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Opening Your Diaphragm (#3 of 7)

From Jan 19 Daily Practice Group

Over the month of January, we're building our yoga practice in a step-by-step fashion. This physical foundation will support our meditation practice.

Today in the development of our yoga practice we introduced the next point of alignment. These are the seven points in our bodies that are how we first take radical personal responsibility (RPR). To put it another way, taking responsibility for these seven points is how we assume our @attention posture (standing/sitting @attention, and paying attention). This posture is required to withstand and change the preexisting deep and destructive forces in your mind.

Previously, we've looked at our pelvic floor (#1) and lower belly (#2). These two soon begin to work together as one. Then we added the throat (#5). Today we added the diaphragm/solar plexus (#3)

As you breathe in, feel the circumference of your body/lower ribs expanding. Over time, this will become especially prominent in the lower back. As you breathe out in a deliberate breath, you'll feel your lower ribs contracting to help squeeze the air out. This opening and closing motion reminds me of jellyfish locomotion. We are particularly interested in the opening aspect, as most of us are locked-down here, to some degree.

Three initial thoughts on what's happening at this body point:

  1. This area is the keystone for all of your long-held tension (trauma). When you start to release this area, over time, everything else will let go too.

  2. This opening activation acts like an antidote to reactivity. The three bandhas are amoral ('pre-moral' might be more accurate) – they will be involved in any action, skilful or unskillful. This one, however, creates a space of peaceful non-doing.

  3. As you get deeper into your practice, you'll find that an open/floating diaphragm (free of emotional baggage) lends a gracefulness to your physical body and movements. This is the root of how we 'walk softly', for example. Over time, this will trickle-up into your emotions, thoughts and character, becoming a general and pervasive sense of grace.

When we walk like we are rushing, we bring anxiety and sorrow on the earth.

We have to walk in a way that we only print peace and serenity on the earth.

Be aware of the contact between your feet and the earth.

Walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet.

—Thich Nhat Hanh (Buddhist monk)

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