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 if I can’t tell you how energy feels, what can I tell you? Well, I can tell you how to notice your energy. And if you begin to notice your energy, then you can discover how it feels. Cool!

But why is this helpful to us as artists? Well as we’ve talked about before, energy is at the heart of our work as performers. If we know how our energy feels, then we can track its movement through us. And if we can track its movement, then we can also direct our energy to where we want it to go. Cool x2!

Here’s a practical example. In a recent interview on CBC Radio’s q with Tom Power, Mandy Moore talked about her role on the hit show, This is Us.*

*SPOILER ALERT: This is Us is a show with MANY plot twists. In fact the whole premise of the show is revealed as a plot twist in the first episode. That premise is also (kind of) revealed below. Now this premise has been covered extensively in the media already. But if you haven’t heard it and want to preserve your innocence, just skip the next paragraph. 😉

In the show, we see Mandy’s character as both as a 30 year old in the past and a 60 year old in the present (if this doesn’t make sense, read this). To help her embody her character at these different life stages, Mandy talks about sending her energy to different areas of her body; to her heart and hands as a 30 year old, and to the crown of her head as a 60 year old. Channeling energy to these different areas allows her to move differently at these two distinct ages. It also allows her to connect with the character’s emotional state at two very different points in life. Pretty useful!

So how can we begin to notice and track our own energy? Try this exercise!

This exercise has two parts. First we use movement and heat to bring our awareness to the flow of energy in a chosen body part. Then we use visualization to help direct more energy into this area.

It’s  a great exercise to do if you feel tired or sluggish before a rehearsal or a show, as it is literally energizing (hahaha!). It’s also great to do if you feel overwhelmed mentally, as it brings your focus back into your body.

  1. Pick a part of your body to work with. It can be any body part; your belly, your chest, your arms etc. If you’re new to all this energy stuff, try it with your hands first. They are pretty energetically sensitive. 🙂
  2. Tense up the muscles in and around this body part. Squeeze tightly for 15-20 seconds, then release.
  3. Rub this area your body vigorously with your hand. Keep going until you start to feel some heat being created, 15-20 seconds.
  4. Close your eyes and bring your attention to your chosen body part.
  5. Notice the sensations you feel here. Notice how this body part feels on the inside. You might feel sensations of heat, tingling or pulsing etc., or you might feel something different. Notice if these sensations feel like they are moving in a particular direction. Stay with this focus for a few moments.
  6. Now picture this body part in your mind. Imagine this body part being filled with white light. Hold this image in your mind for a few moments. Visualize this white light gradually getting brighter. Notice the sensations you feel in your body part. Notice again if these sensations feel like they are moving in a particular direction.
  7. Slowly begin to move this body part (you can open your eyes, if needed). Notice how it feels as you move it. Notice how the rest of your being feels in response to this movement.

You can repeat this exercise multiple times with the same body part, or you can experiment with different body parts. Be aware that sometimes tracking energy like this can bring up unexpected emotions. If this happens to you and you begin to feel uncomfortable, pause the exercise and take a few deep breaths. When you feel ready, you can start the exercise again.


So try this out, and discover what your energy feels like! Of course, the more you practice it, the better you’ll get at tracking and directing your energy. You may even begin to notice and direct your energy without needing to do the exercise. And that’s very a handy tool to have in your pocket as a performer. 🙂

Also, if you’re interested in hearing the full interview with Mandy Moore, you can find it here. She covers a lot of great topics including her experience returning to acting after a long break, and how she feels about playing a mother.



Act(ing) Mindfully is a part of my work with Five Winds. It’s a space where I explore the connection between performance and energy, and offer tips and ideas on how to stay balanced and healthy (body, mind, emotions and spirit) while living the life of a performer.

For more information on my work, or my private coaching and workshops, subscribe to my blog in the sidebar and sign up for updates here.

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