Tag Archives: breath

Greetings Earth People!

As we exited the metro station heading to the Earth Day Celebration event Washington, DC some 20 years ago we couldn’t help but chuckle at the man yelling, “Greetings earth people!”  Looking back, I can’t help but wonder about the meaning of his greeting.  Was he suggesting that the people attending the celebration were “earth people” and that other people were, well, something else?  As we bring our attention to the health of the environment and earth with Earth Day 2013 (April 22, 2013), I encourage everyone to deepen their connection with the earth and all become “earth people.”

To deepen your connection with the earth you can use any of your five senses:

  1. Take a moment to look up at the sky, enjoy a sunrise or sunset, or explore the characteristics of a tree.
  2. Get outside and breathe in deeply enjoying the scents of the natural world around you.  If the air around you is anything but natural or clean – find some fresh earth or plant life to hold in your hand and breathe in the scent.
  3. Feel the ground with your hands or feet.  Dig in the dirt, garden, walk barefoot, or just wiggle your toes in the dirt!
  4. Eat fresh vegetables and fruits.
  5. Listen to the birds, wind, or water in your environment.

In addition to the suggestions above you can use the following practice to deepen your connection with the earth:

  • Begin by coming to a comfortable seated position.  Make soft fists with each hand with the thumbs tucked inside and turn your palms down to rest on your knees (Bhu mudra).  Rest here for 6-12 breaths.
  • Then purse your lips to form a “beak” and inhale and exhale through your lips lengthening your exhale. (Kaki pranayama)  Repeat this for 6-12 breaths.
  • Move forward into a kneeling position, Thunderbolt pose (Vajrasana) for 6-12 breaths, and then come to rest in the child’s pose of your choice.
  • Moving through down dog, slowly come up to standing to Mountain pose (Tadasana) – Bring your focus to rooting your feet down into the earth with all of the standing poses.
  • Following your breath – move through 2 Sun Salutations As (Surya Namaskar A), and 2 Sun Salutations Bs (Surya Namaskar 2).
  • Beginning a 3rd Sun Salutation – move from Warrior I (Virabandrasana I) into warrior II (Virabandrasana II), and then into Goddess pose (Deviasana).  Repeat on the other side.
  • Then invite a sense of balance with the earth by moving into Tree pose (Vrkasana) on the right and left – Perhaps reaching your arms up overhead as a tree reaches its branches towards the sky.
  • Coming to a seated position on the mat, straighten your legs out in front of you in Seated staff pose (Dandasana).  After 3-6 breaths move into Boat pose (Navasana). Repeat 1-3 times.
  • Beginning to bring quietness back into the body, move into wide legged forward fold (Upavista konasana).
  • Then move onto your back with knees bent, feet together, and knees falling out to the sides – supine bound angle pose (Supta Baddha konasana).
  • Finally, complete the sequence coming to rest in corpse pose (Savasana).  Lying on your back fully relaxed for 5 minutes or more.

Earth Day was founded in 1970 as an “environmental teach-in” to increase awareness of the environment and promote activism to help protect the earth.  Earth Day is now celebrated by over one billion people in 192 countries across the globe.  Earth Day is a time to promote awareness and appreciation for the Earth’s environment, sustainable living, and earth awareness.  Take some time every day to reconnect with the earth and share your love for the earth with others so that we can all become “Earth People.”

There are no passengers on Spaceship Earth.  We are all crew.
~ Marshall McLuhan, Communications Theorist, educator, philosopher

Katey Hawes, owner and founder of Posabilities, Inc.., is a physical therapist, registered yoga teacher, and yoga therapist.

You may find her at Facebook.com/posabilities4u, Twitter @Posabilities4u, and .

Note to Self: Breathe


We all do it, we do it every day, and we’ve done it since the day we were born.  Yep, let’s face it, we all breathe.  But, have you given serious consideration to this vital function and all the important roles that your breath plays in your day to day life?

First of all, you know that you need to breathe to stay alive, but your breath does many other things for you including:

  1. Stress reduction– Deep, slow breathing with long exhales has been shown to reduce the fight or flight sympathetic nervous system, and help the rest and digest parasympathetic system.  This can help reduce our stress, pain, and other chronic conditions associated with stress.
  2. Chronic disease management – It has been scientifically proven that deep breathing can positively affect the heart, brain, digestive system, and the immune system.  According to Mladen Golubic, a physician in the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Integrative Medicine, breathing can have a profound impact on our physiology and our health.  “You can influence asthma; you can influence chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; you can influence heart failure,”
  3. Pain control – Scientific studies have found that participants who practice deep breathing in conjunction with pain medications during medical procedures experience less pain, discomfort, and emotional upset.
  4. Communication – Try to talk without breathing.  You can’t do it!  Have you ever noticed how hard it is to finish a sentence when you are short of breath?  Any singer or public speaker can tell you that as your breath control improves your ability to communicate improves.
  5. Energy regulation – With training we can learn to use the breath to energize or relax us, or move our energy into better balance.

As a Physical Therapist, Yoga Therapist, and yoga instructor, I often guide individuals in bringing their attention to their breath, and in breathing techniques targeted at different outcomes.  There is no one way of breathing that is “right” for everyone, at every moment.  The first step is to become attuned and aware of your breathing – mindfulness of the breath.  If you would like to explore the power of your breath further, there are many practitioners trained in this powerful tool, including yoga therapists and instructors, meditation instructors, respiratory and physical therapists, and voice coaches.

Katey Hawes, owner and founder of Posabilities, Inc.., is a physical therapist, registered yoga teacher, and yoga therapist.

You may find her at Facebook.com/posabilities4u, Twitter @Posabilities4u, and .