What is the diaphragm? You often hear it associated with breathing and singing; whether you’re doing one or the other, the correct way to do it is from the diaphragm. If you’ve been pregnant before, you’ve probably been told that your shortness of breath is caused by your belly bulge pressing against your diaphragm. You can safely assume that it’s a body part located somewhere along your tummy, but what exactly is it?
The diaphragm is a sheet of muscle sitting under the lungs. When it is at rest and not contracting, it forms a dome and divides the chest from the abdomen. When it contracts as it does when you breathe, it descends and the dome flattens toward the abdomen, pulling down the lung bases with it and opening the air sacs to take in air. The diaphragm is integral to correct breathing because it comprises the lung bases that get the most blood flow. The thing about good tissue oxygenation is that it requires oxygen from the air you breathe to diffuse into the blood vessels passing through your lungs. Doing diaphragmatic breathing means ensuring good air supply meets with good blood supply.