Inspiration through Breath (Part 1)
All healing traditions believe breath is life. In Chinese Medicine, developing the healing power of the breath is not a heavenly endowment, nor a matter of intuition or ritual, rather proper deep breathing can increase our supply of qi (pronounced ‘chee’). Deep breathing techniques teach us to breath in a healthier and easier fashion in order to fill our body’s vital reservoirs, even if they’ve been depleted by disease or stress. Focused breathing improves health, vitality and self-awareness by circulating qi to every internal organ. Maximizing your lung energy by focusing on deep breathing will enhance your life!
The lung is the main pump behind the action of inhalation and exhalation. Maximizing the use of this organ will assist your personal development and enhance life because the lungs ensure proper functioning of all the body’s physiological processes while also assisting the heart in blood circulation.
In Chinese Medical terms, the lung has an innate aversion to cold, to heat, to dryness, to dampness, and most of all, to fire and wind. In the presence of these kinds of ‘pernicious’ influences the lung easily loses its equilibrium. It will be inhibited in its function to circulate qi and as a result of this, normally free flowing qi will become obstructed and stagnate. Lung qi deficiency usually manifests in a proneness to colds and flu or a general sense of “being invaded” or overwhelmed by people or events. Secondary symptoms may be fatigue, disinclination to talk, or chronic presence of clear and watery phlegm.
Strong Lung qi creates a protective shield against external pathogens such as wind or cold as well as, in modern terms, viruses and bacteria.
Grief, sadness, and melancholy are associated with the lung. If one indulges in these emotional states, harm to the lung network will result and symptoms of emaciation, lack of energy, or dry skin may occur. The other way around, a low supply of lung qi can cause a gloomy state of mind. A particularly sad experience, for example, may cause a person to adopt a pessimistic attitude toward life (which is really a state of dampened qi).
High levels of stress in our society create a tendency to breathe rapidly and shallowly by opening and closing the chest. Abdominal breathing for about 15 minutes each day will reduce anxiety and reduce stress. Deep abdominal breathing increases the supply of oxygen to your brain and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes a state of calmness. You will feel more connected to your body and your awareness away from the worries in your head will quiet your mind.
(End of Part 1. Part 2 will suggest breathing exercises to enhance your qi)