Engagement of the whole self, from the inside to the outside, from the feet to the head, deeply enhances the performer’s ability to discover his/her unique voice. Somatic Experiencing (SE) guides one to tune into the sensations of the body, a crucial step in connecting to feelings and creativity. SE connects us to our innate natural body rhythm, fostering regulation of the sympathetic and parasympathetic branches of the autonomic nervous system.
In a regulated system that is in balance, there is a flow between the sympathetic branch-thought of as the gas pedal- and the parasympathetic branch-the brake. In an deregulated, out of balance system, one often gets stuck in one branch of the autonomic system; the elevated anxiety and fear many performers experience causes them to spike into the sympathetic branch, losing the flow into the parasympathetic. This causes the adrenal glands to release the hormone cortisol, putting one’s entire metabolism on high alert, impacting blood flow. As the blood moves away form the brains high cognitive center, more mistakes are made and processing information becomes more difficult. Marcia Lesser helps artists to restore the balance between the branches. It is here, when the body senses are relaxed yet alert that the performer has true control.
Body mind integration is greatly enhanced by mindfulness training and neurobiological techniques. It is never too late to stimulate the growth of neural fibers that enable mindfulness to grow, effecting the prefrontal region of the brain. This region is crucially important for the performer for it coordinates the regulation of heart rate, respiration and it is from here that we are able to allay fear.