This week’s #GuruTips for Actors post is from #GuestGuru, Paula Pister! (You may have caught her previous interviews with us in our #HealthyActorSeries.) As an actress, health coach, yoga teacher, costume designer and mom of two great kids, Paula has experience in both sides of the business – production and talent. Warning: This is a long one, but it’s packed with info. Enjoy her incredible content below and be sure to show her a little love in the comments! xo, Ajarae
How To Stand In Your Power - And Own The Room (before even entering it) | Acting Resource Guru

We all know how it feels to walk into an audition and feel yourself go numb from the neck down. Or perhaps feel as though your feet are literally floating off of the ground. Or, maybe suddenly, it seems as though your brain has completely disconnected from your thoughts and your mouth is operating solo. Ok…so with practice, it does get easier, of course, but even the professionals have to create practices, rituals and habits that set them up for a great audition. They all want to do their best work and walk out feeling confident that they did everything that was in their control.

There’s so much in this business that is out of our control. That said, there is so much that is in our control. When you do everything you can to set yourself up for arriving on time, feeling great, and being prepared and ready to do the work, then the rest is just up to the universe, really.

Below are a few ways that many actors SELF-SABOTAGE. What I mean by that is that self-sabotage is a direct result of the choices actors make before their auditions – the choices that cause them to feel low energy, stressed out, anxious, unprepared, unworthy and not in a state of mind that supports them showing up as their BEST SELVES.

Side note: Even if you’re playing a villain, drug addict or nut job, you don’t actually want to BE a villain, drug addict or nut job.

How To Stand In Your Power - And Own The Room (before even entering it) | Acting Resource Guru

A few of the ways we SELF-SABOTAGE:

  • You stayed up too late at night cramming your sides, finding the right clothes and researching the show and CD’s you’re auditioning for.
  • Dinner was an afterthought. You ate late and because you forgot to eat lunch, you were starving and ate a heavy meal, or whatever was left over. Either that, or friends called and invited you to meet up for drinks…and you went.
  • Your head did not see the pillow until post midnight and you tossed and turned for an hour running over your sides in your head and/or checking texts and FB.
  • You woke up late (post 6 AM) feeling tired and groggy and still full from dinner the night before.
  • You’re feeling low in energy and needing a good kick to get going, you head to the local Starbucks for your $5 latte or fire up the Nespresso machine to get a quick hit of caffeine. This inevitably offers a short-lived burst of energy, wreaks havoc on your nervous system and creates feelings of being ungrounded.
  • Your audition is in the morning so your 10 AM pilates class/run or training session gets nixed. You haven’t moved your body and it feels stiff, achy, stuck and heavy.
  • You’re feeling behind the eight ball all morning and leave the house late which causes you to feel rushed and stressed when you arrive at your audition.
  • You show up just in time to discover that they’re actually on time and “you’re next”.
  • As you sit in the waiting room with all the other potential candidates for YOUR job, you hear yourself creating a laundry list of why everyone else deserves the role – or is better suited than you are.
  • As you walk in the door and hand the CD your headshot, with it, you hand her your worthiness. It’s as if suddenly the only person in the room that has any power or control over YOU getting the job, is the person on the other side of the table.
  • Add yours_______________________________________________________.


Does any of this sound familiar – even a little bit?

The main point here is:  WHO we are in the room, in the meeting or on the set, is a direct reflection of our daily habits, routines and choices. It hurts right?

Our Daily Routines determine our energy levels, our quality of sleep, how we age, our attitude, how we feel, how we see our lives in a bigger perspective…and so forth.

“Tell me your daily routine, and I’ll tell you how you feel. Tell me when you eat, and I’ll tell you if it’s easy or difficult for you to maintain your weight. Tell me when you exercise, and I’ll tell you whether you are building your body’s systems or wearing them down. Tell me when you turn off your computer or television at night, and I will tell you how sensitive you are to stress. Tell me when you fall asleep, and I’ll tell you whether you need coffee to power your way through the afternoon, or whether you snap at your loved ones after a long day, when you wanted to be patient”

~ Dr. Suhas Kshirsagar (world-renowned Ayurvedic physician and educator)

How To Stand In Your Power - And Own The Room (before even entering it) | Acting Resource Guru

It’s not magic!

A growing body of science reveals how closely our bodies are linked to the circadian rhythm of light and darkness, right down to the cellular level. Research shows that:

  • When you eat is just as important as what you eat.
  • When you fall asleep is as important as how much sleep you get.
  • When you exercise is as important as how much exercise you get.

Your daily schedule determines your weight, your stamina, your moods and your general health.

Here’s a great example to help this make sense. We’ve all experienced some degree of jet lag. How did you feel? The symptoms go far beyond sleep disruption. Often you suffer constipation, upset stomach, cognitive fog, low energy and increased sensitivity to stress. Even weight gain has been linked to jet lag in recent studies, as disrupting your schedule through long distance travel confuses the microbes in your gut.

Physiologists know that the body has a natural rhythm that operates on a 24-hour cycle – we call  this the circadian rhythm. It resets itself every morning when you first experience daylight. This rhythm directs the body on when to digest food, how to prepare for sleep, and how to regulate everything in your body, including blood pressure, metabolism, hormone production, body temperature and cellular repair. Even your skin cells repair and regenerate on a daily basis – how cool is that? Every hour of the day, your body is changing its function. Your cells and systems are primed to do different things depending on the time of day or night.

How To Stand In Your Power - And Own The Room (before even entering it) | Acting Resource Guru

The problem is that we all live in such a fast-paced, modern day schedule. Life is moving faster than ever with technology, electricity, transportation, busy schedules and the belief that we have to “DO IT ALL”.

Our own daily habits disrupt this natural rhythm that most dis-ease (mental, physical and emotional) is a direct result of our own “out- of-sync habits”.

When we stay up late at night “getting s**t done, or watching screens, this tricks our body into thinking that night has not started yet. Eating a big, heavy meal after 6 PM does the same thing – now the body has to digest food when you are sleeping instead of doing what it naturally does in the hours between 10 PM -2 AM which is detoxifying, cleaning house and cell regeneration. This also delays sleep cycles and the body does not get the deep quality of sleep that it requires to have energy it needs for the next day. We then wake up late feeling groggy and drink caffeine to get a jumpstart. All day we feel behind the eight ball and make choices that are not in alignment with feeling awesome and being our best self.

Ayurveda, which literally means the “science of life”, is a 5000-year-old body wisdom tradition and sister-science to yoga. It’s based on living in sync with nature’s rhythms. When you synchronize your bodily rhythms to nature’s clock, your physiology harmonizes. You experience flow, balance and ease. When you live against nature’s body clock, you experience stress, rapid aging and disease.

The synchronized daily bodily rhythms are called dinacharya which means “following the rhythm of the day.” Isn’t that lovely? You get to follow. No need to lead. Just pay attention and follow the lead. Nature isn’t just on your side…she’s got your back.

We are a part of nature and her daily, seasonal and time-of-life cycles. We are not separate from these energies that exist and are happening all the time.


How To Stand In Your Power - And Own The Room (before even entering it) | Acting Resource Guru

To help you better understand these daily cycles, talk a look at the “Energy Clock” diagram below.

How To Stand In Your Power - And Own The Room (before even entering it) | Acting Resource Guru

The 24-hour clock in Ayurveda is divided into six 4-hour energy cycles. As you can see in the “Energy Clock” above, there are different energies happening throughout the day. These are PITTA, KAPHA, and VATA. Our goal is to align our inner clock with what is ALREADY happening in nature’s clock.

Here is a brief description of these THREE ENERGIES that exist throughout the day and during nighttime hours.

We begin with the FIRST 12-hour DAYTIME phase of the Energetic Clock:

DAYTIME KAPHA CYCLE (6 AM -10 AM) – The first cycle of the day is predominated by kapha energy, which has the qualities we associate with water. When we wake up in this kapha energy we feel slower, denser, and less energized for the day than if we woke up in vata energy. The mind and body are

still waking up and need a jolt of exercise, meditation and food to synchronize with the new day. This is when cortisol levels peak making this the best time of the day for physical labor when the muscles are the strongest and the heat of the day has not set in. This is good time for your heaviest workout.

How to align with the Kapha time of day:

  • Get up no later than 6 am. Waking up after sunrise will leave you feeling tired and dull.
  • Move your body – cardio, yoga, stretching, physical labor etc.
  • Start your morning with a chlorophyll-rich green smoothie. Allow 20 minutes to digest  before eating anything else.

DAYTIME PITTA CYCLE (10 AM – 2 PM)  The second cycle of the day is predominated by pitta energy, which has the qualities we associate with fire. This is when the sun is reaching the middle of the sky and pitta is the strongest. The digestion fire is the hottest at this time making this the best time to eat your heaviest and most nutrient dense meal. Studies prove that when the largest meal of the day is eaten earlier in the day, there is significantly more weight loss than later in the day.

How to align with the Pitta time of the day.

  • Make lunch the main meal of the day.
  • Carve out quiet time to eat and enjoy your meal.
  • Allow your body 10-15 minutes to relax after eating to digest.
  • Do your best to eat foods that are in season and preferably organic.

DAYTIME VATA CYCLE (2 PM – 6 PM) The  third cycle  of the day is predominated by vata energy, which qualities we associate with air and ether. During this cycle, the nervous system is most active. This is when the brain is demanding fuel from the previously digested large meal. If the fuel is not there because you skipped lunch or only had a salad, the brain will scavenge for any available glucose or energy it can find and blood sugar levels will fall. This can result in an afternoon lull, craving, or moodiness. If you find yourself reaching for a sweet or  salty snacks, caffeine or a snooze, it may be that the brain is straining to get the fuel it needs to make it through the afternoon.

In the later part of this cycle, between 5 PM and 6 PM, there is a period of stillness in nature. The energy of the day is beginning to calm down and wind down. This is a great time to meditate. It is when nature’s cycles become still and we have the opportunity to entrain our rhythms with those of nature, still the mind and de-stress.

How to align with the Vata time of the day:

  • Re-evaluate lunch if you notice cravings and a lull in energy in this time – add more healthy fats like olive and avocado oils, avocado, seeds and protein.
  • If you experience the mid-afternoon crash, make sure that you didn’t eat lunch on the fly or while preoccupied. Plan to make lunch tomorrow more relaxed and focused on your food.
    Meditate during the last part of this cycle between 5 PM- 6 PM. Even if you can only sit for 2-5 minutes, that’s better than nothing.

Now we move into the second 12-hour NIGHTTIME PHASE of the Energetic Clock.

NIGHTTIME KAPHA CYCLE (6 PM – 10 PM) The energy switches back to kapha. This is when the body is slowing down and feeling a little bit dull and heavy again as it’s preparing for sleep as the sun goes down. As soon as 6 pm hits, our digestion starts slowing down, which is why most traditional cultures always had a light supper. Even the word supper is an attempt to denote a smaller, supplemental or soup-like meal. A heavy meal at this time will be inefficiently digested and cause sleep issues and weight gain.

How to align with the Evening Kapha time:

  • Eat your last meal of the day no later than 7 PM – early is better.
  • Make supper supplemental, just a little something to get you through to the breaking of your fast (breakfast)
  • Keep exercise light and understimulating- go for a walk, light house cleaning or gentle yoga. Great time to play with your dog or kids.
  • TURN OFF ALL SCREENS by 8 PM. The blue light from your screen signals to your brain that it’s daylight and makes falling asleep harder.

NIGHTTIME PITTA CYCLE (10 PM – 2 AM) This is the time when pitta (fire), which can be very stimulating and can rev the mind into thinking you are a night person. This is the time when the liver, which is the body’s major pitta or fire organ, is actively detoxifying and preparing the body for the next day. Late meals and late nights disturb this cycle and compromise the body’s ability to detox, regenerate and rejuvenate efficiently. When it happens day after day for years, the liver can become congested and the body can build toxicity levels in the fat cells of the brain and the entire body creating disease.

How to align with the Nighttime Pitta time:
Eat early so that you are finished digesting by the time this cycle begins.
• Exercise early so the body’s cortisol and adrenaline levels are not stimulated at this time, which can affect sleep and night time liver detox.
• Consider meditating, journaling or reading a relaxing book before bed. Also a nice time to take a bath or do self massage.
Lights out by 10 PM. Anything you think that you need to do later in the evening can now be done early in the morning. Start with baby steps. Wind bedtime back in 15 minute increments:  ie. if you typically go to bed at 11 PM, shoot for 10:45 for one week and keeping dialing it back. Ideally, we want to be getting 7-8 hours of quality sleep a night

NIGHT TIME VATA CYCLE (2 AM – 6 AM) – This time is the quietest time of the night when consciousness is the most expansive. Between 2 AM – 6 AM our dreams are the most vivid and active. If the body was put to sleep early and is not chronically fatigued, it is quite natural to wake up at this time before the sunrise. This the THE time to tap into your creativity, imagination and ability to connect with your highest self. It’s the perfect time for MEDITATION which will help to entrain the body with the silence of nature. We all know the energy when we wake up early and experience nature waking up. Perhaps if you camp, you’ve experienced the glory of watching a sunrise? The feeling of potentiality is magnified.

Note: The quieter the mind is during the day, the more the body naturally tends towards living in sync with these cycles.

How to align with the Nighttime Vata Cycle:
• Over time, after getting to bed early and eating supper early, you will naturally begin to wake up earlier. This will happen without an alarm and, although we may still have to end the habit of sleeping in later, the body will no longer need the extra rest.
• This is a great time for yoga, meditation, writing and creative projects.

How does this relate to my auditions and how I feel in the room? How does this affect the quality of my work and my ability to leave the audition feeling empowered and positive not disempowered and discouraged?

What we do DAILY has a DIRECT impact on how we show up in our lives. Our daily habits, routines and thought patterns create our reality. This dude said it the best:

How To Stand In Your Power - And Own The Room (before even entering it) | Acting Resource Guru

When we align our inner clock with the rhythms of the day, the seasons, and our time of life, we create more ease and flow on a regular basis. We begin to experience the benefits of deeper energy, mental clarity, confidence, groundedness, joy, freedom, stronger immunity, less aches and pains, better sleep, our ideal body weight, more creativity, and a deeper connection to our deepest desires, dreams and dharma (life purpose).

When we are taking care of ourselves in this way and showing up feeling all the things I listed above, then getting “the job” isn’t what matters the most. Instead, what really matters, is the opportunity for you to show up as your very BEST SELF, in the driver’s seat of your audition, or meeting, with the ability and clarity to connect to the spark in you that is your art, your passion and your highest expression of your creativity.

So focus on what you do daily.

Choose habits that support your life and how you want to show up in it.

Start by taking KAIZEN STEPS (a.k.a baby steps) in the directions of your goals, and build from there. Eventually your new habits will become the “norm” and the old ones will be outdated, out of style and totally out of integrity with WHO you are becoming:

A Healthy, Vibrant, Confident, Working Actor/Actress with a full and complete life.

Check out these TIPSHEETS for more awesome information on creating better daily habits.



If you’re ready to up-level your DAILY HABITS, so that you can THRIVE in your auditions and more importantly, your career, then CLICK HERE to schedule a 30-minute FREE WELLNESS Conversation with me.



How To Stand In Your Power - And Own The Room (before even entering it) | Acting Resource Guru

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Paula is a yoga health coach, yoga teacher, actress and mom of two great kids. She has worked as an actress since she was 16 years old (off and on) and also as a costume stylist for over 20 years. Needless to say, she has experience in both sides of the business- production and talent. Paula moved from Vancouver to NYC to study and work in the theater for 10 years and eventually moved to LA in 2004. She also trained and started teaching yoga while living in NYC and has taught now for over 20 years. Most recently as a yoga health coach, Paula has brought all her experience and expertise as an actress and yoga teacher together to coach and work with people off the yoga mat in their daily lives. She is very excited to bring this ancient and modern wisdom of yoga, Ayurveda and habit changing science to actors and artists. To empower artists with tools to help them take control of their health, their habits and how they show up in the world and in their careers. This is what Paula strives for as a coach, teacher and guide everyday.


  1. I read through the article in it’s entirety and I’m happy to report that I do some of these practices already! Yay! However, my qualm is for someone who works at night or has an event event to prepare for, what are some Ayurvedic practices in this instance.


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