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Mad about Yoga: Allison Smith

A West Wing star depends on Kundalini Yoga to stay relaxed and centered.

By Victoria Clayton

Allison Smith, best known as Jane Curtin's daughter, Jenny, on the long-running television show Kate and Allie, now plays Mallory O'Brien on NBC's The West Wing. For many years, she toyed with yoga. "I tried lots of different yoga classes and styles," she explains. "I'd usually end up getting bored and not stay with any of them." Then Smith, also a Broadway actress who debuted at age 9 in Annie, found Kundalini Yoga at The Golden Bridge in Los Angeles. It turned out to be the perfect counterpart for this 31-year-old, who has a hard time "having faith and not worrying....I like Kundalini because there seems to be more emphasis on breathing and stretching instead of some of the really repetitive, strength-focused yoga classes I had tried before," she says. "I also like the great music and the fact that the instructor talks about pertinent topics like slowing down the pace of life and really taking in each moment." A dedicated yoga practice—along with writing poetry, hiking, singing, and dancing—helps Smith cultivate faith and combat her tendency to live "a little too much in the head....Yoga helps me feel relaxed and centered and know that everything is cool."

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