Exhale as you do the hard work

11 Aug

How does working with our bodies relate to the bigger picture of spirituality? Why talk about kinesthetic intelligence?

These past four months we’ve interviewed those working in the body-smart/kinesthetic field, discussed how emotions live in our tissues, and I’ve personally tackled this, my weakest intelligence, through intensive physical training sessions.


Over the next few blog posts as we wrap up this series, we’ll review how bodily wellness relates to that bigger spiritual picture.

Here’s what I’ve personally learned through training with my RMT Ginette Blier and working with fellow Women’s Business Network member, Jessica Keats of Yoga with Jessica:

I’ve got to let each muscle do its job, and not try to carry the weight of stress entirely in one place – be it my shoulders, my back or my neck. And, I’ve got to remember to inhale and exhale.

When a workout becomes intense, rather than holding in your breath, it needs to be let go. Much like life, when moments are stressful I need to exhale and let the breath go rather than defensively hoarding that energy.

There’s a model for working with stress and breath, and it can apply to your body as well as to your coping in everyday moments of challenge.

  • Exhale as you do the hard work.
  • Inhale as you relax.
  • Be mindful of the breaths and listen: what is the body saying now?

Just the other day I was in a meeting for the Women’s Business Network. It felt like a complicated situation, and I needed to present my approach carefully. Just earlier that day my mom had been admitted to the hospital again. Then, the traffic on the way to my meeting was terrible, and I turned off the wrong exit. I felt the stress in my shoulders and found myself holding my breath. I paused and remembered to exhale. My body started to smile again.

My personal trainer and Yoga therapist both tell me I hold tension in my core and unconsciously hold my breath when I’m stretching beyond my comfort zone. This struck me deeply. I was overlooking certain parts of my body like my shoulders, in favour of working my chest harder. I was holding my breath, straining my neck but once I became aware of these ideas, they stayed with me.

What was I holding onto so tightly? What was my body trying to say? And even more importantly, what was the root of all this tension in my neck?

During a recent session with my RMT, while performing fascia release, I had a momentary flash where my body spoke to me: a picture of a neck appeared in my mind (my intuition rolls into me with pictures so I can call myself clairvoyant), and so I asked my RMT to focus on my neck with her technique. And as she did, the pain bloomed. I had to exhale during the release of the painful tension, breathe in as she let up, and listen to the emotions brought on by the pain.

These feelings have direct and clear ties to how we live our lives, or past emotions we’ve experienced. I can tell you, with each massage I let go of a little bit. With each yoga session, I learn a little bit and make tiny corrections.

So in that meeting room after the chaotic day I’d just had, I listened to my body and recognized it was tight. I exhaled as the pressure mounted. I breathed in as my body found its calm.

And then, I chaired the meeting. Later, I got some feedback about appearing calm and confident as the facilitator of the meeting. I knew that part of that success was the exhales to get through the tough parts of the day.

That in itself was a very empowering moment. Yet it is only just one example of how strong we can become when we work with, and listen to our bodies.


  • Exhale as you do the hard work.
  • Inhale as you relax.
  • Be mindful of the breaths and listen: what is the body saying now?

How do you apply breath in your day? And in the workplace as you meet with the board, lead your team, make important decisions, are you aware of how your body is responding? Share your stories here or on our Sister Leadership Facebook page.

Till next week,




2 Responses to “Exhale as you do the hard work”

  1. kelly August 14, 2015 at 10:42 #

    everything flows from the breathing…. in sports, performing, business and life! All it takes is regular practice! Yoga is one way to learn this but there are many others…
    Kelly of Insights


  1. Focus and Grounding | sister leadership - September 1, 2015

    […] up the series. Continued work with amazing trainers and teachers like MC Lessard, Jessica Keats, Ginette Blier and personal trainer Lee Ann Sonier has left me feeling more and more in tune with my body. And […]

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