Massage & Bodywork

May/June 2013

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energy work Realize also that anchored just behind the diaphragm on the spine is the aorta, the main channel that delivers blood to the body from the heart. Openings known as hiatuses in the umbrella allow the vena cava (which returns blood to the heart) and the esophagus (which delivers food to the stomach) to penetrate the muscle. When we hold our breath, we tighten our diaphragm, either choking these hiatuses and their tubes, or occasionally losing tone in them. We can't control the blood or food supply through this stuck place, and we become congested and ill. Visualize the center of your body/mind/core as an hourglass. Actually, try perceiving a series of hourglasses through the deep line of the body, which correlate to the energetic chakras spaced up and down the spine. This diaphragm hourglass is the central and most important. I share this hourglass image with almost every new client within the first series of sessions, often during the first session. It's my intention to tap clients' diaphragm hourglasses so energy can again pour through freely and appropriately. I use bodywork tools and words to move this stuck energy. With a bit of release work, we can open a space for communication between the lowest three and the highest three chakras, and by paying attention to the form of our breath and exercise, and learning to relax our minds as well, we can breathe ourselves to better health. count of four or five, try to slow your breath to lengthen that count to six or eight. Take in the same amount of air if necessary, but inhale more slowly. After a particularly long in-breath, you may find the need to exhale in a rush; after a good out-breath, you may need a quick inhale. Without judging yourself for your lack of breath, intend to expand the time it takes you to breathe, then the amount of breath you're bringing into your systems. Once you've experimented with this exercise, encourage your clients to practice the awareness as well. As you continue to be aware of your own breath, see if you can improve. Can you focus on bringing in more breath while staying in relaxed flow? When working at your computer, driving, or vacuuming, can you breathe at the same time? Notice your breath or the lack of it. Visualize this stuck hourglass at your diaphragm and teach yourself to allow more breath energy through it. As you become more familiar with tension in your own diaphragm, you'll be more able to help clients release their own tension, too. Releasing the Breath I talk to my clients frequently about "achievement mode." Too many of us get into this mode during any task, and forget to relax and breathe. We've chosen to believe that, in order to complete whatever task has our attention, we must hold our breath to power through it. As we hold our breath, the "sand" in our hourglass slows as the aorta, vena cava, and/ or esophagus tighten. It doesn't register that we could achieve and breathe at the same time to reopen and maintain a relaxed flow or relaxed process. Often, we believe it's difficult to breathe because we haven't made it a priority to learn to breathe fully and deeply. Try practicing this awareness. First, lie on the floor on your back, or sit comfortably but with fairly straight posture, and focus on breathing in and out, deeply and slowly. If you breathe in for a Noah Karrasch is a Certified Advanced Rolfer and the developer of CORE Bodywork, as well as author of Freeing Emotions and Energy Through Myofascial Release (Singing Dragon, 2012), from which this content is adapted, and Meet Your Body: CORE Bodywork and Rolfing Tools to Release Bodymindcore Trauma (Singing Dragon, 2009). He teaches bodywork skills in the Midwest and the United Kingdom. Contact him at or See what benefits await you. 113

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