow that. 

Obviously, I don't want you to strain, but work up to it. You can do it. You can do it.