Biology of Breathing Let's bring our sensory awareness to the automatic, unconsious experience of breathing, to the areas in our body where it's easy to breathe, and then to areas where it's more difficult to breathe.
When you look at our lovely model, you'll notice the pink hump in her middle - her diaphragm. When you place your hand on your middle, you'll notice that it alternately rises and settles, alternately creating and releasing a vaccum that pulls air into your lungs, and releases it.
Notice that the girl's heart and lungs rest on her diaphragm. Her stomach and other internal organs (not depicted) nestle under it.
When her diaphram is relaxed, her breathing will be full and even, and will give those organs a soothing massage that's supports their functions.
Notice that a major blood vessel (aorta), her esophogus connecting the mouth to her stomach, and her vagus nerve (not depicted) that regulates vital functions also penegrate the diaphragm. Her relaxed diaphragm supports their healthy functioning, too.
Her diaphragm is a disc-shaped muscle that attaches to her spine.
What do you think will happen when she becomes tense and contracts the muscles in her body?
Her diaphragm will become tense & rigid and:
- tension will be communicted to all the organs nesting around her diaphragm
- her esophagus will be contricted and she may experience indigestion & heartburn
- the vagus nerve will be irritated and send dysfunctional signals
- circulation will be constricted
- her tense diaphragm will pull on her spine and create back pain or spasm
- deep breathing will be difficult and her vital organs and brain will receive less oxygen. (Lungs are designed to oxygenate 5 qts of blood / min. Shallow may oxygenate as little as 1 qt. / min.)
Suggested activity: Bring your awareness to your breathing when you're walking, driving, cooking, cleaning - and especially when you're using a computer or other digital device. What do you notice?