This week, we're talking about how you can calm anxiety and look after your lungs and respiratory health during the lockdown.
Points covered in this episode:
Ayurveda recommends special breathing practices known as pranayama - which means to control or direct the breath - for health and peace of mind. One popular practice is Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nodi Shodhona), which Shann recorded on our Transition to Calm album, we’ve also made it available on our Patreon.
Breathing in diffused lavender essential oil can help reduce inflammation in the lungs often caused by seasonal allergies and asthma. Add a few drops of the oil to a diffuser or create steam with water that has been brought to a boil and poured off into a bowl.
Fill a bucket or bowl with steaming water.
Add 2 to 3 drops of the lavender essential oil to the water and gently stir.
Place your face directly over the water, with a towel over your head being careful not to touch the hot water.
Inhale deeply for 5 to 10 minutes.
Spices for lung health
Cinnamon is a beautiful aromatic herb called Tvak in Ayurveda - which means skin or bark as it comes from the bark of the cinnamon tree.
It also reduces aggravated Vata, which is the driving force behind anxiety. So cinnamon tea is useful for calming anxiety and looking after your lungs. Pukka Herbs have a Three Cinnamon Blend available on Amazon and in health stores.
Cinnamon is recommended as a natural remedy for coughs and colds, and is often taken a s an herbal tea. It clears mucus and sinus congestion.
Ayurveda considers black pepper rejuvenating to the respiratory system. It helps clear congestion in the lungs.
Cloves clear congestion and sooth coughs and sore throats.
How to use these spices for respiratory health
These spices are all widely available at grocery stores and can be combined together as a lung clearing tea. Pepper mixes well with ginger and cloves and is sometimes added to spiced blends for chai tea.
If you drink black tea you can mix a few peppercorns and clove buds, with some cinnamon and 2-3 cracked cardamom pods with some whole leaf black tea and simmer on the stove for a few minutes. After cooling you can add almond milk and honey to your taste. This makes a low caffeine blend that's good for clearing congestion from the lungs.
For a hot spice blend that clears toxins and congestion add 3-4 cloves and 5-7 black peppercorns with some fresh grated ginger to a flask of hot water and sip throughout the day.
Make sure you are breathing fully
When we are stressed or anxious, our breathing tends to become shallow. Prompt yourself a few times a day to pause and practice some active deep breathing. You could move to a window and take some deep breaths, or follow a guided practice. It’s important to move your lungs by taking some deep cleansing breaths.
Get outside and fill your lungs with clean air
During this challenging time it's helpful to get outside and walk in the fresh air. Get as far into nature as possible and stretch your body out as you walk and breathe. The air around trees is especially beneficial for us.
Mindful walking can help us connect with our surroundings in the moment, which will help you feel grounded and present while calming anxiety.
If you enjoy taking photos this can also help you feel immersed in the moment.
Resources for this episode:
Alternate Nostril Breathing Pranayama - Yoga Breathing
The Bumblebee Breath for calming anxiety
The Tranquil breathing practice from our Tranquility album
Ujaya Pranayama - Yoga Breathing
Guided Tapping Session for Health Anxiety and calming anxiety about breathing
You can follow the Guided Breathing Practices mentioned in this episode on our Patreon page