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The Basic Principles | Rib Cage Placement

The rib cage position affects the alignment of the thoracic (upper) spine. When lying on your back in a neutral position, maintain the sense of the weight of the ribs resting gently on the mat (i.e. maintain the normal curve of the upper back). Don't lift off or push your rib cage into the mat. Pay particular attention to the placement of your rib cage when inhaling or while performing arm movements overhead.

Using the breath pattern described below and engaging your abs will help stabilize the rib cage. Emphasize breathing into the back and sides of your rib cage during inhalation. When you exhale, allow you ribs to soften, with the two sides gently closing in toward each other.

Breath Pattern
INHALE through nose, feeling sides and back of rib cage expand.
EXHALE through pursed lips, allowing rib cage to close.


Arm Raises
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Lying on back, pelvis and spine neutral.
Knees bent, feet hip-distance apart on mat.
Arms long by sides, palms down.

INHALE reach arms to ceiling.

EXHALE reach arms overhead only as far as abdominal connection can be maintained and rib cage can remain in contact with mat.

INHALE reach arms to ceiling.

EXHALE lower arms down by sides.