RELEASING & STRETCHING
GENTLE RIB RELEASE
Amongst other benefits, this routine promotes relaxation, helps improve posture and enhances breathing functionality.
Lay on your back with knees bent (90˚) and feet flat on the ground.
Try to soften any excessive curvature of the spine. If possible, avoid using a pillow under your head. If you feel it's really necessary, place a folded towel under your head. As you improve the configuration of your spine you will feel comfortable without having to use any support under your head.
Place a rolled wash cloth under your lower ribs (parallel to your ribs) on the affected side.
Tilt your pelvis so that your pubic bone "lifts" and your lower spine flattens. Inhale allowing your abdomen to "lift" and your lower ribs to widen laterally, then exhale. Try not to disturb the stillness of your upper thoracic cage. Repeat a few times.
Remove the rolled wash cloth and place it under the next rib, we are slowly moving towards your upper ribs. Repeat the same breathing instruction. Keep going until you get to the level of the scapula.
For the upper ribs, roll a sock (the firmer and thicker the more challenging). Place the rolled sock between spine and scapula (shoulder blade). Position your hands on your abdomen, interlock your fingers. With fingers interlocked slowly move your hands towards your head, touch your forehead with your thumbs and bring them back to your abdomen. Repeat, then move the sock a little "higher" (next rib, you are moving towards your neck).
You may release both sides of your thoracic cage.
Compare your "feeling" before and after performing this routine. How is the configuration of your spine? Do you feel more breathing freedom? Diaphragmatic breathing activates and "massages" your organs. Do you feel any difference in your abdomen?
During inhalations, allow your abdomen to "raise" and your lower ribs to "widen". If you have any question, check the mindful breathing techniques.
Try not to disturb the stillness of your upper thoracic cage. The upper thoracic cage should stay as still as possible. Do not worry if this is too hard for you. Relax, be aware of your breathing pattern. Practicing the mindful breathing techniques will help you create a more beneficial breathing habit. Soon, you will be able to exhibit a diaphragmatic breathing while laying, sitting, standing, doing yoga, Tai Chi... Be patient with yourself. Enjoy the journey.
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