You’re Probably Forgetting to Breathe

You're Probably Forgetting to BreatheThere is no pretending our world is going to slow down anytime soon. But you can…anytime you want, anywhere you are, with a simple tool you were born with: your breath. Sounds pretty easy right? If we are honest, though, you many of us have thought about our breath today? Because it’s so innate to daily living, it doesn’t require extra thought. But there is value in pausing to take note of this elemental pillar of our health. Lots of people breathe only using the top one-third of their lungs without even realizing it. Those shallow breaths don’t give the body the oxygen it needs to thrive. But deep breaths reset the body physically, taking a person out of the stressful patterns it’s so easy to get locked into.

Now for the really good news: You can start breathing better right now. All that’s required of you is more conscious inhale, then exhale. Then repeat. Need to find a little more breath. Try yoga or even health and wellness coaching to find less stress and more breath. We offer both at The Hammock LLC.

Why Is Breathing Good for You?

Why Is Breathing Good for You?We all breathe RIGHT? Yes, but are we taking the full benefits of breath.  Every system in the body relies on oxygen. From cognition to digestion, effective breathing can also provide a sense of mental clarity, can help you sleep better, digest food more efficiently, improve the immune system, and reduce stress. Are you breathing properly?

Here are some tricks to know:

Lie down and put an object on your belly. When you breathe, is the object moving up and down? If it is, great! You are using your diaphragm for every breath. The diaphragm is what pushes the belly in and out…that is why deep breathing is sometimes called belly breath.

Practice Breathing Deeply:  Keep the object on your belly, as you inhale, push it up toward the ceiling. Inhale for two seconds, hold your breath for one second, then exhale for two seconds. When you exhale imagine you are blowing out birthday candles—like you are trying to get every last bit of air out of your lungs. When you can easily do the two-second inhale and exhale, increase to three seconds.

Build lung strength: If interested in increasing your lung capacity, find a straw, and try this…it is called straw breath. Start by taking a normal inhale, then place the straw at your lips and exhale so the air goes through the straw. When you are almost down with the exhale, move the straw away from your mouth, close your lips and blow the rest of the air through your nose. Take two inhales and exhales without the straw, then repeat.

Self-Care Tips That Can Enhance Your Well-Being: (the state of being comfortable, healthy or happy)

  • Self-Care Tips That Can Enhance Your Well-BeingCreate “mindful reminders” by choosing something that happens randomly during your day such as getting a text, stopping at a red light, noticing a flowering tree, finding a red car, and others. Use it as a signal to pause and take a few breaths.
  • Do more of what you love. When you get busy and stressed (which seems to be a lot at times) resist the tendency to skip the things that feel your soul. Instead, double down on what you love-whether it is hiking, reading, coloring, dancing, or spending time with people who make you laugh.
  • Oil your feet before bed. Try a warm bottle of sunflower or coconut oil in a bowl of hot water, use about a tablespoon to coat your feet and ankles and massage each foot for a few minutes. You could even rub your special friend or person’s feet while they rub yours. This is very relaxing and could promote a good night sleep.
  • Give yourself a good shot of nature throughout the day. Get outside for a few minutes in the morning, afternoon, and evening. During your time outside bring in your sensory awareness such as the sounds, the feeling of the breeze, and the colors around you.
  • Savor the good. Each day or night ask yourself “What was a great moment today?” This will help you change your thinking toward positive thoughts and emotions.

Using the Breath to Calm the Nervous System

Calm the Nervous SystemIt is interesting to know that our breath is important for healing the effects of trauma. Remember our breath is a constant companion for us throughout our day.

The time we spend on the yoga mat or the meditation cushion provides us with the practice that allows us to bring our attention to our breath in stressful moments. Examples of this can be everything from driving in the car, flying, giving a presentation, going to or being at work, and even our experiences with the latest pandemic.

Make it a practice to simply pause and take a deep breath.

Make it a habit to slow down the pace of your breath whenever you can.

Think of it as an instantaneous attitude adjustment.

Peppermint Essential Oil from Young Living

Peppermint Essential OilI love this oil because it helps me in so many ways. Keep in mind these are ways that Peppermint Essential Oil from Young Living has helped me. I am not saying that it will cure these issues – only how it has helped me with these issues.  I am not a doctor. That being said I use Peppermint for the following:

  • To help me focus or wake up
  • To clear up my sinuses from a cold or allergies
  • To calm my upset stomach
  • To help with bowel movements
  • To help with heartburn
  • To cool off on a hot summer day

I tend to keep a bottle at the office so I can open it and simply let it sit on my desk – open – for 5 minutes. This helps to clear up any sinus issues I may be having. I also like to do this in the afternoon when I hit that afternoon slump. Smelling Peppermint helps to wake me up and focus my thoughts back on my work. I’ll rub a drop or two of Peppermint Essential Oil from Young Living on my stomach when I am not feeling well or I am having digestive issues. I heard recently that someone puts one or two drops in their toilet before sitting down when they need to have a bowel movement.

I have also put one or two drops of Peppermint Essential Oil from Young Living under my tongue to help with heartburn. In the summer it is nice to have a spray bottle with some of the peppermint oil and water combined to help me cool off in the heat. If you try this be sure you do not spray this on your face or in your eyes. Lastly, Peppermint oil is one of the 3 oils I use from Young Living as support for my sinus allergies. I combine the Peppermint with Lavender and Lemon in a capsule with the Young Living V6 carrier oil.

If you are interested in learning more about any of the information in these blogs please feel free to contact me through The Hammock LLC.

Well, that is it for now. We will chat again later.


Help Anxious Children

Help Anxious ChildrenAnxious people tend to be hyper-aware of their surroundings. They are always on the lookout for possible threats or risks in new situations.  Plan ahead.

  • Talk to your children about upcoming situations.
  • Teach your child to shake hands to say hello instead of a hug.
  • Practice deep breathing techniques for when your child is overwhelmed.
  • Eliminate the unexpected.
  • Tell your child ahead of time what to expect.
  • Create a secret signal. This is a way you and your child can let each other know when they need help without alerting others.
  • Schedule special family time.  Try to find time for your family to sit down together to play games, watch a video, or engage in other fun and relaxing activities.

How to Overcome Your Fears of Traveling

Overcome Your Fear of TravelingPeople with agoraphobia may find things such as overcrowded airports and train stations overwhelming. Many anticipate their trips with dread. Those with generalized anxiety may find a bunch of new things to worry about during travel. This can interfere with your life. It is important to remember that avoidance will not help you overcome anxiety. Instead of dreading travel try practicing your fears head-on. Taking one step at a time and have some support.

Plan and confirm all details: to decrease your stress, try to book flights that leave early in the day when the airport is less crowded.  Allow plenty of time to organize your belongings, your IDs for security checkpoints, and check to make sure that you have your medication.

Start thinking ahead. Make a list of activities that you would like to engage in during your travel. Plan stress-reducing techniques. Such as slow, deep breathing, meditation, and progressive relaxation.

Put your strategies to reduce anxiety to work.  Connect with staff on the plane, request seating by the aisle or window whichever you feel most comfortable.


What are Chakras in Plain English?

The chakras are seven energy centers in your body that affect your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being. When you begin to work on your chakras, your energy begins to flow upwards. Many people’s chakras are not balanced. They are often blocked, overactive or inactive, resulting in confusion, depression, imbalances, and low energy.

How to balance your chakras is a good question.  Through movement, breathing, and sounds help to move the energy in the body into the right directions which can help you to be more positive, have peace, clarity, energy, and balance within your life.

Here are some yoga poses to help you balance your chakras:


Yoga Essence


Breathing is typically done through the nose. Deep belly breathing is the key success in health and wellness. The breath is our most powerful tool to calm and relax the body and clean the mind.  It helps to get deeper into poses. It is important to focus on maintaining long and smooth breaths throughout our yoga practice.


Yoga EssenceWe want to feel something in every pose. Remember to check in with your body and modify or change poses to feel more or less sensation. When we take the time to feel something within each pose, we are more grounded in the moment and aware of subtle changes and our potential.

Listening to the Body

As we practice poses and breathing, check in to see what feels tight, comfortable, loose, how is the breathing, how is our body alignment, how is the mind?

Letting Go of Competition

When practicing yoga, no one has the same body as you. You are special in your own way. No one can have the exact same pose. It is not a competition…it is about what you need.

Letting Go of Judgment

Judgment and fear have a tendency to hold you back from living a rich and meaningful life. Your yoga practice is about you. No one is perfect and we are all unique in our way. Embrace who you are and what you are capable of.

Letting Go of Expectations

In yoga we turn our attention inward, encourage yourself to let go of external comparisons, and judgments that are impacting you from have a deeper experience in your practice. Being here and in the present – today – and not letting the past experience limit you. Yoga is a process and a journey, not a destination.

Staying “In the Present Moment”

It means stopping to notice the beauty and love around us and within us. It means being fully present in each moment because it is only the present moment that exists. So many of us worry about the future, hold regrets about the past, and completely ignore the present.

Free Family Yoga Classes in Lowell this Fall!

Thank you to Maryalene LaPonsie of Lowell’s First Look for the wonderful write-up about our FREE YOGA CLASSES this fall!  

An excerpt from the article:

Family Yoga at Libaray 1…From September 7 to November 30, the library will be hosting family yoga classes from 11-11:30 am each Saturday. The classes are free and will be led by Sarah Ryder, an occupational therapist, registered yoga teacher and owner of The Hammock.

Classes Part of Energize Lowell Initiative

Stephanie Weaver, a branch librarian, explains the family yoga classes are part of a larger initiative that seeks to promote community wellness. Known as Energize Lowell, the initiative will eventually encompass nutrition classes offered by the YMCA, activities on trails at the Wittenbach Wege Center and perhaps other events.

There has been some evidence linking movement to improved literacy which is one reason the library was keen to offer family yoga classes. It is also an activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities.

Family yoga was offered over the summer, and each session contained a unique mix of activities depending on who was in attendance. One week a 3-year old was in the crowd and another week, it was all adults. “It’s very easy for me to modify and change things,” Ryder says. Chairs are also available for those who want to participate but are unable to stand throughout the class.

The library has invested in mats and blocks so families don’t need to bring any equipment to the sessions.

“Americanized Yoga” Comes With Multiple Benefits

Ryder knows some people are wary of yoga because of its spiritual roots. However, these classes are what she terms Americanized yoga. “It’s movement. It’s breathing,” she says. “We’re not sitting and chanting.”…

The article concludes…

Family Yoga at Libaray 2In addition to family yoga, Weaver says the library is interested in offering a yoga program specifically for seniors. Stay tuned for more information on that.

In the meantime, Lowell residents are invited to a free yoga class on Saturday, September 14, that will take place at the Grand River Riverfront Park bridge. Ryder says she will meet participants at the bridge at 9 am and conduct an hour-long yoga session that will take advantage of the beautiful views along the Grand River. If the weather is inclement, the session will be moved to an indoor location.

For more information on yoga at the bridge, visit The Hammock on Facebook. And to learn more about happenings at the library, follow the Kent District Library – Englehardt/Lowell branch.