The writings in this book have been inspired by such sacred texts as: The Hatha Yoga Pradipika, The Shiva Samhita, The Gheranda Samhita, select Tantra’s, and Upanishads. The aspiring yogi will find nectar in the language of hatha yoga used in these texts, nectar in the teachings that convey the highest reverence for the knowledge that is won from the study of asana and pranayama, the two favorite subjects of students of ashtanga yoga.
Excerpt from the article, “The Diaphragm is Key. Observe it.”
The diaphragm is the main muscle involved in breathing; when you get an experiential feeling of its actions, that knowledge helps you breathe better and thus helps you develop your yoga practice. You can learn to sense the diaphragms anatomical location within the torso and to follow its contraction (inhalation) and relaxation (exhalation) phases. The diaphragm is a large sheet or dome shaped muscle that resembles a mushroom or a parachute and divides the upper and lower abdomen. It has an unattached gathering of fibers called the central tendon at its top that helps give its dome shape.
It attaches to several sets of ribs and has ‘stems’ that are called crura that attach to vertebrae along the front of the lower spine. The diaphragm is both a particularly large muscle and a core muscle. This is significant because, being large, its rhythm, actions and movements are quite easy to observe. And considering its deep and central location , the basic observation of its actions can take you far within your self, into the root and center of you.
Here’s an image for you to work with: Imagine that your torso is a vast inner ocean. And the diaphragm is a giant jelly fish that is entirely at home floating up and down on the ocean currents within your torso. As you inhale experience its fibers contract, move down, flatten and spread and as you exhale experience its fibers relax, move up, bunch together and reform their dome like shape. Work with this image until you feel that the diaphragm’s coming and going rhythm is THE fundamental rhythm within you; feel how central this rhythm is and how when you really tune into it, this rhythm pervades your entire body, and imagine that this rhythm could be the source of all of your movements…