R I B C A G E R E L I E F
During this weeks classes our continuing exploration into the spinal column leads us to look more specifically at the function of our rib cage and how this 'thoracic basket' supports and maintains a healthy spine.
Your ribs are incredibly important, they not only serve as a protective barrier around the heart, lungs and liver, but also create a great deal of stability for the thoracic spine. Quite commonly people will mistake ribcage discomfort for spinal pain, they are often a part of the body that gets neglected or that goes unnoticed.
A N A T O M Y O F T H E R I B C A G E
The thoracic cage is supported by the vertical sternum or breastbone (anteriorly) and twelve thoracic vertebrae (posteriorly). In total your body has 24 ribs (twelve on each side) that stem from T1-T12 and wrap around the front body forming your ribcage. Our ribs are commonly identified in three groups, true ribs (1-7) that attach directly through costal cartilage to your sternum, false ribs (8-10) that attach to the sternum through a long singular piece of cartilage and floating ribs (11-12) that do not directly attach to the sternum.
Regulating the healthy functioning of our ribs links undeniably to our overall health. If the ribs are not performing as they should the spine will experience a huge decrease in stability, opening up room for discomfort or injury as well as (connecting back to what we learnt last week) a decrease in the communication between the spinal column and the nervous system, and we all know the knock on effects of an ungoverned nervous system.... S T R E S S and A N X I E T Y !
We also must not forget (arguably the most important aspect) the role in which the ribcage plays in relation to our respiratory system. In-between each rib you find the intercostal muscles, a group of intrinsic chest wall muscles that occupy the intercostal spaces, these muscles help expand and contract the size of the chest cavity to facilitate breathing. This in turn aids the function of the diaphragm which is attached the the base of the sternum, lower rib cage and the spine.
H O W W I L L W E E X P L O R E
TH I S I N O U R P R A C T I C E?
During our physical practice this week we will look at increasing the range of motion your ribcage can access, developing their ability to effectively respond to the increase and decrease of volume. Building our awareness of Yogic breath, exploring control and isolation, directing the breath into different spaces in the ribcage and allowing ourselves time to find where it sits most effectively within different postures.
Playing with the movements of the spine (flexion, extension, rotation and lateral flexion) to deepen the connection between ribcage, diaphragm, spinal column and the nervous system as well as strengthening and releasing any tension in the lateral body that could be causing tension through the intercostal muscles.
Put simply. releasing our thoracic spine of any stress it might be holding and creating a deeper awareness of where we should be breathing in different postures throughout our flows.
If this sounds like exactly what you need (I can confirm it definitely is) then join me online for classes this week through S E Y, all bookable through my website.
T H U R S D A Y
12:15pm Express Flow
5:30pm Vinaysa Flow