Keep your ribs down is a bit of a mantra in my yoga and Pilates classes and sometimes I feel like a bit of a nag about it. What's it all about? We’re looking at different ways to move as part of our Active April month. A positive effect can be had on our bodies when we keep our ribs down.
How many times have you been told over the years to lift your chest up and shoulders back? Whoever instructed you to do this was probably doing you a dis-service. Rib thrusting will lift your ribs up and press your press your scapulas (shoulder blades) together. Among other things, this can have a profound effect on your ability to breathe long and deep breaths. The breath becomes shallow and high which can create stress in the body. Who needs more stress?
Rib thrusting can also take away strength from your core as you are lifting them up and putting them into a weakened position. This can have a knock on effect on your lower back where a hinge is created and pain can result - if not now, maybe somewhere down the track. ? Back pain can be caused by so many different things. Have you ever bent down to pick up something small (a leaf perhaps) from the ground and felt some sort of pain in your lower back? So let’s work on getting our ribs down.
A good place to address the rib thrusting phenomenon is to learn to simply relax the muscles that are holding them up. Easier said than done. It can however be as simple as taking a breath in and releasing it all with a big sigh. Once you've done that, you may feel your head and shoulders round forward. Next, we ramp the head back on top of the spine. Don't worry if this makes little sense, we'll keep working on these in class so they become second nature.