Spring is blooming and the air is alive with the hum of buzzy pollinators. Like the bees, we too are ready for more time outside, guiding our body to slough off the old energy of winter and preparing our body and mind for the long hot days of summer. For some, this season can be challenging, causing respiratory and sinus irritation from seasonal conditions. Wearing a mask for long amounts of time offers us protection, and it can also hinder us from taking in the deep lungs-ful of air that our body craves and needs. Many of us have had a difficult time taking in as many of these deep, nourishing breaths our body treasures.
Breathing exercises, however, can be a powerful tool to counterbalance our time in masks and to bring more consciousness to how we are taking in air. Breathing techniques have been used for thousands of years to help fortify and strengthen our body, mind, and spirit, with the beneficial side effects of lowering stress, aiding focus and uplifting the emotional body. You’ll find a breathing exercise below to get you started.
Plants are also all around us in the springtime to remind us to breathe deeply, and to smile while we’re at it. Here in Northern California, the jasmine is bursting, the roses are singing, the apple blossoms are buzzing. The outside world has delightful aromas that are meant to attract pollinators and repel predators of the insect and natural world. These are the very aromas that also excite us to want to be outside, to pollinate with the external ecosystems and with the rhythm of the earth. Lovers are holding hands. Children are playing. Neighbors are tending to their gardens side by side. Spring awakens in each of us the rebirth from another winter into a new future.
When challenged by stress, respiratory challenges, and seasonal allergies of Spring, it is great to have tools to help you thrive and survive the season. Below are some of my top herbal tools to promote respiratory health all year long. Now is the ideal time to practice deeper breathing when feeling in a safe and easy environment, even your car, you can practice breathing techniques to help promote immunity.
After a year + of COVID, our body and lungs could use a collective sigh.
My intention in this blog is to give you something new to consider. Each person is unique. If any of my suggestions don’t feel right or sound nourishing to you, please pass. There is not one herb or herbal path that is right for everybody. Listen to yourself. Listen to your primary care provider. Look into drug-herb interactions if you are on pharmaceutical medications. Herbs are medicine, and not to be underestimated in their potency.
Respiratory Balance Tips: The power of deep breathing is always with you. These simple breathing exercises can enhance the fullness of your breath, calm your mind and calm your nervous system:*
• Slowly and gently inhale deeply through the nose for 10 counts.
• Hold the breath for 5 counts (you can work up to holding for 10 counts).
• Try to “sip” a few more breaths in to fully expand your lungs.
• Exhale slowly and gently through the nose for 10 counts.
• At the bottom of your exhale, gently “squeeze” the last bit of air out of your lungs. You might sound a bit like Darth Vader. That is a good thing.
For best results: Try this practice 3 times in a row, 1 to 2 times a day.
Deep Breathing Benefits: Reduces stress, increases oxygen flow, opens the sinuses, strengthens and protects the lungs, and increases immunity, energy and mental clarity.