Life in the Green Lane

Environmental journalist Candice Batista shares video clips and eco-savvy advice from her TV show, A Greener Toronto.

Greening our minds begins with clearing away the mental trash that clutters our thinking. A few simple breaths and movements are the key to being mindful. The easiest way to quiet and relax the mind is to give it an object of internal focus to divert its attention from the stresses of everyday life.

First, find a quiet place to sit down, close your eyes and direct your attention to your breath. By focusing your attention on your inhalation and exhalation, your mind will naturally quiet down as the rhythmic nature of your breathing focuses and relaxes your thoughts. This is the basis of seated meditation. Breath is the foundation of life and relaxation. Relaxed deep breathing will oxygenate the blood, lower blood pressure, and decrease mental stress levels.

Using moving meditation such as Qi Gong allows the mind, body and breath to move as one. For 5000 years Qi Gong has been used in Eastern traditions to turn the focus on the mind internally and away from the stresses of the outside world. Qi Gong exercises serve to twist, stretch and stimulate the muscles, tendons and joints of the body while focusing the mind on the breath and movements being made. Through the practice of Qi Gong the mind and body can once again achieve a relaxed balanced state, free from stress and strain. Just as garbage congests and pollutes our planet, mental and emotional stress congests and pollutes our mind.

So, change your mind set and take a moment to return to the basis of life...your breath.