Breathe in, chill out

I got lost in downtown Boston a few years ago when rushing to my MBA admissions interview at Suffolk University. Actually, my GPS took me to a Tremont Street that was in Quincy or somewhere near to the city, and by the time I found the parking garage across for the Suffolk Law School where my interview was, I was 15 minutes late. I’m never late, and it drives me crazy. Naturally, I had called and explained the situation, but I was still very stressed out. I parked my car in an overcrowded garage and asked the attendant for directions to the building. Sensing my acute stress, he looked at me and said, “Just breathe, lady, everything’s going to be OK.”

That was good advice. Breathing is a great way to reduce stress. Deep breaths in and slow breaths out send a message to the brain to just calm down and relax. Having attended dozens of yoga classes over the years, I was keenly aware of what a few minutes of concentrated breathing could do for me. Kirsten Beverly-Waters, featured in this issue on page 34, became aware of how important breathing was to her when she was diagnosed with cancer in her late twenties. Beverly-Water used her breath, yoga and humor to deal with her stress, and now she teaches others. You can meet Beverly-Water at the Maine YogaFest this July 9 when she shares her story. In this issue of Maine Women Magazine, we are proud, as a sponsor, to be featuring content on this year’s Maine YogaFest. You will find our YogaFest package starting on page 28. You can also find the complete schedule and all of the other information online at

Gardening is another way that unwinds and relaxes many of us. I spent a half-day this past weekend digging in the dirt and cleaning out several of my gardens. It’s quiet, methodical work that I find relaxing and rewarding. It’s easy to see what I’ve accomplished and enjoy the immediate gratification of having the early gardens come to life. If you are new to gardening, or have just a small space to work with, check out our feature on container gardening on page 26.

While many of us can relate to a quiet walk through the woods or along the beautiful Maine coastline as an experience that helps us to unwind and chill out, some of us might have a hard-time relating to hopping on a motorcycle and racing ridiculously fast to help unwind. I am not someone who has this “need for speed,” but I am married to someone who does, so I understand how Kerry Smith can find her peace at the racetrack. While she has to work hard to be ready to race, once she is on the bike, it is truly her “happy place.” My husband also describes this to me as a way that he can clear his mind and have focus. Smith’s racing is a family affair, and she believes she was destined to race from a very young age. Her father raced and owned a motorcycle shop, and racing motorcycles was very natural to her. Read more about her on page 10.

Whether it’s knitting, bird-watching or meditating, we all need to relax, unwind and chill out. We know this—but do we stop to think about it often enough? Read why we need this from an expert on page 22. After you get through this issue of Maine Women Magazine, I bet you will feel really great and very relaxed. Stay updated online, and look for us at Maine YogaFest on July 7–9 on the East End in Portland.

Lee Hews

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