Relaxing your ribs can expand your breath

This last few weeks we've talked a lot about the mechanics of the shoulders and how much they are effected by the position of our ribs. We know that when we lift our chest and thrust our ribs we can create body wide tension. But did you know that this can also restrict your ability to breathe well?

There are many different ways to breathe - are you singing, dancing, walking, running to catch a train? When you are lying down and looking to release tension belly breathing is hugely beneficial but in many cases when you are upright rib cage breathing is a great way to go. It's kind to your pelvic floor and can allow your core muscles to work more reflexively. It uses all of your respiratory muscles and gets your ribs moving (we can get very stuck in the intercostal muscles between the ribs). It also allows your neck and shoulders to take a break.

As with everything my advice is don't try and force change. Getting yourself stressed because your ribs don't move much when you breathe is just going to lock you up. Enjoy your regular psoas release, do your calf stretch, enjoy your daily walks. How is your Real Life Dosage going? In classes this week we are checking in at the start of class and then again at the end and seeing how it feels to sense and feel movement in the rib cage when we breathe.  We realise that the adjustments we make can create positive change for more than just our muscles and joints.

 

My feet are on the ground. Shoulders drop from ears (this could be me reaching up to the top of a door frame if they made them that low). Just doing this exercise regularly is going to make a more natural engagement of rib cage breathing possible.

My feet are on the ground. Shoulders drop from ears (this could be me reaching up to the top of a door frame if they made them that low). Just doing this exercise regularly is going to make a more natural engagement of rib cage breathing possible.

This clip by Katy Bowman offers a more detailed explanation.