How the Breathe Can Get You Through Painful Times

breathwork emotions grief Mar 14, 2024

As promised, I am coming back in to give you a tip on breathwork and if you want to know more about the benefits of breath you can check out my blog this week.

One of the tools I use in my practice with emotional pain is the breath. When a client or student of mine comes in, the first thing I look at is how they are breathing. It tells me a lot. Are they stressed, in pain, relaxed, nervous, or excited?

When we are holding our breath, which most people I see around me are, we are holding in whatever emotion or feeling we are having. When we are stressed, we might be breathing shallow or holding it, when we are in pain, we can be holding it tight so we don't feel it.

Holding onto the breath is actually holding on to the emotion. When I see people trying not to cry, I see them holding their breath so they don't and the emotion is stuffed back into the body.

Ultimately, this isn't helpful. The breath helps us move through things. There are breathwork retreats all over the world now. It's powerful and helps stuck feelings & emotions flow through us instead of getting stuck in stress patterns in our bodies so we end up needing chiropractic work or other stress-related challenges manifesting physically.

Recently, we had a death in our family. I noticed in myself I was struggling so hard to breathe because I could barely take the pain. My body was reacting to the degree of grief I was experiencing. But I also could feel the stress of holding it in, holding it tight. Because I work somatically, I knew I needed to tune into my body and listen to what I needed and not just keep in reaction and stress mode.

I could see that I needed to be lovingly attuned to what I needed. So I began to take gentle loving breaths into my chest. Soft, warm, kind, and soothing breaths. My body didn't want to feel the pain, but I also didn't want to hold onto it either. My body and soul needed warmth and loving breath. It helped me move through sadness, crying, and the experience of feeling someone who has now vanished.

My grief wasn't over in a few minutes. But my breath through these months has soothed the tissues in my body, helped me be present for what I needed, and moved the stress out of the contracted parts.

When I am working with clients, I help them listen to their bodies. What is it telling them? What does it need? We don't need contraction and holding. We need attunement.

Sometimes people need to do Lions breath which is a breath to rid themselves of inner toxins and to get energy and fire moving in the belly, other times breath can adjust the frantic mind, or the agitated body.

There is a whole toolbox waiting for you. It's powerful and after 32 years of working with people, I know the breath is an important tool.


Cheers to Health and Happiness!



P.S. I've released a free tool in this link. It is the #1 Somatic Practice for Stress, Anxiety, Insomnia, and more. You can get it here by clicking on this LINK.

P.S.S. The Oxygen for Women Collective will be opening up this spring. Most of us therapists have waiting lists and I have created a collective where you can get all the cutting-edge tools, community, and support at a fraction of the cost. We need more than physical fitness, we need EQ and psychological resilience. Click here to get on the waitlist. 

Harnessing the Power Within: Exploring the Benefits of Breathwork


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