The abdominal wall attaches to the lower ribs.
The abdominal muscles must often be recruited
to maintain the rib cage and the thoracic spine, in
proper alignment. Often the rib cage will tend to
lift up in the supine position or deviate forward
in a sitting position, extending the thoracic spine.
Pay particular attention while inhaling or elevating
the arms. Engagement of the obliques will ensure
proper alignment at all times.
When supine in neutral, maintain a sense of the
weight of the ribs resting gently on the Mat,
neither lifting away nor pushing into the Mat.
Emphasize breathing three-dimensionally into the
rib cage and abdomen during inhalation.
Allow the two sides of the rib cage to close
toward each other during exhalation, softening
the back of the rib cage toward the Mat. Avoid
overly depressing the rib cage, which will flex
the thoracic spine, possibly extending the
cervical spine and may deactivate the transversus
When flexing, the rib cage will slide toward the
pelvis anteriorly. When extending, allow the rib
cage to open to facilitate thoracic extension. It is
important to not completely relax the abdominals
during extension; otherwise a loss of spinal
stability will result.
Experimenting with rib cage placement
Start supine, with pelvis and spine neutral.
Knees flexed, feet abducted hip-distance apart
on the Mat. Arms long by sides, palms down.
|Inhale ||Reach arms to the ceiling, palms
facing one another. |
|Exhale ||Reach arms overhead, only as far as
abdominal connection and contact between
the rib cage and Mat can be maintained. |
|Inhale ||Reach arms to the ceiling. |
|Exhale ||Lower arms down by sides. |