The diaphragm, located just beneath the lungs and ribcage, is an important muscle to keep strong and flexible if you want to improve your breath and, by extension, the flow of prana throughout your body. Loosening the tension in your diaphragm caused by stress and modern living will promote deeper, more even breaths. With greater control over the breath, you can exercise greater control over your mind. This will bring you closer to what Yoga is about – union between body, mind and spirit.
A few months back, we talked about bakasana, or crow pose, and the importance of using the pelvic floor to lift – not your arms. The strength in parsva bakasana is no different. By using this important, and often overlooked, set of muscles, you’ll lift into this pose with ease.
Here at Hale Pule, we talk about asana postures with three designations: essence, anchor and strength. This is a simple tool to remember the intention of the pose, where your body is grounded and the muscles you engage for proper alignment. These components will support optimal energy flow and provide a sustainable practice that you can continue throughout life.
In order to truly work into your diaphragm and get all the wonderful benefits of parsva bakasana, be sure to keep your spine lined up with the midline of your mat throughout the entire pose. This will allow you to spiral around the spine, not wrench it into a twist.