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.

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.

Peace & Calming Essential Oil

Peace and CalmingThis oil helps to calm me down when I am feeling anxious. I have also used it to help me relax and sleep at night. It only takes a few minutes of smelling this oil before I feel myself relaxing and calming down.

Others have used Peace & Calming in their children’s diffusers to help them calm down and get a good night’s sleep. Peace & Calming has been used to help calm children and pets during storms. People have used this oil on their child’s tummy or feet when they are having a tantrum.

It can also be used to help improve the look of your skin. Peace & Calming can be used as part of your massage or to diffuse while doing Yoga. I have also used this as part of my perfume since it smells so good and gives me a feeling of peace and calming. I love using oils for my perfume because then I not only smell nice but the oils are doing something good for me. My favorite perfume blend so far is Joy, Stress Away, and Peace & Calming.

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.


March Spotlight – Karen Walker


Karen WalkerHi, I am Karen Walker. I have been attending Sarah’s yoga class for over 5 years. I thought that yoga was twisting your body into a pretzel so I would not be a good candidate. Sarah convinced me that my perception was completely wrong and to try it. Or as Sarah would say “No worries”.  Within a few months, I noticed improvement in my balance, strength, and flexibility.

My husband Terry and I have two adult children and three grandchildren. My leisure activities are physical as well as social and involve our family and friends. I enjoy cross country skiing, snowshoeing, crew (or rowing) in an 8 person boat, kayaking, hiking, and backpacking. I am a recently retired Occupational Therapist having been employed for 31 years as program director and faculty at Grand Rapids Community College Occupational Therapy Assistant program. I volunteer at Family Promise, Ability Weavers, Wittenbach Wege Nature Center, and Ada Congregational Church. Family Promise is an interfaith hospitality network that provides emergency shelter and solutions for families facing a housing crisis. Ability Weaver is a store in Lowell that sells woven products made by weavers with special needs. Wittenbach Wege Nature Center of Lowell schools provides hands-on nature programs. I participate in the classes for 3-6-year-olds called Tiny Trekkers.

As I age balance, strength, and flexibility are important for my health. I appreciate Sarah’s attention and response to our needs as she leads our yoga classes.

Certified Therapy Dog Visits the Hammock Yoga Studio

It is an honor to have a certified therapy dog come join us for restorative yoga. Sam is Kathy Walsh‘s certified therapy dog who works for programs in hospitals and libraries. It is extremely relaxing to have the therapy Sammy around during the yoga class. He is a gentle, and loving therapy dog!

What is a therapy dog: Unlike a service dog, a therapy dog is a pet trained to interact with many people other than its handler to make those people feel comfortable, relaxed, focused, and decrease anxieties. Therapy dogs are only allowed into places like hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and libraries by prior authorization.

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:


How to Experience Yoga in a Welcoming Environment

How to Experience Yoga in a Welcoming EnvironmentYoga students typically seek out a quiet, tranquil, and breath-focused environment with minimal distraction. Here is some etiquette that can help maintain calm:

  1. Arrive early…it helps you to get in the right mindset, and it won’t interrupt others.
  2. Plan to stay for the whole class. It is very disruptive when someone gathers their belongings and opens doors to leave.
  3. Leave your shoes at the door or on the trays. This shows a sign of respect and doesn’t get the floors wet during inclement weather.
  4. Leave your cellphone outside the room. That way you won’t disturb the other students and it won’t distract you from being present.
  5. Bring water, towel, and if possible, your own mat.  Drink your water at the end, as through the yoga practice your body builds a digestive fire, necessary to break down food. You want to keep that fire going during the yoga class. A towel can be used to wipe sweat or to use as a prop. Bringing your own mat is great for hygienic reasons and can connect with your personal mat.
  6. Avoid perfume or scented lotion. This could be distracting or disturbing to the other students. Essential oils are fine if used in moderation.
  7. Wear appropriate clothing. Wear something that is comfortable, stretchy and breathable. Modesty is traditionally a part of yoga practice.
  8. Let the teacher know about any physical issues and preferences. Before class is a good time to touch base with the teacher on any issues that may impact your time there. Let the teacher know if you are uncomfortable with hands-on assistance.
  9. Clean up after class. Wipe the mats down and put the props away where they belong.
  10. Be compassionate and don’t judge others. Reactions are not necessary for passing gas or making other noises. Focus on yourself, and be ok with yourself and your practice. Enjoying just being you.


Zen Roll-On

  • Zen Roll-OnOrganic Fractionated Coconut Oil (Amazon)
  • Glass Roller Bottle (Amazon or repurpose one of your empty bottles)
  • Essential Oils of your choice: Ylang Ylang, Lavender, Frankincense, Geranium

Keep this roll-on in your yoga or gym bag and roll-on the wrists, temples and/or back of the neck.

Yoga Mat Spray Recipe

  • Glass Spray Bottle
  • Yoga Mat Spray RecipeChoose Your Favorite Essential Oils such as Tea Tree, Purification, Citrus Fresh, Lavender, and Lemon
  • 4 oz Water
  • Mix in a spray bottle and add 6-8 drops of your favorite Essential Oils

Use this spray on your mat as an aromatic boost before class or to clean your mat after your practice.