During the coronavirus pandemic, a disease that attacks your lungs, it’s a time meant to recognize the importance of your respiratory system. Some coronavirus patients have experienced a drop of 20 to 30% in lung function. Your lungs are responsible for keeping you breathing and through that keep every other organ in your body functioning. To help protect yourself from the coronavirus and it’s harmful respiratory effects, it’s vital that we focus on strengthening our lungs.
We can strengthen our lungs through the use of mudras. The term mudra applies to the use of hand gestures during meditation. These gestures channel your body’s energy flow during meditation to certain parts of your body. Over the centuries, more than 100 known mudras have been developed.
Using the adi mudra, or fist mudra, you can focus your energy into your chest and breathing patterns. This mudra increases the capacity of your lungs and stimulates your oxygen flows. To strengthen your lungs, it’s best to practice this mudra for fifteen minutes a day. The proper form of the adi mudra is to fold your thumbs into your palms and then close your fingers into a fist around them, as shown below.
During your daily mudra practice, you can also do Pranayama exercises to further improve your lungs. Pranayama is the formal yoga practice of controlling the breath, which is the source of our prana, or life force. Both Kapalabhati and Ujjayi are Pranayama exercises that improve lung capacity. Kapalabhati is also believed to relieve congestion and help clear mucus in the air passages.
To practice Kapalabhati, start by sitting in a comfortable seat with a tall, straight spine and exhale completely, emptying your lungs. Then, inhale briefly through both nostrils, before exhaling forcefully through your nose, while pulling your navel in, towards your back. Follow this pattern for a round of 30 exhalations, then rest for a minute and breathe deeply before repeating. However, if this becomes strenuous or you feel light headed, start with 15 repeats and gradually work your way up. While practicing Kapalabhati, the idea is to keep your inhalation short and passive, but your exhalation short, quick, and active. While exhaling, be sure to pull your navel in before softening it during your inhale.
Also, for Ujjayi practice, sit comfortably with a straight spine and take a steady breath in through both nostrils. Inhale until you reach your lung capacity, while maintaining a tall and straight back. Hold your breath for a second, then constrict some air at the back of your throat, as if you were able to whisper a secret, and exhale slowly through both nostrils. Repeat this pattern up to 20 times, counting your exhalations. When you exhale, it will sound like a gentle rush of air or an ocean wave and you should feel the air on the roof of your mouth.
To further protect you from the coronavirus pandemic, blend the following ingredients into a smoothie to help strengthen lungs:
- 3 Kale leaves
- 3 Celery stalks
- 1 piece of Ginger (2 inches)
- 1 Apple
- 1/2 Lemon
- 1/2 tsp of Cinnamon
Blend the ingredients until smooth and drink the smoothie within 15 minutes for maximum potency.
Our lungs are one of the most important organs in our body as we can only survive a few minutes without oxygen. During this pandemic, it’s vital that we do everything that we can to protect our lungs and keep them strong. It’s most important that we stay well.