Women In Wellness: Brenda Winkle On The Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey Towards Better Wellbeing


Energy has no walls. If you have an area of your life that needs attention, tend to it because it will show up otherwise. This means if you have healing work to do in your relationships it will impact your business and vice versa.

As a part of my series about women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Brenda Winkle.

Brenda Winkle is an educator, healer, and guide who helps sensitive and successful men and women find, reclaim and live from their full embodied YES. Through empowering her clients to understand what’s theirs/what’s not, create the boundaried YES and guiding them to full capacity living — they are able to create their YES-Filled Lives and move through their days with more freedom, ease, and joy. Brenda is a trauma-informed breathwork facilitator and energy healer who spent 26 years in the choral music classroom before diving into this work full time and she’s offering access to a free 4 part video series, “Breathwork to Strengthen and Trust Intuition” which you can access here https://www.brendawinkle.com/breathe

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?

I’d love to! I’m an educator, healer and guide who supports high achievers and performers who have experienced a significant level of success through energy healing sessions including breathwork and in my live group coaching program “Yes Academy”.

I know what it’s like to be very well respected in your field, to be experiencing a great deal of success and to also be engaging in people-pleasing behaviors that feel like self-abandonment. I support successful people in claiming their personal sovereignty inside all of their professional and personal relationships. This leads to a significant increase in well-being, confidence and ultimately leads to more success. The best part is that the work I do with high performers leads them to happier and more fulfilled lives.

I came to this work when I was a mid-career music educator. I was well-respected and making a name for myself as one of the leading children’s choir directors but I felt like I was hustling for my worth: chasing achievement and recognition. I was becoming tired and resentful, I felt like I was always working, and I felt as though I’d abandoned a part of myself in the process.

I discovered energy healing in 2015 when a teacher I worked with offered me a free session. She and I became good friends and she literally changed my life. Eventually, I became a certified expert in several energy healing modalities over the years. I opened my business part time in 2015 while I was still teaching full time.

I was considering making a change from teaching when the pandemic hit. I loved what I was doing at school working with students, but I could see that the pandemic changed the family systems in a way that left kids and parents needing additional support.

School was the known structure that supported kids. We knew that. What we didn’t fully recognize was that it had also become the only support for millions of parents. When the predicability of school was gone, the lack of support for parents and families was laid bare. It was obvious that our society had hit a new crisis state.

I’d been teaching breath work in schools for more than 15 years by this time. I didn’t know it was called breath work and I hadn’t received any formal training other than in my yoga classes where I was a student… I just knew what felt good in my body and I could see that the students responded with increased mental clarity and performance and that there was a direct relationship between the student’s ability to calm themselves with breath and the reduction of behavior incidents.

In other words, breath work made it easier for kids to learn. I watched friendships improve, depressions lift, and performance increase. Students showed increased resilience after breathing and were able to retain information in more effective ways. Conflict resolution and stress management all became a part of what I was teaching, because it was the thing students (and their parents) most needed to know.

I became so passionate about nervous system regulation and learning about trauma recovery that I began self-study. That led from one thing to the next, and ultimately led to me leaving the classroom in August 2022 to become a certified trauma-informed breath work facilitator which is now the centerpiece of my work.

Now I work full time supporting sensitive and successful men and women guiding them to create their YES-Filled Lives and move through their days with more freedom, ease, and joy. I teach people to set better boundaries, how to absorb less emotion and energy from other people, and how to increase their capacity for a joy full and fulfilling life.

My brand and podcast “Your Yes Filled Life” are both built on the idea that we have to say no to the good to say yes to the great, and that we ALL have the right and capacity to live Into our own YES filled lives.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?

Many of the clients who are drawn to me are high achievers and very successful in their careers; doctors, lawyers, teachers etc. who also struggle internally with people-pleasing tendencies. Often, these people are sensitive as well.

For example, I recently worked with a very successful dermatologist who has a thriving practice and a healthy family life. But internally, she felt a tremendous amount of conflict with her mother which she believed was holding her back.

We worked on how to set the boundaried yes, where she could use boundaries as a way to create closeness with her mother but in a way that felt nourishing to my client. We worked to establish what’s hers/what’s not so that she could easily recognize when my client was experiencing emotional pressure that was coming from external places (as in, from her mother) , so that she could take back her energetic sovereignty without feeling guilty about saying no to her mother. Through breathwork we increased her capacity to experience joy so that she could tolerate feeling even better.

Since our work, the relationship with my client and her mother has significantly improved. My client reports an increase in overall wellbeing and a new clarity in decision making. The biggest change is that my client isn’t spending time thinking about her what her mom might be thinking or feeling, and that’s increased her bandwidth. She says that she has more time and room to think and make decisions. It’s carrying over into her work, she’s enjoying a steady stream of new patients along with improved relationships throughout the family. The more my client increased her capacity, the more she’s able to hold in her dermatology practice and the result is — more patients and more success.

The inner work we each do is the most significant predictor of future success. It’s never wasted effort.

It has been said that our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about a mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I work with people who are sensitive and successful because that’s how I identify. As someone who is sensitive, it led to people pleasing behavior in my own early life and adulthood. This showed up in my business when I was starting out.

I would turn myself into a pretzel to fit into other people’s schedules. I ended up working 7 days a week when I started out. If someone needed an appointment at a a particular time, I’d make it happen.

But then I realized two things: when I didn’t have a set schedule and tried to accommodate everyone, it communicated my time wasn’t important -which led to no shows and reschedules — and my energy wasn’t as potent when I didn’t honor when I feel best.

The moment I shifted this and began holding appointments at times that were truly aligned for me, my schedule began to fill up. My clients got better results when I held sessions with them during times when my energy was most potent. It became a win-win!

Let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?

Stress and anxiety are at all time highs. Most, if not all, of us have trauma stored in our bodies that impacts our decision making, our ability to show up for ourselves and our families and impacts our ability to create the changes we want to make in our lives. My work centers around healing this in the body using somatic healing. I’m trained as a trauma-informed breathwork facilitator and also have advanced and expert certifications in several other modalities of energy healing.

The bulk of my work is to help reduce stress and anxiety. It’s highly impactful and all backed by science. As an educator, I value the science and enjoy teaching about the science of energy healing.

Using my trauma-informed lens, I am able gently and carefully guide my clients into healing, Into energetic sovereignty where they are taking on less energy and emotions from others, and guiding them to their own YES-filled lives. This means I ask permission, we go only as fast as someone feels safe to go in healing, and that I’m very mindful about watching and listening to my client for cues we are approaching something in the body that is ready to heal. The healing and coaching I offer is absolutely rooted in energetics and can remove blocks that hold us back from becoming our best selves, but it’s also physical.

For example, hip pain may not have anything to do with the hip. It may be there is a traumatic memory stored there that if we can gently release, will ease the pain.

In another example, I was on site when a family friend in his 80’s tripped and fell over a rug in the locker room and his nose broke his fall. He had several medical complication such as being on blood thinners which made the bleeding from his nose dangerous. The energy work that I offered immediately stopped the bleeding, helped support healing and while the man broke his nose in two places he had only a small bruise on one cheek. To be clear, this type of energy healing is to be in compliment to traditional medial care and not to be used as a replacement for traditional medical care. But the impact is still stunning!

Everything I offer is through a trauma-informed lens which means not only do I have the awareness and training to recognize when trauma is present, but I have the knowledge and skill to avoid further traumatizing someone. I ask permission to help. I ask permission to use my intuition when healing. This is something that makes me unique in this field.

Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing?

  1. Drink more water. And go to the bathroom every time you have to go. Consider the difference between a grape and a raisin. When you soak a raisin in any liquid, it absorbs the liquid but a grape doesn’t. You are the same way, when you are dehydrated you absorb things around you like the emotions or energy of other people, moods and you don’t feel as good. The number one thing you can do to increase your well-being is to drink more water and that will cause you to use the bathroom more often. Usually, going to the bathroom more often is people’s objection to drinking more. But here’s the thing: the moment you give yourself permission to meet this basic physical need of using the bathroom is the moment you reclaim your sovereignty and power. Taking care of yourself in this way is one of the biggest power moves you can make in your life professionally and personally. You’ll feel and act differently in every area of your life.
  2. Start each day intentionally. You set the stage for the day in the first few moments of waking and your brain waves are ripe for setting intentions about what you want to create in your life or how you want to feel in your day. Be intentional about what you do and consume in the first 30 minutes of waking. This is an opportune time to meditate or journal. I have a free meditation available on my website that only takes 5 minutes under “free resources” if you are looking for a meditation to start with. Let’s consider two scenarios. In the first, you wake up and grab your phone. You begin to scroll and your stress level immediately begins to rise when you catch a glimpse of the news and realize you “need” to respond to a friend on social. That sets your day up a certain way. Now imagine this scenario where you create 5 mindful minutes of gratitude as soon as you wake up. You don’t even have to move, just begin to list all the things you feel grateful for in your mind. Then you grab your journal, set an intention for how you want to feel that day and list the things you’re feeling grateful for. You’ll feel grounded, centered and resourced. Create positive input BEFORE you consume anything and it will change your life.
  3. Breathe. Set timers on your phone reminding you to breathe deeply a few times a day. Your breath has tremendous power to regulate your thoughts and your nervous system. As we get stressed, we begin to breathe more shallowly which compounds stress and leads to anxiety. Deepen the breath for even a few breaths and you’ll experience tremendous relief. I set one mid morning, one at lunch, and one late afternoon for myself and it really supports me. No matter what my day is like — good or bad — I always appreciate a reminder to take a deep breath. If you day isn’t going great, taking some breaths is a fantastic way to reset the day. In fact, try it now. Inhale deeply and exhale completely. Do one more. How does that feel? My bet is… it feels great! Be sure to check out my free four part video series designed for busy professionals linked at the top of this article, “Breathwork to Strengthen and Trust Intuition”
  4. Prioritize fun. Having more fun is one of the most impactful and important things you can do for your health. Fun is where you’ll get new ideas, remember what’s important to you, and reduces stress. Find something every day to do for fun, even if it’s just for 5–15 minutes. It doesn’t have to be complicated. What do you enjoy? Have fun just for the sake of having fun without any other goal or agenda. So for example, if you love gardening create the goal around the time you want to spend gardening rather than the outcome. That might look like spending 15 minutes a day puttering instead of working on a big project — the big project might feel overwhelming and may dilute the fun. Another example might be playing with your pet. Instead of creating a big outing to the pet store that’s going to take an hour, set a timer and put everything to the side except for the toys and your dog. Just play without there being an agenda or goal. You’ll feel so much better! What’s something you can do today to have a little fun? Call a friend? Have a beverage on the patio? Play basketball in the driveway? Get out the sidewalk chalk and jump hopscotch with the neighbor kids? Blow bubbles? Get creative and let yourself play. It positively impacts every area of your life.
  5. Take breaks. When you are tired, rest. When you feel overwhelmed, take a walk. Feel stressed, call a friend. Sometimes we double down when we feel stressed or anxious trying to do more of the same thing that made us stressed or anxious. It can be counter intuitive to think that if you take a break you’ll be more productive but it’s always true. When you notice you are beginning to feel stressed, try to shift out of that energy with a break. Take a walk around your building, tidy up the room if you work from home, or walk out to get the mail. Incorporating movement into your break can be really supportive in shifting the energy.

If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?

I would add breathwork to every workplace, organization and school. There is no barrier of entry. It’s free, we all breathe. When we learn to harness the power of our own breath, we unleash the parts of ourselves that have been holding back and playing small. We begin to feel better in our bodies and relationships. Our stress improves and anxiety eases. Breathwork will — and is already doing it — change the world. I’m creating this movement now by offering breathwork workshops for organizations, communities, schools and corporations.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

I love this question. I teach a lot about boundaries and most of what I wish someone had told me when I started relates to boundaries. Boundaries are what allow us to be in rich relationships with other people. The healthier and clearer our boundaries, the better our relationships become: including the relationships we have with loved ones, partners, career and more.

Follow your intuition. You are always your highest authority and you are the one who will ultimately be living with the decisions you make. Learn to tune into your inner knowing before asking for the opinions of others.

Ask for help when you need it. Find a coach or mentor who has done what you want to do. It’s not an investment in your business, it’s an investment in yourself. You don’t have to go it alone but take advice from someone who has done what you want to do, not from someone on the sidelines.

Balance is key. Schedule in time to rest and play, then watch your productivity increase. All work and no play leads to burnout.

Don’t try to get your personal needs met through your business. Having a rich personal life is one of the most impactful things you can do for your business. Make time for friends and family. If your needs aren’t being met in your personal life you’ll create some distorted relationships in your business.

Energy has no walls. If you have an area of your life that needs attention, tend to it because it will show up otherwise. This means if you have healing work to do in your relationships it will impact your business and vice versa.

Sustainability, veganism, mental health, and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?

I feel like these are all important. If I have to choose one I’d choose sustainability because we can apply this to our mental health and our environment as well. Sustainability in mental health means taking care of ourselves along the way with sustainable practices — things we can easily implement and live with like breathwork, taking breaks, creating balance and fun in our lives, etc. Sustainability in the environment is much the same and can look at how we can sustain the planet. Asking ourselves how we can be more efficient with our resources and be better stewards of our resources is always rewarding. That means resources like time and energy as well protecting the oceans. How can we implement practices that help us last as individuals, as community and as a planet? To me that’s an important question no matter the context.

What is the best way for our readers to further follow your work online?

My website is my digital home and you can find me there at brendawinkle.com. I’m active on Instagram @brendawinkle and I am the host and creator of Your Yes Filled Life Podcast, I invite you to come have a listen. I have a special gift for your readers. Come have a look at the Free Resources guide under the “work with me” tab on my website and choose any or all of the goodies there. You can choose from meditations, guides and more! Thank you so much for interviewing me today.

Thank you for these fantastic insights! We wish you continued success and good health.