Keep Feeling and Keep Breathing

red cardboard robot holding a ripped paper heart with quote from article

A few months ago, I resumed a yoga practice that I’m just now starting to enjoy. Yoga is hard, yet it is also life affirming and growth producing. Some days I really hate it and some days it feels like the most radically positive step of my life. What’s interesting about yoga is that if you keep doing it you realize that you suck at it and, at the same time, you are better at it. To me, that seems like a brilliant metaphor for life.

Recently, I took a class that was led by a woman who is about the age of my oldest child; twenty-four. As I often do, I assumed that she might be good at yoga, but she was unlikely to have any wisdom for wise old me. As usual, I was wrong. This young yogi yelled out, “Keep feeling and keep breathing” during a few rather treacherous poses. Honestly, the last thing that I feel like doing in those moments is breathing or to feeling. I’d rather just hold my breath and lay down on the mat.

The Wisdom of Hard Emotions

There are so many times in life that I feel the exact same way. I just want to hold my breath and have a challenging time end or a painful feeling go away. I’m really good at denying my feelings and covering them up with a wide range of vices. Yet when I actually take a deep breath and allow feelings to come into my mind and body, I actually find that I can survive and like yoga, grow.

Why is it that so many of us have been led to believe that feelings are a bad thing? Why is sadness bad? Why are feelings like fear, anger, or shame so awful that we must avoid them at all cost? Why do we want to deny our children those same feelings? Holding a yoga pose hurts a little bit. Sometimes even more than a little bit. But once we are done, we feel better, stronger and ready to face another challenge. Why don’t we look at emotional feelings in the same way?

How can we get stronger if we don’t feel our feelings? How can we grow if we don’t experience the range of emotions that life has to offer us? And why are we only willing to feel the good stuff and not challenge ourselves with the growth that comes from harder emotions? I’m not sure that I have all the answers, but I do know that when I keep feeling and keep breathing, life is so much better.

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Lisa Kaplin Psy. D. CPC

Lisa Kaplin Psy. D. PCC

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About Lisa Kaplin, Psy. D, PCC

headshot of Lisa KaplinCertified Life Coach and Psychologist at Smart Women Inspired Lives.

I’m the proud owner of Smart Women Inspired Lives, where I help overwhelmed and exhausted women move from the feeling of being “stuck” into a life filled with calm, confidence, and joy. In addition to the posts and articles I write, I offer individual and group life coaching sessions, classes and speaking engagement opportunities.


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Comments to “Keep Feeling and Keep Breathing”

  1. Oops, it’s Raphael Cushnir, not Rafael Cushnir.


  2. Yes! This is something I feel strongly about, especially with so many telling us we can just choose how we feel in the blink of an eye. Not true! A couple of books that help with this are “The One Thing Holding You Back” by Rafael Cushnir and “The True You” by Erica Rock (


    • Thanks for the recommendations! I’ll add them to my list.


      • You’re welcome! 🙂