This morning, after a discussion about the human rib cage, I broke out the ol' Wikipedia to look into ribs and refresh on their mechanics. Wikipedia had this to say:
"The upper seven true ribs (costae verae, vertebrosternal ribs, I-VII). are attached in the front to the sternum by means of costal cartilage. Due to their elasticity they allow movement when inhaling and exhaling.
The 8th, 9th, and 10th ribs are called false ribs (costae spuriae, vertebrochondral ribs, VIII-X), and join with the costal cartilages of the ribs above.
The 11th and 12th ribs are known as floating ribs (costae fluitantes, vertebral ribs, XI-XII), as they do not have any anterior connection to the sternum.
The spaces between the ribs are known as intercostal spaces they contain the intercostal muscles, nerves, and arteries."
While reading this, anybody's hands go for their ribs? Mine sure did. And my breath got a bit deeper, so I could feel the elasticity for myself. It's kind of like a tawdry romance novel where the chest "heaves" with breath. The chest lifts to acknowledge its inner workings.
Here here to the rib cage! Give it it's due in today's practice. Note what it does for you and it will triple its gift in return.
Begin in Sukhasana (Easy Pose). Take your hands, fingers spread, to your torso. Place the pinky finger by the hips, the thumb on the lower ribs. The middle fingers can rest on the belly. On a deep inhale try to increase the space between the fingers, as the ribs expand outwards and spread the digits apart. On the exhale, allow the fingers to come slightly closer together. The movement will be minute, but the affect will be great.
- Come onto the back
- Setu Bandhasana (Bridge Pose). Allow the torso to rise and fall with the breath, floating up with the inhale
- Repeat 3x
- On the third, hold Setu Bandhasana
- Curl torso into a ball, bringing forehead towards knees
- Supta Matsyendrasana (Reclined Twist). Feel how the breath is compressed and changed in a gentle twist. Repeat other side.
- Full body stretch, arms above head, legs outstetched
- Roll to seated
- Parvatasana (Seated Mountain Pose)
- Yoga Mudra (Seal of Yoga)
- Samakonasana (Even Angle Pose)
- Upavista Konasana (Seated Wide Angle Pose)
- Parsva Upavista Konasana (Side Seated Wide Angle). Repeat other side
- Wide-legged Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward Facing Dog)
- Wide-legged Garbasana (Child's Pose)
- Marjarasana (Cat Pose)
- Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
- Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
- Raise and lower arms for standing sun breaths in Tadasana (12x)
- Standing Sun Breaths (12x): Inhale face the right (twisting), exhale at center. Inhale facing the left (twisting) exhale center. Repeat.
- Utthita Hasta Padangushtasana (Standing Head to Big Tow Pose)
- Natyasana (Ballet Pose)
- Vrkasana (Tree Pose)
- Repeat steps 21-23 on other side
- Vinyasa to stomach on ground
- Navasana (Boat Pose). Lift opposite arm and leg on stomach. Repeat opposite side.
- Full Navasana
- Repeat steps 2-7. Notice if postures, and breath, are different after practice