This past weekend I was steeped like a little yogi teabag in an anatomy intensive (part of Teacher Training). They really weren’t playing when they devised that title — anatomy is intense. Made altogether more intense by the fact that I was sitting next to a lady with gallons of perfume on. I was wishing that I could detach part of my anatomy (nose) temporarily! Dammit woman, you practice yoga, you should know better! But I digress … that’s another post.
One of the most enlightening parts of this weekend was learning about the diaphragm. I can’t say I ever paid much attention to what was going on in there when I breathe. Having a general idea is vastly different from actually seeing how the diaphragm works.
When you understand that your diaphragm draws down as you inhale and upward as you exhale, you can begin to comprehend HOW you make space. You can actually visualize what happens as you breathe, which is immensely helpful for being with and in your own body. Instead of being outside of it and experiencing respiration from a figurative distance, you’re now armed (diaphragmed?) with deep anatomical knowledge.
And now I will blow your mind with a few stats…
The Diaphragm + The Breath:
- Our lung capacity is between 6 – 7.5 Liters
- The actual job of breathing is done primarily by the diaphragm
- Breathing out is done simply by relaxing the diaphragm, which causes the lungs to deflate
- Over 1/2 L of water is lost every day through respiration
- We breathe 13 pints of air per minute
In shape and function, the diaphragm really is life’s parachute. It keeps us alive. Just like yoga.
I’m pretty sure my diaphragm/parachute is very colorful. For reference, this is most likely what it looks like:
photo credits (top to bottom): urac.org, misssixty.com