I have to confess, since the age of about 12, I have been known as a rib thruster.If you are new to this term, let me introduce you to my friend Katy Bowman, world renowned biomechanical scientist.
In Katy’s words: ‘’ Many people ‘hide’ their thoracic kyphosis by thrusting their ribs forward, but it is better to keep your ribs down and work on stretching these tight muscles (instead of manipulating the skeleton to hide them!).’’
So when I was around 12, like any other ‘normal’ girl, I started to become self-conscious about my weight, the size of my thighs and my waistline. One day as I was carefully observing myself in mirror, I found out that when I stood in neutral alignment, my thighs appeared to be VERY fat. But when I did ‘funny things’ with my pelvis (like stick my butt out) and and combine that with thrusting my ribs forward and up, my legs looked more like Naomi’s. And that sounded really cool!
This new position soon became my new normal. I walked around for almost 15 years (and to this day I have to work on my posture) with my ribs carried way ahead of my pelvis, without even knowing how much damage I was creating in my own body.
The first time I got to know I was abusing my spinal tissues was in the Yoga Tune Up® Level 1 training when my mentor Jill Miller clearly pointed out this rib alignment deficiency in my body.
Drawing my ribs back and setting them right over my pelvis was incredibly uncomfortable; as years with a disorganized spine had made my illiopsoas, sartorius and adductors very, very tight.
Why Is Rib Thrusting So Bad For Me?
Good alignment and mobility of the rib cage are essential for influencing how much air enters the body and how much oxygen enters the blood. Since many of the abdominal muscles attach to the lower ribs as well, being a rib thruster easily leads to weak stomach muscles, disc compression and lack of spinal stability. Ouch!
Refine Your Alignment: Fix Your Rib Thrusting!
Compare these 2 pictures:
What do you see?
In the first image you can clearly notice the massive global extension of the spine, which results from shoving the ribs forward and upwards. In the second image you can see a more aligned spine and organization of the thoracic segment over the pelvis throughout.
Aligning your ribs and moving away from being a chronic rib thruster is very simple:
Start by lining up your xyphoid process over your pubic bone. The xyphoid process is the bony triangular bit at the bottom of your sternum. Line up this bony landmark right above your pubic bone. The way I like to think about it is ‘’doing an abdominal crunch’’ with the top segments of your rectus abdominus-without actually crunching!
What is important to understand is that years of rib thrusting might leave your spine in a vulnerable place (I know mine was) and many muscles and connective tissues will become chronically tight and dehydrated. This is where getting good bodywork and regularly rolling with Yoga Tune Up® Therapy Balls becomes an inevitable part of your healing process!
Check out my next blog where I will share with you 2 amazing techniques to help release the restrictions that years of rib thrusting might have created in your body and improve your rounded shoulder posture.
Read “Save your body from rib thrusting.”
Learn about our Therapy Ball Programs.
This sounds like me. I am working on the rib thrusing. So common for so many people. So difficult to make that change for so important to the posture and comfort of the body.
I too was a rib thruster through years of ballet training and being told to imagine a fish hook going under the ribs and lifting them up and out! Imagine!! It wasn’t until I was under the guidance of my first yoga teacher who spotted those ribs walking through the studio door before I did; she too was a dancer and saw me coming a mile off! It was at this time that I soon realised my spine had little movement/flexion/extension and I had chronically tight muscles. The bony landmark lineup cited in this article is a great cue for me and my students; thank you.
Although not a rib thruster myself, I also became aware of this phenomenon through Katy Bowman and then realised that a lot of my yoga students were doing it, trying and get more extension through their shoulders. Now I always make students aware of it and how to find optimal alignment in their bodies. Thanks for the great post on this Dagmar!
You have just answered most of my postural issues. I notice myself bringing the ribs foward now haha! Makes me realize how important proper alignment is and will try to incorporate the information everytime i teach a class.
Thank you! I just identified myself as a rib thruster through this article, as Mimi and Lisa (my Level 1 Tune Up instructors) both kept adjusting my ribs. As a dancer this is very problematic and may be the answer to a lot of my postural issues.
I appreciate your vulnerability in sharing the origins of your rib thrusting. I, too, am a rib thruster and I think it has to do with a energetic pattern of “giving my energy away” to others. The xiphoid process/pubic bone line up was a revelation in Level 1 training. I didn’t realize how much chronic discomfort I felt in my mid and low back. Katy Bowman’s work has also been incredibly helpful. I’m now unraveling my QL tightness and emotional stuckness and it feels great!
The cue to line the xiphoid process over the pubic bone is really helping adjust my alignement. However crunching by using the top segments of the rectus abdomini is a bit difficult to achieve without creating too much tension in my breathing. I need to work on that. What about pulling the top of the pubic bone to bring the pelvis to neutral, align with xyphoid process and keep breathing?
I too had developed a habit of thrusting my ribs forward and when back pain finally developed and my psoas was short, tight and inflamed, I began the long slow process of learning how to hold my torso properly. When I teach this in my classes, my students love to lean against the wall in horse and press the back of their ribs into the wall and draw the front of their ribs in. They are always surprised at how hard this is and how unusual it feels. It is truly a body blind spot for many bodies.
Me too! I never realized how much until Jill’s cue to match the ovals of the pelvis and rib cage over one another and it felt like the weirdest thing in the whole world but also felt SO good. Talk about a blind spot! I had become aware of the fact that I trusted in down dog about 3 years ago but never thought that it translated to standing. But, now I know the way I do anything is the way I do everything and have to remind myself every few minutes it seems like. New normal will feel normal someday!
I am grateful for the picture for a reference. I recently felt like I had become a bit of a rib thruster because of my yoga practice and the cues i was given to open my heart, without being told to keep this from just being a thrust from the ribs. Thank you for the information.
I am also a rib thruster. It began in childhood when I danced and got worse when I begun practicing yoga. Thanks for including the pictures. It’s helpful to see the difference in the alignment of the rib cage.
Hi! Excellent blog! I’ve been working on reigning in the ribs for a while now, and it’s a work in progress. I’m currently in a YTU training, and I’ve just found a new style of Tadasana, which reminds me that I a still, even in a relaxed state, thrusting my ribs. It’s better, but needs a lot of daily work! I’ve brought this to my students to work on as well, and often cue to “braid the ribs” or “pull the lower ribs in”.
I need really straightforward cues to get this, and your xyphoid process over pubic bone does it for me. Thank you. I, too, have been a chronic rib-thruster for so long, and I have noticed how it compromises good belly breathing for me. Of course, this is connected to so many other imbalances that ripple throughout the body, this is a good one to focus on.
I had become aware of the fact that I was a chronic rounder, and in an attempt to correct that I have somehow become a rib thruster… not chronic, because I noticed it much more quickly, but still. I love this alignment cue of the xyphoid process over the pubic bone! quick, easy, and straight forward. Thank you!
True confession…. I am also a rib thruster. I am always working on correcting this. I think your descriptive of stacking the xyphoid process over the pubic bone is the most helpful so far for me. Thanks!!
Thanks for sharing these great tips. I too am a chronic rib thruster and have been working on correcting it for sometime…just need to continue. I really think with the tips you mentioned and that I learned in the Level 1 Training, I’ll be on my way to actually fixing this issue. I appreciate the info that you shared and it’s always reasuring to know other people deal with the same issue.
Dagmar, Thank you for your honest share of the reasons for your rib thrusting. It brought to my awareness the fact that yes we do sometimes consciously distortion our posture or do “funny things” to our bodies to avoid emotional pain. I too am a rib thruster and while I had a yoga teacher point it out, a rolfer point it out and even had someone tell me I was “gross” for jutting my ribs and chin forward when I spoke – it wasn’t until the level 1 YTU training and the exact cue that you shared “xyphoid process over pubic bone” that my body felt the foreign stability of alignment in this area. My entire structure is shifting around this monumnetal move. I would love to be able to share your post with my students. Would you be willing to let me link you in a newsletter?
I’m in the rib thrusting club too. I was a natural one to begin with and then the yoga instruction to move my shoulders back and retract my shoulder blades for almost every move compounded the problem. As a result, my psoas became shorter and when I sit I would hing more than needed so that my rib cage was quite a bit over my hips. This makes my hip flexors sore! The tubular core is my new friend although it is taking a lot of work to do this action without a lot of tension in my shoulders, neck and jaw
I am a rib thruster and definintely have weak stomach muscles! Tubularizing my core is really hard for me!!
I really resonate with this post Dagmar as it is something that I do and have done for a long time thinking (incorrectly) that it was good posture. I now find it very difficult to do any shoulder mobility exercises without feeling the chronic effects of this long held posture and I’ve found it very difficult to rectify as I feel it needs lots of retraining.
Dagmar I read this a little while ago. I always felt there was more to my postural misalignment than an anterior tiled pelvis. I have been consciously trying to maintain correct alignment throughout my entire day, initially beginning by aligning my pelvis but since reading this article and aligning my upper back and ribcage I have felt so much stronger! I am amazed! I feel like my core strength has increased and my upper back tension is relieving. Thank you!
this is great. i am a big time rib thirster as my chest has an indentation since birth and as a way of “correcting” it around the guys, especially in sports i was used to thrusting it out. same self consciousness different gender. i am looking forward to reading your how to fix. am in the level one as I write this.
I have to be mindful as well about knitting my ribs together and avoiding the thrust. I never realized it was bad until pointed out to me in yoga. You gave some good cues with lining up the xyphoid process with the pubic bone and the tubular core also helps me correct my thrusting forward. As I worked on my handstands, it made a tremendous difference when I was given the cue “hollow body” which helps draw the ribs in and down.
Thank you for this article and for being so thorough and informative. I’m a very visual person, so once I saw the pictures you posted I thought, “Oh yes! I know exactly what rib thrusting is!”. I see many of my students stand and even sit in the asanas in this way and have known it needs to be corrected, but have not had the cues to help them fully understand how and why to make this change. Now that I understand what’s happening under the skin (i.e. over extension in the spine and anterior tilting in the pelvis) and how harmful it can be to the body, I feel empowered to help my students realign their spines! 🙂 I also appreciate your honesty in saying that, at first, the transition from being a “rib-thruster” wasn’t easy or very comfortable. I think it’s important to remember that making healthy changes in our bodies can be quite challenging at first, and that it takes time to create a new normal. But in the end, it is always worth it! I will definitely be rereading this article again and passing this on to my students. Thank you!
Thank you so much for your post Dagmar. It was very informative and yet a bit alarming to read because I have been doing this since I was around the age of 12 as well. It is so common in our culture to deform our bodies in the name of fashion or to look “skinny,” and I find it helpful to have blogs out there like this to read. I just wish younger children would understand the amount of damage that this can do to your body over time. Thank you again for this. -A fellow Chronic Rib Thruster
As i coach, i dont think there is anything that i cue more than “rib cage down,” so i really appreciate this new way of being able to articulate the organized spine: ‘’doing an abdominal crunch’ with the top segments of your rectus abdominus-without actually crunching!” Im sensing a cueing theme in yogatuneup land that is cueing the behavior of an action without actually doing that action.
I can also relate to the rib thrusting… When I became aware of my misalignment, I realized that the biggest impact it had was on my ability to adequately sequence my breath. Not only were my stomach muscles weak, my spine unsupported and misaligned, but my muscles were confused! I had lost the ability to breathe without stressing out my diaphragm, upper back and neck, making it hard to actually allow breath to come in to the body. I have been working for several years now on releasing tension in my tissues and re-educating my body to undo the rib thrusting. What a difference it makes when I can get a full breath of air!! Apart from the exercises offered here, I find that tubularizing the core also helps to align my pelvis and rib cage. Thank you so much for the post!
Oh, how many of us have reorganized our structure to try to fit a certain ideal we have attached to? This speaks volumes to the power of learning about our own anatomy and it’s functions- not only learning HOW a body can be organized for optimal alignment, by WHY, and what happens when it isn’t.
I also have the habit of thrusting my ribs forward. I have a hyper-mobile back and so from as far back as i can remember I used to like to stand with my pelvis in a anterior tilt, my ribs going anteriorly, my shoulders going posteriorly and my head thrusting forward. So I was always standing in a back bend with a strain in my neck. With my back like this, my legs also hyperextend, so needless to say my posture was not straight. I started to dance ballet and this helped a lot with my posture except I had a ballet teacher who told me to straighten my legs to their fullest extent. So I carried on standing on hyperextended legs and to compensate I kept my ribs thrusting forward. I also gripped my hip flexors to compensate. I did this for years so in hindsight I should have seen my back injury coming. I ended up getting a stress fracture in my L5 vertebra. I makes perfect sense because my psoas muscles was pulling on the L5 because it was super tight and I was constantly standing, jumping and turning on an arched back. It was a slow process to heal but it made me really appreciate how important proper alignment is for your body!
Thank you for this article, I see this very often in many young women that come to my personal training sessions. I’ll ask the students to place their hands over their ribcage while they are lying on their back. I’ll ask them to Inhale through the nose, feeling the ribs open laterally. Upon exhalation (which I ask them to force out of their mouth), I ask them to guide the ribs close. This technic work very well with my clients.
As a fellow rib thruster, I find this very helpful, Dagmar. I am lining up my xphoid process over my pubic bone as I type! And no sign of that rib thrusting of yours at class today – it’s inspiring to see how you have corrected this in your body. I trust I can do the same. Looking forward to learning more!
Thanks for the article. I am taking the Integrated Anatomy & Physiology class this weekend & was just introduced to this term – Rib Thrusting – yep.. that’s me too! I am looking forward to the next post to see how to start correcting this problem 🙂
The past 6 months I’ve been working on not thrusting out my ribs, and like many I thought it was maintaining good posture; it brought my shoulders back and I thought I was standing up, proud to be a tall woman. I’ve had to redefine what a strong, tall woman stands like! It’s going to take more time to relearn to stand up right and keep my ribs and spine in alignment, thanks for sharing your thoughts on how to identify it.
This coupled with anterior pelvic tilt (or as I have recently learned it to be called “duck bum”) are ones I wish were apparent to me growing up. I agree with Cailyn, posture should be a conversation for early on life. It was for me, but from the context of it not being “lady like” to slouch. This is more than aesthetic, it is long term spine health, and overall well-being. It will take me a long time, but I’m training my ribs down!
This needs to be address early for more young women! It has been a three year struggle for me to be even close to proper alignment! I became a very dedicated athlete after I graduated high school and pushed my body to all sorts of limits. This would have been hard enough if I was in a healthy position while doing it. Years down the road I was hit with chronic intense back pain and hip flexors hard as rock. I am still trying to heal the damage.
I too am a rib thruster on a mission to correct that. Your comments have helped me understand what it is that I am doing and how to start tackling the situation.
I feel like this is very relevant with current “thigh gap” craze going on. Girls anteriorly tilt the pelvis and internally rotate the thighs, knees and feet to achieve this coveted thigh gap for pictures or “selfless” to look slimmer. I am slim and don’t think that I could ever achieve this thigh gap while standing in tadasana, or practicing proper posture, with ears over shoulders, ribs and abdominals synched in, and posterior tuck to the pelvis to neutralize my curvy spine, and active glutes. Its too bad that healthy bodies and good posture that will keep you looking confident and beautiful later in life isn’t more commonly considered as attractive.
I’m also a recovering rib thruster. Sadly, I was doing it because I thought it was proper posture. Tubular core has radically changed my posture and while I’ve only been practicing it a short while I’ve noticed a profound increase in my strength, stability, and general quality of living!
Dagmar. You have just spoken all my buzz words for today. I am in the middle of my yoga tune up training here in ottawa and we are all reaching out to the bloggers to see what cool stuff is being shared and to experience this whole new world of knowledge. A master trainer told me a few times today to lower my ribs or stick my ribs back in. And now you mention the kyphosis of the thoracic spine. This has me written all over it. Trying to correct this today was a real source of confusion and a little disheartening. Like starting over. I can really appreciate your explanation about how to correct and being awareness to this area. Thanks for the tips!
From one chronic rib thruster to another: thank you. It’s funny that early in my yoga practice, I thought being able to make my ribs jut out, especially in bridge pose, was a big advantage and a sign of my enhanced flexibility. Over the years, I’ve heard different yoga teachers speak to this imbalance, but none got so deftly to the heart (or core) of the matter as Jill when she noted this alignment deficiency in my own body.
Hi Dagmar! Great blog! I, too, was a chronic rib thruster for many years and am SO glad to have the tools to help others “unthrust” themselves to healthier posture. After years of strengthening myself in proper alignment I can now feel how icky it is to be in a rib thrusting position and can spot it from a mile away! Sending love from Cali! xo
Thank you for the great post, Dagmar! Isn’t it amazing how ideas about “ideal” shape and size can profoundly affect us right down to the very way we breathe? I developed a rib thrusting habit in an attempt to “open my heart” and counteract the downward pull of large breasts and the internal rotation of the shoulders that sports bras encourage. For years I struggled to understand and feel the difference between retraction of the scapulae and external rotation of the shoulders. I would cue myself continuously throughout the day to draw my shoulder blades together and down my back in a misplaced attempt to stretch my pecs open. This encouraged flaring of my bottom ribs in front and chronic shortening in my QLs (not so helpful for digestion!) The Yoga Tune Up concept of engaging the “tubular core” is helping me reengage my entire core and draw the bottom of the rib cage over my pelvis where it belongs. Now I give myself the cue to firm my core and shine my rib cage down into my pelvis, like directing a searchlight.
Thanks for the post. I have to work hard in all yoga poses involving shoulder flexion to engage the core and prevent the hyperextension of the spine with rib thrusting to compensate for limited shoulder mobility. The tubular core exercise with all shoulder flexion activities helps me correct my rib thrusting habit
Wonderful post Dagmar. Thank you for bringing up the point that there are many forces in our lives for which we decide to internalize and externalize “wacked” positions that lead to long term pain and malfunction. By exploring our own bodies and consciously addressing blind spots when we find them, we are taking that first step towards acceptance of where are bodies are in that moment, and progression towards healing and loving every bit of it.
I too have been a “chronic rib thruster” since my adolescent years, for very similar reasons. It is something that I constantly struggle with in my posture and especially my yoga practice. I am always noticing that my front ribs are slightly forward of my pelvis. It is really helpful to understand what it is actually happening in the rest of my body when I do this. It provides an alternate perspective and awareness to actively correct myself when it happens.
Thank-you foe the story and the visual and the corrective action
I never knew why I seemed to always blow out my ribs
I honestly thought it was cause my lungs were too big, from marathon running from the early age of 12
Whatever it is, it does seem to be a default for many
Perhaps it is just a learnt action from us all, and we kind of copy this physical way of standing, cause many of us stand and walk and move this way
Inviting dehydration into the muscles, by holding ourselves incorrectly is such a graphic and important way of considering how we hold ourselves wrongly and its’ serious and chronic results
Dehydration, poor digestion, confused thinking, skin issues might be some of the early signs of bad posture, and are often treated in many other ways other than posture and holding our physical forms rightly
It is critical and important information to share and communicate, that importance and science behind the signifigant importance of holding ourselves rightly while walking, sitting and all movements.
Thank-you for enlightening us in regards to this common and bad habit that a lot of us, seem to blindly continue to hold
And how easy it is to address and correct and awaken ourselves to
With a very flexible back, my tendency is also to rib thrust. Luckily, ballet training helped me to correct this early on, but I continue to keep an eye on it in my yoga practice. Interestingly, until recently I didn’t realize how lucky I’d been. If it weren’t for dance, I’d probably have put an immense amount of undue stress on my body by now. Very happy to learn about this issue more indepthly.
Hi Dagmar. Thanks for the post and the honesty!! It is a very hard habit to break, especially after doing this for years and having it be the norm. I find comfort in hearing from so many recovering rib thrusters. I recognize this in many of my students as well. When standing still, I can find this alignment, but once I start to move in my practice, I can feel myself slip into the “habit” and my body yield to it. This is when a mirror becomes really helpful!! Most students don’t want to use a mirror, but times like these, when the habits are strong and the body has molded itself around the habit, we need some gentle reminders.
“Once you see you can’t un-see” It wasn’t until I did my Yoga Tune Up® Certification did I hear the term “Rib Thrust”. I suffer from this. I am becoming more aware of it. This article really helpful. I also read some comments. Thank you Dagmar for giving a timeline on how to fix this issue. 😉
Thank you for this information. Ever since I was in grade school , I wanted as Trina says, Beyonce booty but I was not blessed with one I tried to create my own by thrusting my rib cage forward and anterior tilting my pelvis. My torso was so far forward that I looked like I had a bustle under my clothes especially in formal dresses. I was sent to modeling school and learned to correct the duck walk and the bustle bump but I still trusted the ribs to make the bust look bigger. It’s interesting to look back and see the shapes I accomplished with my body. I still work on not thrusting the ribs and now with new cues and tools I think it will be much easier to not thrust but just adjust.
Emill- I took me solid 5-6 months to create strong foundation. I also needed serious bodyword on my posterior psoas, which was incredibly helpful part of the healing process. To this day, I work on my alignment, and use my YTU balls selection to keep my midline supple and hydrated.
Your pictures give me hope Dagmar. I’m also a chronic rib thruster and didn’t really know it until my level 1 YTU teachers would not let me get away with my terrible posture. How long did it take you to finally get back into alignment? That question is the scariest one for me.
Oh my gosh, the things we do to ourselves to try to hard our (seemingly) flaws or to look like others! Instead we need to embrace ourselves with love and rejoice in the body we were created with! I too, over the years, have become a rib thruster. I’m not sure when it began, but I feel my ribs creep forward during class when the teacher says “Open your heart to the sky” a.k.a. in my mind, lift your ribs up and out. I will continue to make a conscious effort to keep those ribs tucked and aligned with the pubic symphisis, especially after reading what an affect a disorganized spine has on the ilopsoas. That’s an area of extreme tightness for me.
I, too, suffer from chronic rib thrusting. For as long as I can remember, my ballet teachers have tied ribbons around my ribcage as a reminder to draw them in… it never worked. As soon as that ribbon left, so did my alignment. Fast forward many years later, the problem still persists and has brought with it a variable of back issues in which you have described. I love the way in which you describe it as “hiding thoracic kyphosis”. It puts it in a light in which I hadn’t thought of it before. It is something that I still consciously have to work at now and probably always will. Our habits are hard to retrain, but I greatly appreciate the new angle in which to look at it. Another action that has helped me tremendously has been to almost sew my front ribs to the hip points and attaching balloons to the back ribs. As a visual person, for some reason that resonated with me as well. Thank you for sharing your story.
I loved your article, my name is Amanda and Im a chronic rib thruster. Fortunately, I work with a physiotherapist who kindly offered to help me out. One of the things he had me do was to focus of filling up my back body and knitting my ribs to my hips – this action was drawing the rib cage down (spinal flexion) and creating more posterior pelvic tilt. By focussing on these simple actions I found a reconnection to my core, and realised how jacked up my quadratus lumborum had become. So lots of work ahead to change the neuromuscular firing patterns, but what can be done, can be undone. Look forward to checking out your next post.
I’m incredibly interested in this topic (and clearly so are many other people, judging by the comments!) in the world of yoga. I wasn’t aware of how much of a rib-thruster I was until I went through a Rolfing 10-series, and my practitioner, also a yoga teacher, and I spent a ton of time talking about how chronically so many teacher thrust their ribs forward and squeeze their rhomboids together in an effort to have “yogic posture.” Once we discussed it, I found myself seeing it everywhere, and especially in the yoga classroom. Now I think of how many times I’ve seen my adolescent cousins adopting this pose in an attempt to appear thinner and taller. Thank you for this realization.
I have suffer from chronic rip thrusting and in my later twenties really started to feel the damage i was doing to my lower back a constant yoga practice has definitely brought awareness to my posture and allowed me to continue in all the activities that i love. i have also found keeping my ribs pulled in and with proper alignment i’am stronger in my weight training and have more flight time in my inversions. great article, thanks for sharing.
Thank you for your witty and informative post. I especially like the part about Naomi. Although I never fancied myself a model, I did find myself standing in sub optimal posture for a fair amount of my life, my yoga practice helped draw awareness to my little ribs which love to flare out while standing about. I have however just recently drawn this same awareness to my down dog. For reason unbeknownst to me, “press your chest back towards your thighs” translated as “flare your front ribs and abuse your thoracic spine.” Silly distortion of body proportion.
Hope & happiness,
Thank you for sharing the origins of your rib thrusting Dagmar.
Unfortunately, at some point in their discovery of self image, young girls often develop body shame.
This fragmentation of the self manifests both in the body and psyche. The mind is the mainstream goes to fix most everything but I believe our body is equally and sometimes more direct pathway to reversing harmful habits.
To address specifically how the physical body began to compensate to deal with your body shame and how to correct it took a lot of work on your part.
I have my own story around my chronic rib thrusting that I will post someday too.
If I may suggest something, I feel that tagging this entry w/ Woman’s issues would be appropriate as most rib thrusters seem like women and I think your tie into where it started can be so healing for other women to read.
[…] Tune Up® Blog « Confessions Of A Chronic Rib Thruster Dear Hamstrings, Why Must You Be So Tight? […]
Much like many other students I am constantly reminding myself to stop puffing my ribs and stay aligned. Our teacher, Amanda, uses a great analogy that I checkin with often when I am in pose. She encourages use to center our ribcage over our hips and have the eye of our diaphragm looking down through the pelvic floor (this is paraphrased). This really helped me visualize the placement of my ribs to my to rest of my body.
Hi Dagmar, I will definitely share your article to many people, specially mothers. As it seem like a lot of the north hemisphere culture and more & more emerging countries cultivate this ideology of femininity ( Naomi’s legs, curvy woman) In addition, high hills and the numerous hours that kids & students spent sitting (studying or playing games 🙂 are definitely not helping this chronic rib thruster and accentuating the miss alignment of the spine as well as locking short their psoas and TFL. This posture assessment should be part of the curriculum!
Wow, this is so me! Thanks for the article. Abdominal strength is an important component to holding ourselves upright and when your posture compromises that strength, it can be a problem! I also have a very bendy back and need the extra abdominal support. Now that I am more aware of where my body is in space and more present in my life it is something easy to correct.
It’s nice to know that I’m not alone as a recovering rib thruster. The norm for me as a child was to stand tall with my shoulders pulled back. So I thrust my ribs forward as an easy way to bring my shoulders back. This posture followed me into adulthood causing undue stress on my lower back. In my YTU TT, Jill emphasized imagining a spot light inside our rib cage shining down through our pelvis and out onto the floor directly below us. This image has helped me immensely and I use it with my clients daily.
Thank you for this article! The pictures bring a difficult concept to life. When rib thrusting is your “normal”, it can be nearly impossible to see, feel and correct it in your own body so those pictures are priceless. What a gift to bring to yourself, readers and students – more air in the lungs and a pain free low back. Excellent article.
Ahhhh the rib thrust……I’m on a mission to stop my rib thrusting. I’ve tried getting a new mattress because a huge cause of tight QL is bad sleeping position. Thanks for the advice reminding me to be more mindful throughout the day.
I think I may be a thruster, too, but possibly originating from years of playing clarinet, often for several hours a day – with this thrusty position encouraged. I know I get the correction to bring my ribs in during yoga and barre class. I’m eager to read your post with corrective tips. Thanks for the helpful illustrations.
I’m so glad that you touched upon this misalignment. I’m guilty of standing in a similar posture at times, and it can show during my practice. I’m currently in the Yoga Tune Up TT, and my instructors have come by me during master class a couple of times to motion my ribs inward as I balance or stand. For me, it’s primarily due to putting too much focus on other parts of a pose at a time (IE: In yogi-toe-grab, I’m TOO determined to grab my toe and abduct/elevate my hip at times; this causes my ribcage to sag). This post gives great insight into the consequences of slightly changing your posture.
Thank you for being so honest and helpful. Coming from a desk job into yoga, I was told constantly to get my shoulders on my back and lengthen the spine. The way I translated that brought me into unfortunate habit of rib thrusting. I am just now realizing that I’ve gone to far and have fallen into this imbalance. The photos in your post helped me to understand it better. As I teach more, it’s something I will be mindful of–creating length in the spine without going into extension.
I was pulled in by the title of this article. It always brings to mind multiple students who live in that same position. I found the two pictures to be incredibly revealing, supportive to your findings, and helpful to see change. I also appreciate the many reasons why being in this position is not optimal for the body.
I am a reformed thruster. It took a lot of time to re wire. Any deviation from thrust felt abnormal and hunched. Duh! But I was always being told to tuck my tail to fix sway back. What I learned later was that my sway back had NOTHING to do with my tailbone or pelvis but everything to do with my rib pelvis relationship. Now I get to work on optimal rib placement and optimal pelvic placement.
I am a reforming rib thruster(it takes constant practice!) when I am properly aligned in tadasana I feel a huge difference right down to my pelvic floor! Full yogic breathing while properly aligned is amazing.
I, too, am a reformed rib thruster. For years, when my tight shoulders and thoracic spine limited my range of motion, I bypassed that tightness by back bending and flaring my front ribs. I did this in the most basic poses: Uttitha Hasta Tadasana, AMS, etc. for about 10 years of Asthanga practice. I began studying with a new teacher who had no tolerance for this kind of avoidance and was corrected repeatedly. I remember how wrong it felt at first – as though I were folding forward – and how, on some level, this felt threatening to my entire practice. Now, years later, it feels so good (so right) to have my torso aligned correctly and to access and lengthen the muscles of my upper back and shoulders instead of avoiding them. I love it when I have a student who, after being stuck in this pattern for a long time, is able to turn on her core muscles and find a whole new way of relating to her body and practice.
Thank you Dagmar for this article. I am a recovering rib thruster as well and I have to constantly watch myself everyday. As I become more vigilant of my own posture I also notice the postures of others and the rib thrusting is a very common misalignment. I’m not sure when or how I adopted this posture but I’ve noticed when I’m tired or stressed my rib trusting is in full effect, scapula retracted and pelvis anteriorly tilted.
I find that this is so common in women in large part because we are hiding are beautiful derrières. In a society that tends to cause women to conservatively suck in and lift up our juicy bits it is such am important message to just be in alignment. I confess I was a rib thruster until recently and it was in an effort to distort the reality of my body with some idea of what I should look like. Thank you so much for this wonderful article.
I’m particularly struck here by the emotional source of the misalignment. Again and again asana provides a context for self-observation on a level deeper than bones and muscles.
Hi Again: Again, great blog about Rib Thrusting. In my Pilates practice, I teach my clients to “close their ribs”. During a mat class, I’ll ask the students to place their hands over their ribcage while they are lying on their back. I’ll ask them to Inhale through the nose, feeling the ribs open laterally. Upon exhalation (which I ask them to force out of their mouth), I ask them to guide the ribs close. While holding the ribs close, I’ll have them do that practice exercise a few more times.
For private clients who are not connecting, I may try your technique.
Thank you, Dagmar, for bringing this to light. It is something I also struggle with in trying to correct my posture. I had moderate kyphosis from slouching my entire life. Through yoga, I’ve improved leaps and bounds and the kyphosis is almost gone – however, in an effort to stand up “straight” and depress and retract my shoulders, I’ve also been thrusting my ribs forward. Only recently have I become aware of this misalignment. Thanks for keeping me aware and I look forward to your the subsequent post!
I confess, I’m a recovering rib thruster also. As a beginner yogi 25 years ago I somehow got the message that “standing up tall” involved shoulder retraction and thoracic extension, when in fact it does not. Thanks for the post Dagmar!
Dagmar, Thank you so much for bringing to light such a common and detrimental misalignment of today. I personally identify with your personal story of altering natural posture to create an optical illusion in your body. I spent many years doing exactly the same thing. I’m very excited about Yoga Tune Up and brilliant teachers like you bringing this to light in a very intelligent way AND closing the circle with self care thru therapy ball massage to ease the transition and tension while transforming the tissues.
Hi Dagmar, Thank you for sharing the context and your story… rib thrusting is not something I really picked up easily until I worked with JIll also. For me, as a teacher, I would see the alignment was off– but it teasing it apart from perhaps additional lumbar extension etc wasn’t as easy as it is today with my YTU experience. I like the explanation of “hiding thoracic kyphosis”. Never thought about it that way…. but this will stick in my brain and help me to recognize it when I see it– because it is sometimes subtle…. Thank you!