We form strong attachments as we move through life, attachments that are important and nourishing to us. They can be in relation to people, be our parents, friends and partners. It can also be to our beloved pet or possession, a religious belief or certain beliefs and ideas. To find value in those things, we must have enough space within ourselves to acknowledge the meaning in these interactions.
The Lungs are our receiver of qi from the heavens and with each breath we open up to our ability to be a vessel. When our Lung capacity in drawing in heavenly qi or prana is deficient, our Lung’s ability to exercise its functions at optimum is also impaired. On an emotional level we may feel as if something is lacking from our lives but somewhat we are unable to put our fingers on it and we feel this way because in fact, we haven’t lost anything at all and this longing is a direct reflection of our low capacity to draw in fresh new nourishment and value from our experiences.
With each breath, vital life fulfils us but if we don’t have enough space within nor enough strength to take in divine inspiration, we may end up feeling as if we are empty inside.
Here is the thing, we relate with the world in terms of how it might satisfy us. From the goods at the store and the strong desire to own them or in contrast, from a scene in nature, a painting, listening to music, or by being given a compliment by someone we trust and feel lifted in our spirit. Can we take in the sincere compliment without feeling giddy about it? Have we experienced finding ourselves in a shopping frenzy which only temporarily fills an inner void?
The quality of the environment we inhabit, the quality of the habits we act out, the psychological, physical “food” we take in, air borne pollutants and harsh climatic conditions, all of course have an effect on our Lungs. As Gabor Mate reflects and explains clearly on his book “When the Body Says No: The Cost of Hidden Stress”, emotions also disturbs our internal balance. Grief when pushed away and unprocessed, will subconsciously permeate our sense of identity and shape our personality so strongly that with time it will cloud our connection to whatever becomes significant to us in our next stage of life invariably leaving us feeling distanced, inert and cut off. We become unaware of the golden nuggets hidden in the ever flowing stream of life opportunities - whilst all the while calling them "hard challenges", we become unable to take in negative experiences and give it a positive outcome.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine it is understood that our Lungs are a delicate entry point connecting us to the outside world. One of its functions is dispersing and spreading defensive or protective (wei) qi. This subcategory of qi lies just under our skin and protects us from climatic conditions such as Wind, Cold and Damp. A Lung that is not working at its full capacity, will have a weak protective wei qi and a person will be more vulnerable to catching colds and flus and have more allergic reactions.
The healthier the Lung qi and our ability to take in prana, the easier it is to feel inspired and feel vital about life and less susceptible to disease. So it's fair to say that good, conscious breathing roots in us our ability to feel animated, alive, connected and keeps us strong against a possible invasion of external pathogens.
Now, bearing in mind that what you know is less valuable than what you do with what you know, let’s talk about practical ways of strengthening the potential of this wonderful organ via the breath.
Pranayama (in yoga) is a series of techniques and exercises with the means of regulating the breath, tonifying lung qi and balancing the amount of both O2 and CO2 in order for the body to achieve homeostasis and function in a fair state of internal equilibrium. It has a profoundly positive effect on the human mind and body!
Breathing consciously is a form of meditation that can be done for extremely long periods without much frustration and has an exquisitely quick calming effect. Entering a particular rhythm with the breath means that you are slowing depressurising the activity of the mind and deepening your connection to the physical body and of feeling present.
Deep breathing also has a hugely beneficial effect on the heart. If you are experiencing fear, anxiety or stress, your heart rate will increase and deep breathing will regulate the heartbeat by slowing it down.
Different techniques are available to self regulate via the breath and they teach us to learn to absorb the intensity of the moment of which no reaction can sprout from and rather a peaceful response. One that propel us to the highest version of ourselves.
With a deep inhale we embrace new knowledge, absorb and acknowledge the value of new experiences and as we exhale we let go of what is no longer needed. Our breath in its circular movement beckon us higher into consciousness and deeper into our unconscious agenda whilst unburdening and blowing clean our relationship in and out of us.