Becoming Green from the Inside Out: Part 1: Teaching How to Care

To change the future for the positive, we have to care, people have to care. However, how can we take care of the world if we can't take care of ourselves first? Or, if someone doesn't care about themselves, how do you expect them to care about anyone else, especially, the world?


                                                                                                  Photo by: -zyber-

The problem then? People are out of touch with themselves. Solution? We simply need to reconnect with ourselves which entails re-learning how to stand, sit, and breathe! Yup, that's right. It's always the things that we take for granted the most that we need to pay attention to the most.

If we are healthy and in a good place of mind, we are much more apt to respond to current situations as we will have the capacity and the possibility of sincere will to act.

So this is a 2 step process: Posture first, then focus on breathing.

If we don't have back problems now, many of us will have some form later from sitting in front of computers for extended periods of time. We do have a chance to stave off the effects. The reason spinal posture is important is that it is the backbone, the foundation of our body. It's hard to care about the rest of the world when you in pain, or cranky. So posture first (this works when you stand or when you sit). Remember these three things:   [more]

1) FORWARD
2) STRAIGHT (and)
3) UP

Forward means to tuck your tail bone under/ push your pubic bone forward so that you don't arch your back. Straight means to engage the abs in a way so that you pull in, lift up from the navel, and naturally adjust your shoulders back and down lengthening your spine. The final movement is tucking the chin slightly and feeling as if you are being lifted by a string through the crown of your head so that you feel your neck elongate and match the lengthening of your spine. Many people naturally want to lift their chin when they think of adjusting their posture; however this crunches the neck and blocks proper breath (or just overall life force flow). Sitting like this should make you feel light. If not, then two more little reminder steps: relax (drop your shoulders, let go of tension) and breathe (you will often find you may be holding your breathe initially when you adjust your posture).

So throughout the day you will want to "check in" with yourself. Step one is to adjust your posture to be in the optimal position for proper breathing and awareness. You may start to find that just by adjusting your posture you become aware that you may turn you foot out while you sit or stand or do something else quirky that actually causes you aggravation later in the day (muscle cramps etc.). Adjusting your posture is also a form of centering your attention.

From center, focus your mind or your attention at our focal point (the point between the eyebrows and slightly above). Close your eyes for a second and check out your breathing. Is it shallow? Deep? In your chest mainly? Is it steady? What is your breathe doing? How are you breathing in this moment?


                                  Photo by: instantstressmanagement

Optimally you breath should be deep, steady, and long to create a more peaceful, more productive, and more connected mind-state. How do you achieve this? Remember these three things:

1) BELLY
2) DIAPHRAGM
3) CHEST

Start your breaths in the belly and consciously move or feel the breath, move up into and expanding the diaphragm, and then up into and expanding the chest. Feel the breath travel from the base of the spine to the crown of your head as you do this. This is conscious breathing. Five minutes here and there throughout the day would be ideal, if you cannot do that make a commitment to just check in for mini 1 minute tune-ups throughout the day (at your desk, on your break, at the grocery store, putting away your clothes, whatever).

If you do this every day you will start to become more and more aware of yourself and perhaps of little habits that you do that could be modified for the better. The more we become aware of ourselves, the more we will become aware of our surroundings. If you are already what you would consider a "greenie" then you will be delighted by this awareness as you will find more behaviors to modify. This will make you feel like you are doing your part even more. For other people that are not so green, a natural "caring" will evolve. Once most people truly understand the impact of their actions they will change. So we can tell people all day long not to do this or not to do that but really the first step in environmental awareness should be getting people to understand what they are doing and that starts with them having awareness of themselves first. So teach someone how to sit up straight and breathe!

For more information and a more in-depth understanding of where my thoughts come from, go to Thoughts by Janine.

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