(6) Challenges

Life is yoga | Challenge

How do you cope with challenges? Do you fight, freeze or flight? If you look at any myth you’ll find the hero facing some challenges. To learn and to become stronger. So take a look at your own life: what is your challenge? Here are some tips from actors to help you being a brave warrior and defeat your ‘dragon’.


In a play a character has to overcome something. Overcome a fear of forfill a longing. To accomplish this, there’re some challenges. Most likely the character finds a helper, a mentor, but there will be temptations too. An actor has to know how he fits into the bigger picture of a play. Maybe his role is to help the main character, to mentor him, to tempt, etc.

There are different ways of acting. I’ll shortly point out Grotowski, Johnstone, Stanislavski and Brook.

Grotowski: focuses on the physical part of acting. By exhaustion the actor doesn’t have time to think and will follow his instinct. He’s acting is pure, raw, unpolished.

Johnstone: focus is on improvisation. Forces you into situation where you don’t have the time to think. So you have to learn to follow impulses. If you follow these first impulses, you play in a authentic way.

Stanislavski: An actor has to know everything about his character. The way he thinks, feels, lives, moves, etc. The actor slowly transforms into it’s character. Linked to method acting.

Brook: Theatre has to be holy, magical. An actor has to play a role over and over again. But Brook says the director and actor always have to make sure it’s been played as if its the first time. It has to be real and to have an urge.

For me Peter Brook has been a great inspiration. Just like in yoga Brook wants the actor (and you) to be in the present. Underneath you’ll find three exercises you can try. It can be challenging. See it as a game, research. Just try, try, fail, try…


Asana: When you practise your poses, stay in a pose and name what thoughts help you to become stronger, brave, secure? Is there something that motivates you? relaxes you doing the poses? What parts of your ego tempt you to get you off your focus?

Pranayama: Think of your biggest fear. What happens to your breathing? Imagine you achieved your goals, reached your goal. What happens to your breathing?

Dhyana: In your live you must have met a few inspiring people. Name the best advice someone ever gave you. Is there a (famous) quote you relate too? Use it as a mantra during meditation.