Yoga Plays a Big Role in Actor\’s Life

Traci Gardner

It’s no act when you listen to Traci Gardner extol the benefits of her Yoga practice.

The professional actress, who just recently was cast in a scene with Helen Hunt in “Shots Fired,” a FOX upcoming drama series, and who played a tough bartender in “Swamp Murders,” says Yoga has helped her immensely when auditioning for different roles.

“It has helped me learn different breathing techniques, which are so very, very important while acting to relax and center yourself,” Traci says. “I am better able to appreciate my body and the work it does for me every day. It makes me feel strong and healthy and it lets me know I may not be perfect, but I am doing something on a regular basis to be fit and healthy.”

Traci says she and her family moved to the Asheville area about four years ago because she believed the acting market was greater in North Carolina than in the Midwest where they were living at the time. But because she had gained a bit amount of weight, she hesitated to audition for anything, believing she wouldn’t be cast because she was neither skinny nor fat – she had ‘no character type,’ as she put it.

“And, frankly, show business makes you feel overweight and unwanted unless you are malnourished,” she says.

But thanks to Yoga, Traci gained the confidence she needed and she auditioned for a show at Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre and was cast in the world premiere of “Shunned,” a play by Larry Parr that examines the lives and turmoil some Amish people face.

It was during her work in “Shunned,” when Traci met her agent. “Things just snowballed from there, and more opportunities opened up,” she says.

But homeschooling her children is what keeps her the busiest. Calling herself “not a morning person,” Traci has to take advantage of YAM’s 6 a.m. classes, because, really, no other time works for her.

“I hope I can encourage other women who are older, like myself, with too many responsibilities, to make time for yourself. It’s hard to give to others when you haven’t filled your own vessel,” Traci says.

She says she always feels welcome at YAM.

“If you’re thinking of trying Yoga, go for it. Find a nonjudgmental place like YAM and just do it. If you are new to Yoga, just tell them and they will guide you. You have to start somewhere and it will just get better from there. I guarantee you will not regret it,” Traci says.

“And you might even hear angels singing, like I did after my first class at YAM,” she says.