We recently had a chance to chat with Ulka Simone Mohanty, a multi-faceted and talented artist and one of our Starwater Yoga models! She is a film and voiceover actor, dance artist and choreographer for Disney and certified yogini. She joins us in an interview to talk about how she incorporates yoga in her daily artistic life and how our yoga mats have enhanced her practice.
Did you dream of becoming a dancer first or an actor?
I had always dreamed of being an actor since I can remember, and that has never wavered, but after years of dance training, I realized at perhaps around the age of 16 or 17 that I could conceivably do both and that both avenues were important to me and nourished each other, in a sense.
So in all the varying artistic fields you expertise in, is there a common thread?
I try my best to have a daily yoga practice, no matter how minimal. I am mostly successful with this! Yoga is known to aid with sound health and vocal strength which definitely helps me with my voiceover work, and yoga is also a great way to prime the body and mind for dance rehearsals, and even aiding getting into the zone for acting roles. No matter how busy I am or if I'm traveling a lot, there is always time and space for a few surya namaskaras (sun salutations) in the morning.
What first drew you to yoga?
I grew up with yoga as a normal part of life. Being of Indian ancestry, yoga was considered a known good practice in life. In Montreal, where I'm from, whether or not people had an asana routine they followed, the awareness was definitely there. Growing up in Canada, we would even do some asana practice during gym class in school and we were fortunate to have places like the Sivananda Yoga Ashram within driving distance.
You have trained in dance, theatre, voiceover and martial arts; what made you decide to also pursue yoga teacher training?
I pursued my teaching certificates in yoga because I wanted to better understand my own practice as well as enhance my proficiency in those other fields. Breath and presence of mind is intensely important in martial arts and breath-work and meditation are universal aids to improving anything in life, in general.
Have the Starwater Yoga mats enhanced your practice in any discernible way?
Actually, yes! The mats are so incredibly beautifully designed and crafted, I'm actually more excited and motivated to practice yoga, because the mats are so thoughtful and complex. I find it adds another level of meditation during my yoga practice. I can gaze at different sections of my mat and I always notice something new in the artwork as I go through my asanas.
Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us today, it has been wonderful, and we have been thrilled to have you modeling for and supporting Starwater Yoga!
My pleasure, and thank you. They are truly a joy to practice with and on and have been an instant hit at any yoga class!
We wish Ulka all the best in her endeavors and look forward to following her as she continues in her impressive artistic journey. You can find out more about the exciting projects Ulka is involved in on her website at ulkamohanty.com