I remember one of my earlier professors’ lectures about how many humans never experience full vigour and aliveness – she loved the word ‘rigour’ – from intense physical activity and exercise as a result of chronic illness or her field of study, metabolic syndrome. She stressed (to us young budding exercise physiologists) that when and if we can help someone move towards more physical intensity, to do it. The more movement and positive stress on the cardio, muscular, and respiratory systems, the better.

For me, being someone who grew up active and exercising; skiing, hiking, figure skating, it never dawned on me until I got into this somatic trauma work that someone would, and could, go into a panic and fear when they raised their heart and breath rate so they could be vigorous with their body.

New learning comes in many forms. Sometimes it is because we experience it ourselves, and other times it is because we listen, learn, and put together the pieces to make sense of something that is not our personal reality.

Today’s vlog is two-fold: It’s about how one might experience panic, anxiety, intense fear and terror when they increase their heart and breath rate via more intense physical activity, but also how joy and excitement can do the same.

I’ll let the vlog do the talking. Enjoy!

Irene's Musings

I wanted to end today’s email with some wise words from a mentor and colleague of mine, Kathy Kain:


While this might seem overly simplistic, this concept of working with the stress physiology to make MASSIVE change, I assure you, it is not. What might be described as a ‘seismic shift’, takes place when we get to, and work with, this basic root level. 

So when I see a student shift ALL aspects of their life for the positive: their physical illnesses, mental turmoil, emotional stability, and toxic relationships, via working at the level of the stress physiology, I know in my guts and brains this statement from Kathy to be true. 

I also believe that individually working at this level has the power to make a similar seismic shift in the collective, because after all We Are the cells of humanity and its goodness (or lack thereof). 

The more we individually do to change our behaviour VIA healing our nervous system (that survival physiology), the more we change the nervous system of the collective, which in turns shifts the behaviour of humanity. 

Simple. Not so simple. But still, simple. 🙂

Resources I Share In The Vlog:

VIDEO: Is exercise important when healing trauma? 

VIDEO: Understanding The Immobility Survival Response

Extra video clips for this vlog:

VIDEO: People walking past camera

VIDEO: Stair workout