On Wednesday, I wrote about how poor posture can affect your breathing capability and thus your body’s mechanics. Here are a few tips to find your perfect posture, as well as a short Coregeous® ball sequence to facilitate the breath, ease upper back aches and pains, and find your off switch.
Here’s are some simple tips on what good posture looks like from page 84 of The Roll Model: A Step-by-Step Guide to Erase Pain, Improve Mobility, and Live Better in Your Body by Jill Miller
- Feet first. Hip socket distance apart, facing straight forward as though you were going on a downhill slope on skis. Weight back enough on the heels that you can lift your toes, equal weight on both feet. Ankles and hips in one line.
- Your domes. Picture your ribcage and pelvis as two domes. You want them to sit one on top of the other. I always like to picture them as nets. If I were to drop a YTU ball into one net, it would fall straight into the second net. You achieve this by aligning your xyhpoid process (bottom of the sternum) with your public bone. Finding this alignment will also help you reduce flaring of the ribs (a common tendency in the general population and even more so in pregnant women). Your diaphragm is now ready to make its full excursion without any obstacles along the way.
- Your head. Thanks to mobile devices, we now live in a forward head society. Put your head back on your spine by pushing it back gently as though pressing against the headrest of a car seat, chin slightly down, ears in line with shoulders. Not only will finding proper head placement help you release tension in the upper back and neck, it will also improve your balance and coordination.
This simple Coregeous ball sequence is like being allowed to take a big gulp of air! It will expand your breath, release upper back discomfort and help your entire body relax:
- Lie face down and place the ball on your sternum. Start by taking a few abdominal thoracic breaths to get comfortable with the pressure of the ball.
- Then take a thoracic breath (into the ribcage) and at the top hold your inhale and engage your tubular core (brace), then exhale, letting the ball burrow itself deeper into the tissues of your chest (contract/relax technique). Repeat 3-5x.
- Roll the ball side to side, all the way to the side of the ribcage to massage the chest tissues. Pause where you feel extra tension and do a few more rounds of contract and relax.
Note: this sequence can also be done at the wall. Find more starting on page 185 of Jill Miller’s The Roll Model
Watch this space for Part Deux of my Yoga Tune Up® for Mammahood series for a more in depth look into keeping common aches and pains at bay, as well as a fantastic YTU sequence to release your hips and lower back!
LOVE this simple anterior sequence. The sternum is such an important overlooked area to work with with confounding anatomy that is more difficult to relate to (compared to our IT band for example.) Thanks for showing us a straight-forward effective way to work with our anterior thoracic ribcage.
Love this sequence!
I already do these breathing exercises on the Coregeous and plan to keep it up… pregnant or not!
One time I took regular YTU class and teacher thought us this but ohhhhhhh it was so hurt ! I didn’t realize how my abdominal organ get so stressed as well. This is a great way to get a gentle massage and pamper myself. As a bellydancer, I could move my belly more ease after coregeous massage!
This sounds heavenly! Can’t wait to give the Ribcage Reset a try after a stressful few weeks! Thanks for the inspiration!
Love it! The image of a net as the pelvic and the rib cage in a dome form, and I like to hear: your rib cage doesn’t not have to be a cage. We have to let movement get in!
I do agree that posture is a great place to start with pregnant women starting with tadasana.the yoga tune up .balls are a favourite with my pre-natal moms while they chat at the beginning of class they all take a ball and roll out their problem areas
Wow – this is exactly the sequence I need! Thank you for sharing. I have had rib flare/inflammation since my last pregnancy. This was then exasperated by carrying around a heavy baby turned toddler primarily on one side (bad I know!). When I went to see my doctor, she basically told me I was out of luck until I stopped carrying children around at which point it would probably diminish. I can’t wait to try this and feel the impact – thank you :).
Great information on aligning our body parts into good posture. I look forward to adding the coregeous ball to my practice.
Thanks for the useful information on how to align our body parts into good posture. With good posture, we can breathe properly!
Great description of how to find neutral. Coregeous ball is one of my favourites.
Great info! Very useful tool to give feedback to clients while practicing breathing and moving the ribs.
La posture est tellement importante dans la vie de tous les jours. Belle description de ce qu’une bonne posture devrait être. J’utilise le ballon pratiquement chaque soir avant le dodo. Il m’aide à me recentrer sur ma respiration et à bien me détendre. Super séquence. merci
Thanks for the great tips! I really like your net analogy for the ribcage!
I have a new mama student that will be coming back to class soon and will share this with her. It is information everyone can use – good posture is hard work!
I have tried the ball on my abdominal muscles and love/hate it. Rolling on my rib cage will be next on my list.
When I first started playing with the Coregeous ball, I mainly rolled on my abdomen, barely touching the sternum and ribcage. Then I discovered the upper back release from this ribcage reset move. Delicious! Thanks for the video, and the posture tips, too.
Very helpful visualization of good posture! Cannot wait to try the Coregeous ball since my stomach is often tight from stress and i can feel the restriction in the abdominal breath. Love the idea of not letting your ribcage become a cage!
This Coregeous ball routine helped me find space and breath where anxiety and tension had closed me off. Definitely useful to recover your thorasic breath.
This is a very useful break down of what good posture looks like. Something to keep in mind, especially for myself as I seem to be falling into the head forward position as a default.
I can’t wait to try this. I imagine that resting your sternum on the ball and flexing your thoracic spine over it is relaxing and helps realign that region.
This is so true: “Thanks to mobile devices, we now live in a forward head society.” And as a mother of a 15 (almost 16) year old boy that plays computer games non-stop with horrendous posture, I am afraid of having a hunchback twenty-something for a son! I try to correct his posture but … oh well… teenagers!
I love rolling the coregeous ball on the chest and rib cage! This really increases my breath through the chest and thoracic area. Plush, it’s great for all the lymph nodes and breast tissue in that highly neglected area.
Loved the simple tips on good posture! I think I grew an inch! Having proper alignment not only helps my body stay strong and release stress on areas of my body but allows me to take a deeper breath.
Your post helped me to visualize my posture into different sections and have a greater stance. It was so beneficial that you broke down each area into three body portions! Sometimes I forget how important posture is in every day life. Simple slouched shoulders can affect your breathing pattern. I realized when I slouch I feel out of breath more often and I do not consciously take deep breaths in and out. Taking deeper breaths can affect and subside headaches, stress, and much more! People do not realize how posture and breathing have a close connection! Our bodies will begin to form how we stand and if we can be conscious of how we hold ourselves it can easily change how we feel day to day. However, it can be harder work to stand straight and with a perfect posture. Most people just get tired from standing this way even though it is beneficial for you body, and breath.
As an RMT I work with pregnant women often and am very excited to have the opportunity to instruct a class with the focus on self care, by maintaining posture, and releasing tension with the Coregeous ball.