When the breath of life hurts
When our lungs are out of balance we may experience a dry cough, wheezing on the intake or exhale of breath, tightness in the chest or chronic indigestion.
Even Western medicine is beginning to acknowledge that asthma is caused by more than weakness in the lungs. If you’re having trouble breathing, your major organs are telling you something so urgent and important they are literally taking your breath away.
Sure, asthma can be triggered by an acute food allergy, air pollution, cold air, an undiagnosed heart condition, previous lung damage, mental or physical fatigue, emotional disturbances and/or hormonal imbalances.
But the adage “Our issues are in our tissues” is just as applicable to our beautiful lungs, especially as the weather cools down and family relations heat up. (It’s Turkey season!)
Whether asthma affects you chronically or seasonally, know this: your lungs love you so much they’re pushing you to dig deep into your emotional well-being so you can access the breath of life and Joy.
Below are two simple questions to help uncover what you’re breathing in, breathing out into the world. Ask yourself these questions in the spirit of breathing easier and with more Joy. The body is built to heal and your breath is one of the most powerful healing tools on the planet.
Do I have problems with the inhale or the exhale?
Depending on your answer, you can pinpoint the origin of an organ imbalance by when the breath hurts. According to ancient Chinese medicine, if there is more of a problem on the inhalation then chances are the kidneys are the root of the dysfunction. When we inhale, the kidneys need to be strong enough to pull air in.
If exhalation causes discomfort or pain, the lungs are a root cause of the breathing difficulty. When the lungs are functioning correctly, they pull moisture up from the kidneys. If the moisture isn’t reaching the lungs, then there will be a limitation in how you exhale, as well as an unproductive dry cough, dry skin and/or low energy.
All of our organs need to communicate for our body to function at its fullest potential. Asthma is ultimately a miscommunication between the lungs and the kidneys; a disconnect that can absolutely be improved, healed and released.
The first step to regaining your lung health? Acknowledge that your lungs are communicating with you. Inhale and exhale mindfully. Where is the block?
Am I recovering from trauma?
The lungs are compromised by the emotions of sadness, grief, loss and disappointment. It is natural to experience “negative” emotions when we are fired or criticized, get really sick, suffer the end of a relationship, grieve the loss of a loved one. Painful emotions become harmful when we express emotions in harmful ways (e.g., screaming, shouting) or repress our feelings (e.g., seething, scheming).
An “unproductive dry cough” is defined as one that coughs up little or zero phlegm. While some holistic fields believe a cough signifies undefined inner change happening, Chinese medicine points to stagnant and unprocessed feelings of grief, fear and/or anxiety.
If your cough is waking you up between three and five in the morning, or you’re waking up at that time in general, be especially kind to yourself. Why? (You don’t need a why, by the way.) Whether consciously or subconsciously, your lungs are working hard to release traumatic memories fueled by grief and loss.
Be thankful to your lungs. Stay smoke-free. Stay clear of toxic people. (Yes, it IS holiday season so may the Force be with you.) Stay true to who you are no matter which turkey is sitting at your table or aggravating your lungs.
The breath of life is literally inside you. May you breathe in love and exhale fear.
Eventually as your lungs balance and release, every breath you take will be one of love, courage, compassion and deep, delicious Joy.