Slow down, it’s OK: Lessons from India.Arie

Slow down, it’s OK: Lessons from India.Arie

  Confession: I am addicted to inspirational stories. I subscribe to all the podcasts (Oprah’s SuperSoul Coversations, The RobCast, Magic Lessons, On Being, The Deconstructionists…) and I love all the inspirational people (yes Oprah, Glennon Doyle, Rob Bell, Krista Tippett, Elizabeth Gilbert…). I find motivation and comfort in hearing how others have walked through the fire and come out the other side. These stories help me process my own journey, provide insight and inspiration in my work, and make me feel deeply connected to myself and my fellow humans. Side Note: We all feel this way about inspirational stories. I think it's because these stories are the essence of the human existence; the quest, the struggle and challenge as we discover truth, and the growth that allows us to emerge stronger than we were before. To quote Glennon Doyle, “first the pain, then the rising”. These stories have been told to us since the beginning of time. We find them in the Bhagavad Gita,...
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Sweet Relief: An Exercise for Releasing Heat

Sweet Relief: An Exercise for Releasing Heat

What a ride this summer has been! I can’t believe that August is almost upon us. ???? It’s been a whirlwind these past few weeks, between coaching, teaching and presenting at events! I’m so grateful for everyone who came out to practice with me at the Toronto Fringe, Hillside and Gerrard Art Space. It’s been great to connect with you and I’m excited to continue to share this work with you. While it’s all been very exciting, at times it has also felt overstimulating and I often leave events feeling like I’m buzzing on the inside from all the energy that was created (sound familiar?). Along with buzzing, I also often experience this excess energy as heat. My face gets red, I sweat more and my skin feels hot to the touch. While it seems like I’ve just been out in the sun for a while, this happens even when I present inside or in a cool space. This heat is not generated from...
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Where in the World is Mairin this Summer?

Where in the World is Mairin this Summer?

Well, it’s true! Summer is finally upon us. Yay! The sun (and even the rain), the long days and all the plants in bloom having been calling me outdoors every chance I get. Weekend hiking and road trips have been refreshing, and the chance to work on my back patio has helped me stay focused during the week, even though all I really want to do is run off to the beach (can you relate?). ;) In the midst of all this wanderlust, there’s been a lot of activity at Five Winds! Recently, an article of mine, Leaving Troubling Characters on the Stage, was published in Intermission Magazine. This article has been several months in the making and features interviews with a psychotherapist and professor on the psychology of performing and post-performance recovery. If you haven’t had a chance to read it yet, click here. I’m also excited to be taking my Five Winds work out on the road! I’ll be presenting and teaching...
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Onstage Zen: My Recent Feature in Elephant Journal!

Onstage Zen: My Recent Feature in Elephant Journal!

  Exciting news! Yesterday, an article of mine on meditation and performing was featured on Elephant Journal. Yay! This piece was a bit of a personal one, exploring one of the main reasons I've struggled so much as a performer for most of my adult life. But beyond the struggle, it also talks about one of the biggest game-changers in my life over the past few years: meditation. If you've been reading my blog or following my work, it's probably no surprise to you that I love meditation and that I see it as an important (if not fundamental) tool for performers. But I didn't always feel that way. In fact, for a large part of my life, I didn't think that I would ever be able to meditate. In order to be a meditator, I thought you had to be a certain "type" of person: an already zen, quiet and undramatic person (in my mind, not a performer). But all this changed for...
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Instant Calm: An Exercise

Instant Calm: An Exercise

I remember clearly the first time I had a panic attack on stage. I was in high school, performing a play in drama competition. It was a two-person show; just me and another actor in front of the audience for 45 minutes. While I had acted in a similar style piece before, this felt much more high-stakes. It had been years since my school had made it this far in the competition and I took this responsibility both seriously and personally. We were the second show of our night. Before us had been a lively and intense piece with a large cast. Now, as I stepped out on stage, that entire cast was sitting in the first two rows of the audience staring up at me. They were buzzed from their performance, with too much energy to sit still. They chatted amongst themselves, so loudly that I could hear them clearly on stage. Thank goodness this was the time before cell phones....
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Post-Performance Recovery: An Introduction + Exercise

Post-Performance Recovery: An Introduction + Exercise

If you’ve been clicking around my website or following me on social media at all, you’ve probably seen the term post-performance recovery come up a *few times (*read, a lot). It’s a pretty catchy phrase, and seems pretty easy to understand. But since I talk about it so much, I thought it might be useful to explain what I actually mean by it. So… Post-Performance Recovery. What the heck is it? In many ways, it is exactly what it sounds like: A process to assists artists in releasing their performance experiences and rebalancing their energy, so they can transition back into their everyday lives. This is a fancy way of saying it’s a “cool down”. Think of sports. Before an athlete competes in an event, they go through a warm up routine to prepare themselves. Afterwards, they follow a cool down routine to help their body recuperate from all the energy the just exerted. Many performers follow a similar routine, except for one thing: most...
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Updates: Workshops, E-Books, Design and More!

Updates: Workshops, E-Books, Design and More!

Wow! It’s been about two months since the launch of this blog and website, and a lot has been happening at Five Winds! Between writing blog posts, I’ve been working hard at moving forward a bunch of other projects. Busy (but also fun) times! So in light of this, I thought it would be a good idea to update you on what I’ve been up to. So check it out below! There’s even some things for you to participate in too. :) Workshop: Earth, Water, Sun – Restorative Yoga for Spring First off, I’m excited to announce that I will be offering a restorative yoga workshop at Gerrard Art Space in May. Come relax with me in this beautiful gallery and community space. If you haven’t had the chance to practice while surrounded by a collection of stunning visual art, I highly recommend it! There's a maximum of 10 participants, so if you’re interested, sign up early! Sunday, May 7, 2017 7:00pm – 9:00pm Gerrard...
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That Tingly Feeling: An Exercise for Feeling Energy + Mandy Moore

That Tingly Feeling: An Exercise for Feeling Energy + Mandy Moore

We talk a lot about energy on this blog. We’ve talked about it as vibration. We’ve talked about how it transforms us when we perform. We’ve talked about how art has its own unique energy. And we’ve talked about how it can be hard to let go of that energy after a performance. But what does energy feel like? How do we experience energy moving through our systems? The truth is…I can’t exactly tell you. Here’s the deal… We are all unique beings (surprise!), and following that, the way we express energy is unique. We know this as performers. Think about it. This is why 4 actors can play the role of Hamlet and all their performances are different. Or 5 musicians can play the same song and they all sound different. Heck, 5 musicians can play the same instrument and the instrument sounds different! So it follows that the way each of us feels energy is different from one person to the next. So...
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Releasing Character: Lessons from Hugh Jackman and Wolverine + EXERCISE

Releasing Character: Lessons from Hugh Jackman and Wolverine + EXERCISE

My first memory of Hugh Jackman will always be from this film. I mean, what more could I have wanted from an early 2000s romantic comedy: Meg Ryan, time travel, a man in tails, Liev Schreiber, margarine…I’m not seeing a downside here! Oh, and Bradley Whitford too. ;) But regardless of my teenage taste in movies (don’t judge…), the role that really defined his career involved having giant retractable knives sticking out of his hands. Yes, in between several Broadway runs, hosting the Tony’s multiple times and winning a Golden Globe Award, the character that has stuck by his side for 17 years has been James (Logan) Howlett, better known as the X-Men’s* Wolverine. *Side Note: The X-Men were my gateway superheroes. I was a big fan of the animated series in the 90s. This was probably largely due to the fact that it was one of the only cartoons that had women heroes (Storm, Jean Grey...pretty awesome). I can still sing the...
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Performance Energy, Part 2: A Harry Potter Theory

Performance Energy, Part 2: A Harry Potter Theory

In my last blog post, we began exploring the idea of performance energy. We discussed energy as vibration and the exchange of energetic vibrations that happens during a performance. And we also started talking about another energetic force at work when we perform. That’s where we’ll pick up here. If you have haven’t read the previous post yet, you can do that here. Then join us as we continue to explore performance energy. A spark. That little flash of energy that transforms us from our everyday selves into performers. When do we feel it? In the moment of stepping from offstage to onstage? In the seconds when our hands first grasp our instruments? In that breath that brings the microphone to our lips? What happens in that moment? Where does that burst of energy come from? That my friends, is the power of the performance itself. Let me explain. In the previous post, we talked about how we give off energetic vibrations in everything we do. This...
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