Free Download! Your Well-being Switch: Yoga, the Bandhas and the Three Diaphragms of the Body

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Ginger Garner

Dr. Ginger Garner is an orthopaedic physical therapist, author, and educator whose clinical focus is yoga in healthcare and self-care. She is founder of the Professional Yoga Therapy Institute (PYTI), an international, interdisciplinary medical yoga therapy certification for healthcare...

The body has not just one diaphragm, but three, notes yoga therapist Ginger Garner, DPT in this free download. And these are not independent structures, rather they are part of a broader system that affects our health and well-being in numerous ways.

The notion that the pelvic floor is a second diaphragm in addition to the respiratory diaphragm is familiar to many people. Ginger describes why the vocal complex constitutes a third diaphragm, the thoracic diaphragm, and why it’s so important to health and well-being.

“The voice really is the telltale sign of health in a person,” notes Ginger. “To me, it’s a new bio-marker for health, all the way across the lifespan. If women and men want to learn to take control of their health, we need to learn to take some very basic pieces. And the 3 diaphragms are one that will take you a very long way.”

Ginger discusses how the three diaphragms relate to the bandhas in yoga and how they function to regulate the balance between the diaphragm and intraabdominal pressure.

If we learn how to work with the three diaphragms as a wholeness, we can trigger powerful healing benefits in the body as a whole, notes Ginger. In particular, the vagus nerve interfaces with the respiratory diaphragm as well as the soft tissues of the jaw, fascial structures and vocal complex. This is one of the reasons that the 3D system has such a powerful effect on our well-being.

“You can improve your sense of well-being by working with the close connection between the diaphragm, fascial, vocal complex, and jaw with the vagus nerve,” notes Ginger.

The vagus nerve runs through both the vocal complex and the diaphragm, which also means that the movement of those structures around the vagus nerve can help stimulate the parasympathetic response.

This makes it a powerful way to calm the nervous system. The parasympathetic response is involuntary, so we can only influence the system indirectly.

Stress is a driving factor for most health issues. Because of the close connection with the vagus nerve and the stimulation of the parasympathetic response,  the complex of the three diaphragms is one of the most powerful ways to affect the parasympathetic response, Ginger notes.

Also check out Ginger's course on YogaUOnline: The 3 Diaphragms of the Body: Core Foundations for Health & Well-being.