Our lungs are the seat of avalambaka kapha, an important subtype of kapha. Kapha is comprised of the earth and water elements of our bodies. Avalambaka kapha is where inhaled oxygen and pranic energy is carried from the lungs to the whole-body, including everything from individual cells to whole organs.
While the function and structure of avalambaka kapha is quite intricate, we can simply think of avalambaka kapha as the lungs, a major organ supporting the respiratory and cardiovascular systems. Energetically, healthy lungs create courage and confidence. As breath and pranic exchange is vital for life, keeping our lungs happy and healthy is a must.
Here in southern Oregon, as well as most of the west coast and many places around the world, we tend to have poor air quality. There are small particles in polluted air, especially in smoke from wildfires, that can be harmful to our bodies; from simple irritation of the sinuses to negative lung and cardiovascular impacts, wildfire smoke and pollution is not something you want to inhale. As we enter smoke season, let us discuss some important tools to support our lungs and respiratory system to breath easy.
Ayurvedic Rasayanas’ Bronchi-Support herbal jam is a fantastic blend of herbal support for our lungs. Mullein is one of the many herbs in this formula that targets the respiratory system. It is notorious for loosening up mucous in the respiratory system and treating common respiratory disorders such as bronchitis, asthma, and coughs. Mullein both nourishes and strengthens the lungs, acting as an antispasmodic and demulcent to calm irritated mucosal linings of the lungs. Mullein grows wild, abundant, and is easy to identify. To learn more, check out this video on mullein.
Bhastrika, or Bellows Breath, is a breathing tool we can use to break-up and release residual air in the lower lobes of our lungs while strengthening the muscles of the lungs. As it releases stagnant air from the lungs, this breathing technique allows for fresh oxygen to be pumped between the heart and capillaries of the lungs to breathe easy. This breathing exercise is also fantastic for releasing unprocessed grief which we tend to carry in our lungs. Please see a practitioner for support on how to facilitate this breathing exercise. To prepare for bhastrika, begin with simple, deep belly breathing.
Lastly, consider a kapha pacifying diet. Since our lungs are the seat of kapha, staying away from dairy, fried foods, meats, and cheeses will help keep our lungs clear of mucus. Drinking warm water with lemon and honey will help to increase blood flow and circulation while providing a slight scraping and detoxifying effect on the lungs. Adding a pinch of black pepper, pippali, or ginger to your meals will also increase circulation in your blood stream and provide clearer breathing and increased agni for optimal detoxification.
Beverly Foster, Ayurvedic Practitioner
Beverly Foster is a certified Ayurvedic Practitioner and 500 hour Ayurvedic Yoga Instructor. She received her certification from The Ayurvedic Institute in 2016 under the clinical guidance of Dr. Vasant Lad and worked directly with him as one of his herbalists. She is also a board-certified National Ayurvedic Medical Association Professional Member. She currently lives in Southern Oregon where she offers consultations, including Zoom and phone meetings. For more information, questions, or to schedule a consultation, you can contact her via www.shineayurveda.com