Mind your ribs, ladies

photo: Jose Vilchez
Rib cage stability and placement is a principle that once understood takes a practice from meager to damn good.  It, just like breathing, informs each exercise, helping you to get maximum benefit from every movement you make.  Of course, everyone wants value from her time.  You can take steps to achieve that value by focusing on just where those ribs are and how well you are connected.

Here are some pointers:

  1. The abdominal wall attaches to the ribs.  Keeping the ribs in place means keeping the abdominals engaged
  2. When you are lying down on your back, the ribs should be fully on the mat, though not jamming onto the mat  
  3. Be especially aware of maintaining the abdominal connection when your arms go overhead, which can cause the distracted or uninformed gal to lose her connection. Many instructors refer to this common phenomenon as "popping the ribs."  
  4. Many of us who had babies, then carried them around for years after giving birth, suffer from a posture where the rib cage deviates forward from the hips.  If this is your tendency, pay special attention to where your ribs are when conducting sitting or standing exercises.  Align them over your hips to attain a proper start position.  (You may have to sit on a raised platform to achieve this positioning).
  5. The rib cage will open slightly as you inhale.  This is fine.  Just be careful that you don't allow yourself to lose your connection on the inhale
  6. Use your exhale to deepen or re-establish your abdominal connection.  Your ribs will close slightly as you exhale.

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