Monday, April 14, 2008

The Diaphragm and Right Breathing


"Right physical breathing comes from a movement of the diaphragm. If it is in order it is not the result of a doing, the breath comes and goes of itself. If the movement of the diaphragm is in any way impeded, it is replaced by a movement of the auxiliary muscles located higher up. This is a sign that a person is held tightly in the circle of his I even in his breathing. Shallow breathing high up in the chest-shows that a man is tense and caught in his I without knowing it."
From: Hara, The Vital Centre in Man
by Karlfried Von Durckheim.
Above diagram is the diaphragm viewed from below.

Make that "I" in the above quoted paragraph the ego. The ego is located in our breathing function or more accurately in our breathing dysfunction. The diaphragm is a key structural muscle and our principal breathing muscle.

My sense of the diaphragm in myself is that it is the muscular culprit behind my spinal scoliosis or my twisted spine (a spinal curvature that was diagnosed while I was in junior high school). With strong tendons attached to the lower thoracic and upper lumbar vertebrae, (the crura in the diagram), it has yanked one or two of my vertebrae out of alignment. The spine adjusts, as best it can, to this kind of strain taking on all sorts of distortions and eventually suffering some real deterioration.
I don’t think this is an uncommon occurrence in people, but the muscles that are involved in doing the straining and distorting can vary among individuals. The diaphragm is certainly one of the three or four key muscles in our body usually playing a part in creating and distorting structure. And for most of us we have only the vaguest notion of where the diaphragm is located or how it works let alone that we have one or that it may be tight, short, and causing some real strains and distortions (in both body and in mind).