As a kid, one of the reasons I didn't like playing on the playground with the other kids (besides the fact that I was an awkward introvert) was because I was prone to fall off a of a tire-swing, or tumble off a slide sideways, or jump off a platform and land just wrong that I'd have the wind knocked out of me. Would gasp for breath and have that momentary death-stare look of utter fear on my face as I wondered if my body would ever reset so I could inhale again. I wondered then what getting socked in the gut has to do with breathing, and then in junior high I learned about the diaphragm and its role and function in relation to lungs and breathing.
Come to find out, my insecurities in my sense-of-self as an awkward introverted kid were playing out in my play world on the playground in my tendencies to get the wind knocked out of me, or worse, be sucker-punched by some class bully (yes, that happened to me more than once).
Anatomy & Physiology
The DIAPHRAGM is a muscle that is shaped like a parachute. It seals the entire bottom rim of the rib-cage, serving as a barrier or boundary between the lungs (thoracic cavity) and the digestive organs (abdominal cavity). This means that the purpose it serves is to protect our heart and lungs from the acids of our stomach and digestive organs.
The DIAPHRAGM muscle moves in an upward/downward action. As it expands and contracts, forces the lungs to inflate and deflate by creating a vacuum effect. In its action, its purpose is to make your lungs breathe. The diaphragm also helps put pressure in the right places to help you vomit, pee, and poop. So it also helps to get rid of toxic stuff that we don't need.
Symbology & Neurology
The etymology (word origin) of diaphragm comes from the Greek word diaphragma which means "partition, barrier, barricade." The purpose of the diaphragm is to provide a barrier, a boundary.
Symbolically, since the diaphragm serves as a BOUNDARY between your heart & gut, it represents your ability to protect (gut) your love (heart) and to stop you from giving away too much of your personal power (belly/core) when caring for others (heart & lungs). This is significant for people who tend to give until it hurts, or people who tend to let themselves be taken for granted. As empaths who LOVE BIG, being connected to your diaphragm and how it serves as a protective boundary is key to helping us understand how to have healthy boundaries around our love.
Given that the diaphragm is shaped like a parachute, and it essentially opens and closes like a parachute as it expands and contracts, it metaphorically serves to uplift us. When it opens to allow the lungs to inflate, it uplifts us. When we use the diaphragm muscle properly, to help us breathe best, we not only get inflated, but we feel inspired (which means to breathe in) and uplifted.
When you get the wind knocked out of you, it is because your diaphragmatic function has been temporarily interrupted. You can't get a breath. You have lost your ability to get uplifted. At the same time, if your diaphragm is weak, the boundaries between your heart (love for others) and your sense of self) core, are weak as well.
The diaphragm is a magic muscle that does so much for you
BOUNDARY - it protects you from losing your sense of self in love (giving away too much and being taken for granted.
UPLIFTMENT - it brings you inspiration, fresh air, and lifts you up to new heights
DETOX - it helps you get rid of toxic energies (vomit, pee, poop) that you no longer need.
How to Activate the Body Wisdom of your Diaphragm
The MOZI Method for Boundaries, Upliftment & Detox
This BALANCED BREATHING EXERCISE is perfect exercise for the diaphragm to help you with boundaries, upliftment, and detox.
About the Body Wisdom Series
Our emotional issues live inside our physical tissues.
Ever since Louise Hay published You Can Heal Your Life in which she links specific positive affirmation to various body parts and ailments, the depth of information about the connections between emotional issues and body ailments has grown. You may have read the book The Body Keeps Score written by a psychiatrist Bessel van de Kolk, who studies the links between emotional trauma and physical illness. Or, I may have suggested in the past that you pick up Messages From the Body by Narayan Singh. What always frustrated me about these texts is that they focus on what is wrong and often fail to demonstrate the miraculous capacity and ability of the human body to adapt and adjust. Clients usually walk away from these books with varying levels of hypochondria, which only encourages your brain and body to believe something is wrong, thus perpetuating the wrongness.
If you listen to your body when it whispers,
you will never have to hear it scream.
This Body Wisdom Series is intended to highlight the magic and power and wisdom that lives inside your body. I also hope to teach you how to pay attention to your body, become body-mind aware so that you can better manage your introvert/hsp/empath sensitivities. If you sign up for the Membership Blog, you will receive the simple mind-body MOZI Method exercises to help you embrace and empower your brain and body to live up to its ultimate magical and miraculous potential and ability.
My goal is always to simplify and clarify the link between science of how our body works and the spirit of how we feel. This series focuses on that purpose.
If you have issues with your diaphragm, and/or with healthy boundaries, feeling dragged down, lack of inspiration, or detox, book a mentoring appointment for a personalized analysis of your issues and specific homework to address them.