Did You Know Your Lungs Need Extra TLC When Grief Can Arise?

October 14, 2015

What do pears have to do with the lungs and grief?

I had no idea myself until a three-month bout with whooping cough several years ago gave me a whole new reverence for the lungs and the pear. Ayurveda and TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) revere the pear for its lung-healing properties. Its cooling nature helps when there is too much heat in the lungs and a cough producing too much mucus has resulted.

According to both Ayurveda and TCM, the lungs and lower intestine have a connection, and in the Fall and late Winter, lung problems are often accompanied by constipation.

Enter the mighty pear which is a wonderful digestive aid that helps to normalize bowel function.

Keeping the lungs healthy has a tremendous influence on all of the major organs that lie below them. Pears not only nourish the lungs and the throat, they help to clear phlegm and are anti-inflammatory as well.

From an Ayurvedic perspective, the lungs are often compromised during the change of seasons, especially summer into Fall and Winter into spring. The body struggles to adjust to the change in weather and immunity can become weakened.

I think most of us associate grief and sadness with the heart. But it is actually the lungs which are the repository for these emotions.

Ayurvedic teacher Vasant Lad once told me that old grief which accumulates in the lungs is like stale air and needs to be expelled by deep pranayamic breathing.

The breathing technique which is especially effective here is taking a deep breath (from the belly) and completely expelling it while making the sound “ssssssss” (like a snake).

Almost every healer I’ve ever worked with has gravitated to my heart/lungs as an area that needs extra TLC. They tell me that old, deep grief is/was “part of my story”.

For many of us, this is ancestral grief as well as grief from this present lifetime.

A wise and gifted acupuncturist once told me “My dear, you have so much grief, it’s buried in your bones.” As I was reeling from this shocking statement (I felt perfectly happy at the time) she inserted a needle in the center of my chest and it was as if a tsunami of tears rose up and out of me. I sobbed uncontrollably (and this was a group acupuncture session!) for twenty minutes.

I will never forget that experience.

Of course, the heart and lungs both reside in the Fourth Chakra (commonly referred to as the Heart Chakra) and are intricately entwined, both from an emotional and physical point of view. So, while we are nurturing our lungs, we are nurturing our heart, and vice-versa.

It’s officially Fall here in the Northeastern US and so it’s probably no coincidence that I was drawn to post a couple of things about grief on my Facebook page last week and that I’ve been feeling that familiar constriction in my chest.

Time for some deep reflection and to amp up the pranayama practice (I always seem to fall off this wagon).

I’m adding lung-pacifying foods and herbal support, as well.

And don’t forget the mighty pear! Pears are abundant in the farmer’s market right now so I’m enjoying them raw, stewed in my oatmeal, quinoa, etc. or as a sweet treat sauteed with cinnamon, cloves, ghee and a little maple syrup or honey. So yummy and soothing for our beloved lungs.

Much love,

Additional Resources

Breathe: Ayurvedic Tips For Healthy Lungs

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