The Diaphragm: A Link the Conscious and the Subconscious
Last week I discussed the link between breath and heart and I gave you an exercise to gain greater awareness and control of this subtle correspondence. This exercise can be utilized during a variety of meditation practices.
Here is another link in the chain.
Consider the diaphragm.
The diaphragm is a muscle and a membrane, which separates the lower abdominal region of our bodies (intestines, kidneys, liver, etc.) from the upper thoracic region, the area with our heart and lungs. The diaphragm is the main motor mechanism of the breath.
Simply, when we inhale the diaphragm moves downward, decreasing the pressure inside the lungs compared to the outside air pressure. It creates a vacuum: air rushes in.
When we exhale the diaphragm moves upward, putting pressure on the lungs; increasing the pressure inside the lungs compared to the outside. Air rushes out.
And so, as you know, our subconscious, autonomics control the diaphragm… mostly. When we control our breathing through our practices we are consciously taking control of our subconscious diaphragm. The idea is to be able to recognize and feel the diaphragm as the mechanism you are controlling.
Everything you do with your breath centers around the diaphragm.
And to me, here’s the cool part: When we consciously recognize the diaphragm as we meditate and control it, the diaphragm becomes a bridge between the conscious and the subconscious: a very powerful meditation! It’s like having one foot in each world.
Sit and breathe. Feel your heartbeat. Then add the diaphragm link. Connect your conscious and subconscious. This creates an atmosphere of mindfulness which permeates into your overall life experience. And that’s what we want: More mindful, more of the time.
Sit down. Be still. Take a deep breath and feel your diaphragm descend!
Pilgrimage of the Heart offers Pranayama with Lauren, Mindfulness with Joe, Meditation with Sujantra, Papaha and Astika and Kirtan (chanting) with Tom, Sujantra, Sita Rose and ‘Fast Heart Mart’ every week. Check the schedule for times and dates.
Happy breath, one and all!