Connie Viglietti and Michaela Cullen utilize theatre collaboration in a different “performance” setting, bringing truth and purpose to life.
Many professionals with hectic lives, regardless of whether they are performers, find great value in taking time for themselves. Practicing self-care and self-love is so important for a healthy lifestyle, particularly in the performing arts, which is a field full of rejection that can tear down confidence in the blink of an eye.
With that in mind, two Elon Department of Performing Arts alumnae have created Emaya, a yoga and meditation program that centers around empowerment programs, retreats and establishing a safe place to learn and share experiences, ultimately helping women “connect to their light, purpose, and power.”
Music theatre alumna Connie Viglietti ’03 and theatre arts alumna Michaela Cullen ’02 originally connected through their training at Elon, and were roommates in New York City after graduation. Viglietti and Cullen are artists, certified yoga instructors with varying specifications, wellness coaches, authors, and mothers.
The creation of Emaya and its surrounding ideas stemmed from their theater training. The programs are designed to help a person break down the walls they have built up all their life, and to learn to be accepting and unapologetic of who they truly are. Yoga and meditation release endorphins and peel back the protective layers to reveal the true self. Vigletti and Cullen use the life-coaching methodologies to also do this with coaching, inner reflection and journaling.
“Theater is all about truth-telling,” states Cullen. “You can’t access the truth of a character if you don’t know your own truth.”
Viglietti and Cullen’s theater background is very prevalent in their ideas for Emaya. When asked why yoga and meditation could be beneficial to a performer, Viglietti said, “It’s hard to be a creative because you are constantly questioning. Are you good enough? Are people going to receive what I’m putting out there? Yoga helps you turn inward.” Understanding self-love and self-care, having strong confidence, and being your own biggest cheerleader can give a performing arts career longevity.
Vulnerability and performing go hand in hand. Cullen explains that performers cannot tap into emotions on stage if they are not first “vessels” for their own emotional vulnerability. Cullen and Viglietti have created a safe space that allows freedom in expression and creativity, along with open access to our deepest emotions.
Emaya has been a creative outlet for both women when they are not performing. It is their theater experiences that have given them the ability to empathize, and connect with people. Both women feel they are more than just “singers and actors” because collaboration like this is a form of artistic expression. Through Emaya they have the ability to channel creative ideas and develop truth and vulnerability within themselves, while helping other people do so, much like they learned from their experiences at Elon.
Cullen and Viglietti would like to thank their professors at Elon who have shaped and inspired them as artists. “They lead by example. They lead with passionate hearts. They have this common quality of blending their wild untamed spirits, their talented expertise, and the way they shape their hearts,” Viglietti said. “They touched our lives in such a way that as we teach in our own circle now, little pieces of their teachings are with us and continue to spread. They are always with us and that is a gift.”
The pair has recently released the Back To Her program, a 40-day journey that stems around yoga, meditation, transformational coaching methodologies and journaling. Its purpose is to find a deeper connection to one’s self, to practice healing habits, and to gain control of your aspirations in life. “Back to Her gets you out of your head and into your heart,” Viglietti said.
The program is available online, making it very accessible, and creating a huge support network. With a facebook page, a poetic blog that shares real experiences, and live online coffee talks, there are endless possibilities to connect with others and erase negativity in your lifestyle.
For information on how to sign up, go to https://backtoher.emayacircle.com/register .
To see what is all about try a free online workshop at https://workshop.emayacircle.com/join .