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How to breathe with greater ease

In TCM, the Metal/Air element relates to the lung and large intestine organs. The lungs are yin organs. They are about receiving air energy. When you have a shock or trauma, sometimes you hold your breath. This starves your body of oxygen, depleting your energy. The large intestines are yang organs and are about letting go of what's no longer useful to your body. If you don't let go, your body becomes toxic.

You can use this analogy for whatever is going on in your life. You take in thoughts, emotions, beliefs that need to be converted into something useful or they drain your energy. When you don't let go of what's no longer useful or adding value, your space becomes cluttered and this may be toxic - how much time do you actually want to spend dusting things that are just taking up space? You need space to breathe!

So often, you may find yourself hunched over your desk or sitting with your shoulders rounded and your chin dropped. Notice what is happening with your breath. Is your breathing shallow or is your ribcage expanding as well as your belly?

Structure governs function so if your posture is compromised, the functioning of your lungs will also be compromised.

Tips for better breathing:

- When you're sitting, standing or lying down, make sure your ears are in line with your shoulders, in line with your hips. If you have rounded shoulders, practice allowing your shoulder blades to glide down your back ribs and your sternum to gently lift - not as big a move as shoulders back, chest out, chin up...

- Bring your arms above your head in a gentle stretch. This is an anti-gravity move for the intercostal muscles between the ribs, allowing for more movement of the ribcage when breathing.

- Gently rub the acupoints Lung 1 and 2. These are in the crease where your shoulders meet your chest, and will help with clearing your lungs.

- Lie down comfortably and place the tip of your tongue over your bottom teeth with your lips together. This is called the yin tongue position. It is for quieting your mind and taking air deeply into your body.

- Deep, regular breathing allows your ribcage to gently energetically massage your adrenal glands, calming down the flight or fight response.

- Eliminate foods that are mucous forming like dairy and salt.

- Oil your nostrils with a bit of olive oil. This helps to stop dryness where your body will want to make extra mucous for lubrication.

- Smile often and notice how your ribcage expands as you smile :)


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