Take a Sacred Pause With Spruce

Take a Sacred Pause With Spruce

It’s crazy to think that we’re experiencing another change of season and the pandemic is still going on. For many of us, this time has forced us to press pause.

But what can seem like a time of blockage, stuckness, and stagnation can transform into reflection, insight, and clarity.

It’s all in how you approach the moment.

One of the wonderful blessings of aromas is that they bring us into the present moment and gently encourage us to take a deeper breath.

With some oils, they may also aid in our respiratory processes making them a super bonus for the lungs.

You might have already guessed it but, super bonus for your lungs = super bonus for your life!

A beautiful coincidence (or symbology, depending on how you look at it) is that the conifer, woody oils like Pine, Spruce, and Fir are all considered expectorants. 🌲🌲🌲 

This means they can help clear the lungs making it easier to breathe. It’s also why you’ll find them often in blends for coughs and colds.

Trees are analogous to our lungs, only they take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen. They are like our breathing buddies. When turned upside down, the branches of our lungs look like trees.

So in a time that we could all use a moment to take a deep breath, I invite you to join me in turning to Spruce essential oil for this aromatic meditation.


I’d love to hear what you find as you take a sacred pause to breathe deep and reflect on how the coniferous aroma of Spruce refreshes your mind and grounds you in the here and now.


Leave me a comment below and let me know what you found.


Want more Aromatic Meditations?

You can find our full collection in the Inner Sanctum Library coming in January 2021.

Join now and also get a spot in the Healing with Aromatherapy Course starting in February.

We’re on Hiatus and Here’s Why

We’re on Hiatus and Here’s Why

The last time you heard from us, we were talking about how white silence creates violence, and that black lives matter in aromatherapy.

(We still stand by all of this 100% and hope that this is only the beginning of a long overdue conversation.)

But in a twist of irony, we made a big statement about how we won’t be silent and well—we’ve been silent ever since. 

To put it colloquially, we posted and ghosted. 

We didn’t mean to. 

Shortly after posting our statement, my father, Sylla’s husband, O.V. Hanger, passed away unexpectedly on June 8th, 2020. Read more about the amazing man we’ve lost and want to remember 

In shock and devastation, we haven’t been able to do anything but be silent since. 

Now that we’ve had a few weeks to recalibrate, we have clarity on what to continue and what to let go of, temporarily or totally.  

Moving through the rest of this year, you won’t be hearing from us as much as we integrate this new reality into our lives.

We’ve paused the Inner Sanctum Membership for now, but we do plan to reopen it again, most likely in early 2021. Please join our email list if you want to know when doors to the membership will open back up again.

We also paused our Course Immersion, but we will restart it in August. If you’d like to join us for a Fall Immersion in the Aromatherapy Practitioner Course, this will be your last chance to study with us this year.

Registration is open, but only for a few students, as we only have a few of the essential oil kits that come with the course made right now. We can’t make any more at this time.

We’ll announce everything on our email list first. Subscribe here, and you’ll be the first to know about any updates.

I’ll be providing more updates in the next few days and weeks but wanted to write this first so you all know what’s going on with us.

We’ve received amazing support from our aromatherapy community during this time of deep grief and sadness. Thank you to everyone who has sent messages, packages, cards, and support via our meal train.

If you haven’t heard from us personally, you will. We’re taking our time to connect with everyone, as we need support throughout the coming months.

We’re trying to see each day as a new oppurtunity for growth and healing. I’m hoping that through my healing process, I’ll come out ready and able to help more of you as we all navigate the tough waters of this human experience.

Black Lives Matter in Aromatherapy

Black Lives Matter in Aromatherapy

Ever since I was a little girl, I watched my mom stand up for what she believed was right.

When she started learning that essential oils were hurting people through overuse orally and improper use on the skin (in the 1990’s … and yes, this is still happening), she started talking about it and never stopped.

She became one of the earliest and most outspoken advocates for essential oil safety, sometimes even fearing repercussions from people who wanted that information suppressed so they could continue to sell more oils. 

When 9/11 happened, she saw the effect that this disaster had on the lungs and psyches of those affected. Knowing that essential oils could help, she called all her friends for donations and started to work with an Emergency Response team in New York.

This began the United Aromatherapy Effort, Inc. a non-profit organization dedicated to collecting and disseminating aromatherapy products in times of great disaster, which still continues its work to this day. 

In both instances, she saw people in her human family that were hurting unnecessarily. 

She would not let herself stand by and watch. 

She did something about it. 

So hopefully my next point won’t come as a surprise. 

* * *

Aromatherapy is an incredibly white industry. 

I’m hard pressed to think of colleagues who are not white. There are a few, but they’re sprinkled within a sea of whiteness.

There are probably many reasons for that, not the least of which is financial accessibility, but the result is the same: our collective identity as aromatherapists is one predominated by white people. 

We’ve learned time and time again that this can cause a host of injustices and discriminations that may very well go unnoticed except by those to whom the injustice is being done. 

If white people don’t start listening, we’ll never know the harm we are almost certainly creating. I have to hope that most often it is unintentional

But still again the result is the same: people are being hurt, and they don’t have to. 

Starting to listen to what our non-white friends and family are experiencing is a good start, but not enough.

Those of us with white skin need to realize that we have a power and a privilege that we can choose to use with greater awareness. 

So not only do we have to start listening, we have to start speaking out. 

We have to start speaking to each other. 

Knowing that this audience is mostly white people, I need you all to know that I can not be silent on this issue. 

(Please do not comment with #alllivesmatter. That’s not the point. That is actually, again probably unintentionally, contributing to the issue that I am taking a stand against. If that’s confusing, please read here.)

Moving forward, I’m holding aromatherapy to the standards of justice and equity that we need to hold to every aspect of our lives, so this world can become a safe place for all our brothers and sisters.

This means we’ve got to do the work here in our community, too. 

I want to be transparent in how I’m addressing this issue in our school and our industry. 

These are the actions I’m taking:

  • I’m actively engaging in self-critique to further investigate my own cultural biases so that I continue to eliminate them as best as I can. 
  • I’m engaging my students in conversations on how we can create more inclusivity, diversity, and equality in our program. I’m listening deeply to what they’re saying.
  • I’m engaging in conversations with colleagues to help promote anti-racism in our aromatherapy community. I’m listening to the stories and experiences of BIPOC in our community to better understand their experiences and hear what they would like to see changed in aromatherapy.
  • I’m learning how to create space for BIPOC, as I work on moving from “Allyship” to “Accomplice”. I’m actively engaging in creating this space in all areas of my life, aromatherapy will be no exception. 
  • I’m considering how to make scholarship opportunities available to BIPOC who might otherwise be unable to join our program due to financial constraints.
  • I’m listening for other ideas (especially from BIPOC) for how we can make our aromatherapy community a safer place for everyone to participate in, contribute to, and be supported by. 

As a family business, we see all of our students, potential students, and followers as a part of our aromatic family. 

It is important to us that is a place where everyone feels like they belong and have a voice.

Seeing that our whole human family still has work to do in this matter, we’re committed to bring this work home to our aromatherapy community. 

* * *

If you’re confused by my sentiments, have questions, or want to know more, I’m making myself available for one-on-one dialogues about this issue. Please email me at [email protected]

Any unhelpful, destructive, or hurtful comments will immediately be removed from this thread here on the blog or any of our social media accounts. (See note on zero-tolerance above.)

I ask that you honor the importance of these necessary conversations. 

How to Learn Aromatherapy At Home

How to Learn Aromatherapy At Home

Considering the current state of things, there’s a good chance that you have more time on your hands than ever before. 

If you’re like me, then you’re also taking time to reevaluate your health and how you spend your time. I feel that this a unique opportunity to learn how to better take care of ourselves with the help of aromatics.  

Growing up with essential oils, I never knew a world without them. They were always the first tools we turned to for healing, and they were always a part of my daily life. 

And yet I continue to learn how I can use aromatics to improve my health on all levels.  

But listen, you don’t have to get a certificate or do a particular level of training before you can start learning how to use essential oils for yourself. 

Plus, the more you learn how to help yourself, the more you’ll be able to help others. 

So let’s learn some aromatherapy basics together. 

This week, I’m offering four Lunch Time Live Lessons on holistic healing with aromatherapy.  

These lessons contain everything you need to begin using essential oils safely and set yourself up for a lifetime of learning. 

These lessons are free and will be offered daily on our Facebook Page at 12pm ET through April 30th. Catch me live there or come back here each day to watch the replays!

Lesson One: How to Study Any Essential Oil

So here’s what I want to know:

What essential oil did you choose and what did you learn?

Let me know by leaving a comment below. We can all learn more from each other. 

Lesson Two: How to Listen to Your Body

Lesson Three: How to Use Essential Oils Safely

Lesson Four: How to Get Started Healing with Aromatherapy

Want to become a confident Aromatherapist?

Enrollment for our Spring Immersion Program ends January 29th, 2021.
Learn MoreSign Me Up!

3 Go-To Essential Oils for Work

3 Go-To Essential Oils for Work

Running an aromatherapy business must be filled with calming music, soothing scents, and lots of relaxation, right?

Sometimes. But mostly, it’s just like any other business. The only difference is that we get constant reminders that life is too short to worry about the small stuff, and that number one, it really is all about taking care of ourselves.

I mean, I can’t preach self-care all day and then not properly hydrate myself or work too many hours. Actually, I know that I CAN do that because I have. So what I actually mean isit just doesn’t work.

That’s why simple tricks to help us stay on track and return back to what matters are essential. I’ve found that besides the ever-present opportunity to just sit back and take a deep breath, essential oils also help bring me back to a focused state.

I recently wrote an article for Massage Today on using essential oils to re-center while at work. Though this is geared towards massage therapists, the article is relevant to everyone. It will not only apply while at work, but the info is great for getting focused in general.

Read the whole article here.

My three go-to essential oils for work (right now) are: Eucalyptus, May Chang, and Spruce.

  • Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) – Think of Eucalyptus as a breath of fresh air. This respiratory tonic and sinus opener will inspire you to breathe deeper. It helps to open the lungs to take in new air, and its expectorant qualities clear mucus from the respiratory passages.
  • Spruce (Picea mariana syn. P. nigra) – Spruce, to me, is like strength and growth in a bottle. It’s great for those days when you feel heavy and bogged-down by tasks or responsibilities. Spruce is another respiratory tonic, inspiring a full breath as if we were on a walk in the woods.
  • May Chang (Litsea cubeba) – May Chang smells like the excitement of a new day. It is a bright and uplifting, lemon-y smell that feels like the light of gold. It is a bit like Lemongrass but a little less irritant. (This is a super plus!)

These are three of SO MANY to choose from. I want to know, what is your favorite oil to use when you go to work? What about it works for you?

Thank you for letting me share my love for aromatics with you!

Aromatically Yours,



P.S. CALLING ALL MASSAGE THERAPISTS. I need your help! What questions would you like answered regarding massage and aromatherapy? I’ll be writing a few more articles for Massage Today this year, and I’d love to know any burning questions you might have. Leave me a comment on what future articles you’d like to see. 

Like what you read here? Get our weekly Notes from the Yarden and receive weekly aromatic inspiration to keep you using your essential oils creatively and with confidence. Sign up here =====>


Aromatic Reflection

Aromatic Reflection

Winter is the time of year where we’re called to slow down and be still. It might not seem that way with holiday season sprees, year-end deadlines, and new year jump-starts. But it’s very important to continue to find stillness in the whirlwind of winter.

Luckily, our oils are wonderful companions that constantly beckon us to take a moment for ourselves. One of the simplest ways to use essential oils safely is through inhalation. The act of stopping, sitting, smelling, and reflecting can provide just the kind of “time-out” that you need to restore your energy, reset your outlook, and continue.

You’re sitting here reading this blog, so go ahead, grab an oil from the shelf, and try this:

  • Let Go. Relinquish yourself from whatever task is currently at hand, but don’t worry, you’ll get back to it. Just give yourself permission to pause, disengage, and return to your center.
  • Get Comfortable. Sit back in your chair or find a more comfortable seat or position. Maybe lay down on the floor (set an alarm for a few minutes if you’re afraid you’ll fall asleep).
  • Take a Deep Breath. Place a drop of essential oil on a cotton ball, tissue, handkerchief, or inhale from the bottle. Be sure to wave it back and forth while inhaling, alternating nostrils. Perhaps take a few deep breaths this way.
  • Observe. Just watch what happens in your internal world. Can you invite in more relaxation? Are there memories emerging? What emotions do you feel? What does your heart say?

You can write your experience down in a journal or just let it sink in. Continue until you’re ready to return to your to-do list, but do so with a lighter heart and greater awareness.