The Two Powerhouses Enclosed Within My Ribcage, Resting Within My Heart Chakra Chamber
I have asthma. It’s acute. I was born with it. Inherited from my mother. I think she inherited it from her father. I’m not sure who or if he inherited it from someone in our lineage. It’s known to “run in families” and thought to skip a generation. That didn’t quite work out with us though. Over the span of my life I’ve had four major attacks that brought me closer to the “other side” than I would’ve preferred.
For as long as I can remember, having asthma has impacted and informed every decision from the most trivial to most significant that I’ve had to make in my life. Do I bare the snowy and “arctic-type” cold winters that come with living in the mid-west or move south? Would the anesthesia administered during my 10-hour labor with my youngest son, possess any contraindications to my steroid inhaler? Does that pasta dish based in a seafood sauce have ANY traces of shrimp? What amount of added stress comes with the under taking of any new work related projects? These are a few of the questions I’ve had to ask myself over the years out of awareness and concern that my asthma could “flare up” or the possibility of being jettisoned into a massive tightening of my airways that lands me in the emergency room literally fighting for my last breath.
For the past 13 years I’ve found great comfort in the practice of yoga and more specifically, pranayama. Simply put, breath-work. On my path as a pranayama practitioner and facilitator, I’ve developed an intense appreciation for the conduit of my breath. My lungs. My life force and perpetual holder of space always there to remind of the magnitude of their greatness. My lungs are the two powerhouses enclosed within my ribcage, resting within my heart chakra chamber, alerting me to shifts in the weather, when to wane into rest and digest mode, the frequency in which my cortisol levels rise and fall, and ultimately, when I need to sit my ass down from doing thee most. My lungs are my internal compass guiding me to choose in manners meant only for highest good. See me and my lungs we go way back. Since birth. And it’s taking us the last 39 years to come into a place of deep understanding. We now speak only a language that we can understand. I’ve learned because of this acute allergen called asthma that adversely impacts my lungs, it’s mandatory that I’m gentle with them and in return, they’ll be gentle with me. Gentle by way of eating foods that are restorative, ingesting herbs that are strengthening, and regularly practicing pranayama to aid in keeping my stress levels low. By far, my lungs are indeed my favorite body part. Although they remain elusively hidden from the public, we, me and my lungs having chosen to continue our life-long love affair. Holding each other up, and holding each other down.
“Bring your awareness to your breath, Inhale deeply through your nose filling your abdomen up with air, expanding your ribcage… exhale pushing up and out through your nose bringing belly to spine…utilizing full, lung, capacity.”