Your lungs are constantly working to provide your body with all the oxygen it needs to function well. The respiratory system is vital for you to live. However, just like all other systems of our body, even the respiratory system is prone to wear and tear, more so due to high levels of toxins and pollutants in the air.
Lung health also varies from season to season. The winter season (Vata season) is particularly harsh for the lungs. In Ayurvedic context, when too much Vata (space +air) accumulates in the lungs we experience breathlessness, dry coughs, asthma, hoarseness of the voice, weak voice, pain when breathing and even lung allergies. If you are experiencing any of these, your lung health might be out of balance.
Ayurveda has effective remedies to bring an agitated dosha back into balance through diet, lifestyle and herb concoctions. To ensure health of our lungs even in the harsh winter season, let’s dive into ancient wisdom that’s highly effective even today.
Understanding Ama and Ojas
Bala, which means strength, is the Ayurvedic word for immunity. There are two major elements that impact Bala, and these are Ama and Ojas. Ama is the sticky product of undigested food, and lowers immunity in the body. When it spreads in the body, it clogs the channels that carry food to the cells and the channels that remove wastes. Ojas is the opposite of Ama. It is the product of perfect digestion, and enhances health and wellbeing. The goal of all treatments and therapies of Ayurveda is to enhance Ojas. Lung health imbalance is caused by increase an in Ama in the lungs.
Causes of increases Ama in Lungs
- Improper diet – Consuming heavy, oily, cold foods that are hard to break down or eating leftovers the next morning will hamper the digestive system
- Polluted air – Toxin particles like smoke, dust, pollen, dirt circulating in the air enter the lungs while breathing and cause irritation.
- Seasonal Changes – Our body functions differently in each season owing to different temperature and climate. Seasons like autumn and early spring make us especially prone to respiratory problems.
- Exercise – Both no exercise or extremely strenuous exercise is harmful for the lungs. Heavy lifting beyond your capacity causes strain on the lungs while on the other hand not exercising reduces the oxygen intake capacity of your lungs.
- Emotional grief – An overload of stress or grief can also affect the lungs.
Increasing Ojas in Lungs by including Ayurvedic Herbs in your diet
Consuming the right foods plays a vital part in healing and strengthening of the lungs. Ayurveda suggests herbs, to be included in your diet, which will aid respitory functions in your body.
- Cardamon – Add this aromatic, stimulating and refreshing herb to your diet to strengthen your lungs and ignite your digestive fire.
- Eucalyptus – Loaded with antioxidants, this herb not only boosts immunity of the lungs but also soothes irritated sinus passages and fights congestion in lungs.
- Licorice – This soothing herb is especially effective for dry cough. It softens the mucus membranes of the throat, lungs and stomach.
- Pippali – A powerful lung rejuvenator that helps with asthmatic conditions and eliminates toxins.
- Holy Basil – This sacred refreshing herb possesses healing powers and removes toxins from the lungs.
Improving Lung Health with daily Prayanama
Breathing exercises are a lifesaver for your lungs. Dedicate 15-20 mins a day to actively work with your breath and you’ll breathe easier with stronger lungs and clearer airways. Pranayama is an excellent way to revitalize prana within the body. Pranayama is a practice in controlling the breath. It cleanses and strengthens the physical body while calming the mind. It is important to practice with the proper posture to allow the breath to move freely in the body.
Healthy lungs bring vitality (Prana). That’s why Ayurveda refers to the respiratory system as Prana Vaha Srotas. With these tips you will not only prevent illness, but also nurture your lungs so they can fulfil their life-sustaining role each day.