"We Need To Exhale In Order To Inhale"
I first heard that line during my Yin teacher training, and I was blown away. It was one of those moments where something so simple felt so profound. It was exactly what my anxious body needed to hear in that moment.
We were asked to do a breathing exercise of sighing. No rules, just walking around the room, sighing as loudly or softly as we needed, as heavily or lightly as our bodies required, swinging our arms wildly if the sigh asked for it. Being on the slightly introverted side, any form of outward display of sound gets to me. Why would I willingly sigh out loud? One sigh sounded good enough. I did not need to spend 10 minutes doing that. But since this was a training I paid for, and I wanted desperately to learn, I kept an open mind. I let go of my insecurities, closed my eyes and started sighing. There was no way I was going to make eye contact with anyone.
My sighs started out as soft, mellow exhales. The people around me were having a ball of a time. Their sighs were so loud it drowned out any audible sound I made with my mouth. So I got a little more confident, and allowed myself to get bolder. I started feeling better almost immediately; my body started taking over, I allowed my arms to move a little, slight swings at first, then bigger ones. Eventually, whole body movements. I had so much to sigh out. I felt like I had a whole life’s worth of tension to sigh out. And with each sigh, I began to feel lighter and lighter, literally ready to float off into a fancy little dance. And I am not one to dance willingly. Every time someone suggests a dance, I feel my feet dig grooves into the ground, little roots sprouting out tightening its grip on me. But in that moment, I could have jumped and yelled and done almost anything you dared my old shy self to. I was on a cloud. Just then the timer went off and we were called to sit back down. For the first time since I can remember, I struggled with that (and I am a good sitter). Instead, I wanted to move, I wanted to be called upon to read, to share how magical that felt. But we were asked to just silently reflect on how that made us feel.
We need to exhale in order to inhale. It only hit me then. I had been holding so much tension in my body, built up from years and years of stress and anxiety, that it had started seeping into my very being, my personality. I had become my tension. I had allowed my tension to weigh in on me. We need to exhale in order to inhale. How simple but profound. We need to let go of the old to bring in the new.
About the Author
Stefanie is a is a yoga teacher, writer and brand consultant. In her yoga practice, she gravitates to classes that leave room for self-discovery, exploration and playfulness. Her favourite class types to teach tend to veer on the extreme ends of sweaty, flowy vinyasa-style classes as well as slow, gentle and passive yin classes. Her other interests have always been in writing – a habit that has rolled over from her 9 years in the public relations industry. She now writes as a means to voice out her own inner dialogue, as well as those of brands she’s passionate about. IG: @steffie_jane