*This week begins a series of blog posts about different parts of the human body and their physical and energetic attributes which play a role in our good (or poor) health.*
Introducing: the lungs.
Think of your lungs like diplomats. They take in information (breath) from literally all over the world. They filter out impurities and then translate the information to another form which other beings (plants) can use.
They assist us in acquiring this absolutely essential nourishment. Sure some of us thrive better on vegetarian diets and some monks can go years without eating a real meal, but the nutrient of oxygen is essential for every living being.
The lesson of the lungs:
While our gut and digestive system can separate us and show our differences, (more on that next week), our lungs unify us.
Because they are intimately connected to and cannot function without the heart, nervous system and blood, they teach us to remember and honor our connection to others.
They teach us is how to balance our relationship with other human beings: we are interconnected and must rely on others in order to share the gifts of the heart in relationship and realize our highest potential as a society.
We also need to understand our own connection to the "inner heart" , which is our primary relationship. This inner heart is "God", "Spirit", "Higher Self", "Tao" and any other number of names. I like to call it Self with a capital "S" because It resides inside us, as well as around us.
When we focus on this primary relationship with Self, it helps us navigate the challenging aspects of relationships with others; we get offended less easily, we don't get triggered to behave poorly as much, and we don't allow the oppression which comes from others who don't act from their Self.
When our physical lungs are strong, we can endure strenuous physical exercises, detoxify and cleans our body from any airborne contaminants with ease, and regulate our nervous system through the use of powerful breath techniques.
When our energetic lungs are strong, we feel compassion and connection to others, contribute and support others in relationships, while holding healthy boundaries based off of our understanding of Self.
Below are two different exercises from Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan, to support the lungs on a physical and energetic level. As always before beginning any Kundalini practice, tune in by chanting Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo three times to connect to the highest outcome and prepare your space.
Exercise to strengthen the physical lungs:
1. Sit in a comfortable cross legged position or in a chair. Place your hands on your knees with your elbows straight and chin slightly tucked down and in, elongating the back of your spine.
2. Take a deep inhale, and with the breath held in, begin flexing your spine forward and back. Alternate between flexing forward by lifting your chest up and out and rolling forward on your pelvis, and rounding your back, bringing your navel in towards your spine. Continue this spinal flex with the breath held in until you cannot comfortably hold your breath any longer.
3. Exhale and return to a neutral spinal position. Then repeat the exercise.
* Practice this exercise gently and slowly build up to 11 minutes of practice.
Exercise to strengthen the energetic lungs:
1. Sit in a comfortable cross legged position or in a chair with your back straight. Place your left hand over your heart center, elbow resting comfortably by your side. Bring your right hand up to your shoulder and point your index finger straight up to the sky, folding down the remaining fingers with your thumb. Your elbow should be tucked into the side of your ribs.
2. Lower your eyelids so they are 1/10 open, and stare straight ahead into your darkened lids.
3. Inhale deeply and slowly, while bringing your attention to the space of the heart and lungs beneath your left hand. At the top of the inhale, suspend your breath for as long as possible. When you are ready to exhale, do so at the same speed as the inhale. When you reach the bottom of the exhale, suspend the breath out again. Continue for 3-11 minutes.
If you are feeling stress in relationship, or just needing a bit more physical energy and stamina, I encourage you to try both of these practices and let me know what you experience.
As always, share these words with those you love, and those who need to read them!
All Love, Anja
P.S Stay tuned for the next post in this series about the digestive system, and sign up below to receive these weekly insights directly in your inbox.