This exercise to strengthen the abdominal and the diaphragm helps develop strength in the center of the body in an integrated manner. It uses somatic principles that re-educate the nervous system. Its practice improves the physical ability to execute a movement with minimal muscular effort.
Importance of the connection between abs and diaphragm
The strength and elasticity in the diaphragm are essential to develop a strong center.
The abdominal muscles also play an important role in the development of this physical dexterity. The connection between these two muscular zones supports the strength, coordination and balance during any type of motion. This exercise focuses precisely on awakening the bodily consciousness about that organic connection and releasing the tensions that obstruct its flow.
Instructions to strengthen the abdominal and the diaphragm
The first part of this exercise helps increase the ability to feel the process of breathing at a deep level. The second part of the exercise focuses on stretching the diaphragm. Before practicing the exercise, recommend that you observe an anatomical illustration of the diaphragm and abdomen. Look at the shape of the diaphragm, the location of the ribs, and the organs that lie within these two zones (such as lungs and ovaries).
- Lie on your back with your legs in a parallel position. Bend your knees and keep the soles of your feet against the ground. Close your eyes.
- Breathe for several minutes in a natural way. Do not try to alter or intervene in the flow of breathing. Simply receive the air that enters your body and let go of the air that comes out at the expiration.
- Observe the flow of the breath as if you were contemplating a landscape.
- Pay attention to the diaphragm. Feel the movement that is born naturally in the diaphragm when it enters and leaves the air of your body. Visualize in your mind the diaphragm in motion: the diaphragm descends when the air enters and rises when the air comes out.
- Pay attention to the diaphragm muscles. Visualize your fibers Imagine that they are filaments that approach each other in the inhalation, and that lengthen and stretch in the exhalation.
- Fix your attention for a while on the inhalation stage. Feel how the fibers of the muscles lengthen in an elastic way when the air leaves the body.
- Now fix your attention on the opposite aspect. Feel the fibers of the diaphragm muscles during the inhalation stage. Visualize these filaments approaching and sliding against each other when the air enters the body.
- Expand your attention to the abdominal muscles. Pay attention to the movement that causes breathing, and to the opposing actions that arise in the diaphragm and abdominal muscles. When you inhale the diaphragm expands in a vertical way and the abdominal are compressed inward.
- When you exhale the diaphragm is compressed inward and the abdominals expand vertically.
- As you exhale, imagine that the abdominal fall on the spine as if they were a huge leaf that falls to the ground.
- Now focus on the sliding action that happens in the fibers of the muscles. When you inhale the filaments of the diaphragm they slide in contact with each other, and the abdominal films stretch and move away from each other. When you exhale, the filaments of the diaphragm stretch and move away from one another, and the strands of the abdominal slide against each other.
- Pay attention to the organs that are in the area of the diaphragm and abdominals. Feel the subtle movement that happens in the organs when the air enters and leaves the body.
- Visualize the organs swinging in the area between the diaphragm, the abdominal wall and the floor of the pelvis.
- Imagine that the air massages and tones the organs that are in this area. When inhaling, the air travels to these organs and massages them; and when exhaling, the air seals the unnecessary tensions that are in the organs.
- Pay attention to the vault shape of the diaphragm and its two domes. On inhalation, visualize that the domes of the diaphragm move towards the pelvis, and the ribs expand horizontally and vertically (toward the head). On the exhalation, visualize that the domes of the diaphragm move towards the head, and that the edges move downwards and inwards of the ribs.
- Open your eyes and gradually stand up. Walk slowly through space keeping your attention on the breath. Observe how the awareness of breathing affects your movement.
- Practice various dance movements while maintaining the awareness of breathing, and the connection between the diaphragm and the abdominal.
Benefits for its conditioning
If you practice this exercise frequently, you could start receiving important benefits, such as:
- Strengthen the diaphragm and abdominal muscles;
- Expand the ability to breathe at a deep level;
- Decrease tensions in the spine;
- Improve body alignment;
- Awaken a sense of vertical expansion in the front of the spine;
- Relieve stress;
- Develop a strong center that supports fluidity in movement.