The lungs are like the windows of our house, a portal between the outside world and our inner space. Each time we inhale we accept particles around us into our body, and each time we exhale, particles of us mix with the atmosphere. Taking a deep breath connects us to the present moment by saying "yes, you may enter". Releasing our breath is a surrender of what was, and an invitation for what's to come.
The air element is associated with our ability to make decisions, cooperate and integrate. When the energy of air element is imbalanced, we may experience indecision, conflict with partners, friends, or coworkers, and difficulty adjusting to a new environment. Our traumatic experiences and debris from the past can act like old paint, preventing us from opening our portal to receive the outside world, cooperate with what we take in, and air out the mustiness trapped inside. Without this exchange we become shut-ins, suffocating within our own vessel and paralyzed by fear of the unknown.
Every breath we take is an opportunity to bring our air element back into balance. Observing the path of travel of the breath is a way to draw mental focus and bring attention to the body. When our attention is honed in on the body, even briefly, a natural self-soothing takes place as we are able to take a pause from the immediate outside conflict. From a soothed place, we can more calmly make decisions and move forward.
Anahata, the chakra connected to this element is often referred to as the "heart chakra" because of it's proximity to the heart, but it also is governed by the energy of the neighboring lungs. Anahata translates to mean "unhurt, unstruck, or unbeaten", referring to the Vedic concept of unstruck sound (the sound of the celestial realm) that is produced without the contact of two parts. This sound does not have a beginning or an end, it is continuous and harmonious.
This harmony mirrors the state calmness and serenity attainable when we are able to rise above conflict and contradiction to a place of compassion and understanding. Taking in our experiences, allowing them to vibrate within us, and releasing them as an expression of expansion. Inhale~exhale.
When the energy of the air element is in balance, we may experience equitability, coolness amidst heated situations, clarity on big life decisions, sensitivity to the shifting world around us. Honesty and communication flow freely, unstruck by the ego of oneself and others.
Physically we may experience buoyancy and lightness in our practice, a new found space in our chest, and a greater awareness of and capacity to the breath.
Air energy travels in all directions, so may we lighten ourselves to catch a wind of change, say yes to the unknown, and take in this incredible life around us.