Two Lungs, Five Lobes

Shorty Swan with some organ insights! I don't have lungs but I do build the house for them. Fundamentally we should all at least understand their shape. Building a good image of your lungs in your mind's eye is useful for watching your breath or executing different breathing techniques. 

Everyone knows that we have two lungs. We often think of them as symmetrical organs that mirror each other on the right and left half of our thoracic cavity. Not so! Our lungs are good neighbors to all the other organs housed in our torso and are shaped in a way that makes room for all our essential viscera. 

Each of your lungs is divided into lobes by fissures. Your right lung is slightly bigger than your left one. Your right lung has three lobes (superior, middle and inferior) and your left lung has only two (upper and lower). Your heart is snuggled just slightly left of center and having only two lobes in the left lung makes room for the heart in the thoracic cavity. This space created for your heart by your lung lobes is called the cardiac notch. Your right lung is a bit shorter than your left to make room for your liver which lives underneath your right lung below the diaphragm. 

The division of lungs into lobes allows for increased surface area for respiration. Additionally, if something damages one of your lungs there is a greater chance that the other lobes can continue to function. "A normal pair of lungs can hold about two pints of air, while the average person breathes in about one or less per breath" (Anodea Judith, Wheels of Life). 

 Image from wikipedia.

Image from wikipedia.

The more you know the more you grow. Learn more about the the functionality and importance of breath here!