Breathing & Atmospheric Intimacy

In Chinese Medicine, lungs are viewed as the reservoirs of sorrow. Depression and grief are reflected in breathing patterns, which become shallow and choppy. The lungs connect us most directly, and also most vulnerably, with our environment. They open a vast surface to the atmosphere (about the size of a basketball court in every person), so that each breath is as intimate as lovemaking. How sad that our atmosphere is so often polluted, or that we feel so stressed we find comfort in inhaling the toxic fumes of cigarettes and vaporizers.

Mindful Biology can help us appreciate the intricacy of our lungs, and their unceasing work on our behalf, upon which our lives depend. Take a moment to breath deeply, slowing the exhalations until they take about twice as long as the inhalations. Feel the air moving in and out, through nose, throat, and chest. Notice how the incoming air feels cool and invigorating, while the outgoing air feels warm and soothing. Watch your breath with curiosity. You might even feel admiration as you remember that the oxygen you inhale diffuses from your lungs into your blood stream, and then travels through your arteries to all the organs of your body, upholding life and consciousness.

Take a moment to feel grateful for the profound fact of breathing.