In my last post, I discussed the muscles associated with the rib cage and spine. Now that you’re familiar with the areas we’ll target, gather your Coregeous® Ball, a block and a blanket.
Find a quiet space where you won’t be distracted by family members, cell phones, or pets. Lie on your back and place one hand on your belly and the other across your chest. Check in with your breath, and feel the natural pace of the full cycle of your breath. Initiate abdominal-thoracic breathing, a two-part technique, by inhaling a breath to swell your belly then up towards your rib cage, and imagine the spreading of the ribs. On exhalation, feel both the rib cage contract and the belly soften. Continue for a few rounds of breath.
Lie on your stomach and place the Coregeous® Ball underneath your sternum, cross your forearms, and commence thoracic breathing exercises. Breathe only into the rib cage, and pay attention to the movement of the ribs. Feel how they expand and contract during the full cycle of breath. Alex demonstrates this technique in the video below.
Flip to your back and place the Coregeous® Ball halfway down your spine. Clasp your hands behind your head and lay the back of your head on the floor. If this option creates too much of an extension in your spine for you to feel comfortable, place a blanket or a block underneath your head to reduce the amount of the backbend. Incorporate thoracic breathing again and continue for 3-5 minutes.
Building on, add a back massage and lift the back of your head away from the ground and slide the ball towards the upper back between your shoulder blades and lay back down. Then breathe in and lift your hips and head away from the floor, breathe out and lower your hips and head. Now, lift your hips and head and side bend to the right (contract the ribs and the pelvis towards one another and keep the shoulders at the same height of the hips). Then flex towards the left. Continue right and left but take your time, move slowly. Finally, with your hips and head at center, lower to the floor.
Remove the Coregeous® Ball and continue to lie on your back with bent knees. Stay here for a few breaths and re-check your breath with abdominal-thoracic breathing. Rest your arms by your side and observe the calm and peace you’ve cultivated.
I have incorporated this work into my nightly routine before bedtime and I’ve noticed the quality of my sleep has increased tremendously!
These moves are genius. I love having the physical reference of the ball to feel into as I breathe, especially when lying on my belly. This routine helped me to feel freedom os restriction in my mid-thoracic which is often locked up.
This is so essentail, thanks for the instructions.
I have tried placing the ball under my sternum, which I love. Trying the rest tonight. Thanks!
I like the use of the coregeous ball on the sternum, I’ve only used it on my belly, lateral ribs and back – I’m going to try this tonight!
I love this! I will definitely be using this practice. Thank you so much, Monica
I agree, this is one of my favorite things to do before going to sleep.
My kiddos love it too and they seem to go off into a metaphysical dreamland….they call it a squish.
Good for them and good for me.
I am always seeking ways to teach relaxation with the therapy balls. This one goes in my toolbox for myself and for those I teach
Love this! Don’t let your rib cage become a cage!
Breathing on my Coregeous ball has recently become my favorite thing to do… in the morning, after a workout and at night before bed. Having the tactile sense of the ball on my body has helped me connect with my breath in a new way. Thanks for the insightful article!
My sleep has been restless this past year (up to my eyeballs in studying). I have a nightly pranayama practice but this can be incorporated into it.
Looking forward to a restful sleep!
I never have difficulty falling asleep, it’s the staying asleep part that eludes me. Will try this before bed tonight! Thanks Monica:)
I have only used the coregous ball on my belly and not on my back. Definitely going to try this technique and incoprate into my evening routine…Thank you!
Wonderful! I am going to try this tonight before bed! Thank you!
I carry a lot of tension in my upper body making breathing tough sometimes and anxiety inducing. I received my Coregeous® Ball last week and have done the mentioned exercises twice and have felt a difference right away. Breathing was instantly easier – thank you.
Thank you, Monica! This sequence has not only been beneficial to taking a deeper breath, but also more releasing the tension in my thoracic spine.
Thank you for this step by step how to, Monica. I have had the coreageous ball in my tool box for some time and haven’t been able to use it nearly to its full potential. This is a great exercise to add to my tool box to reccomend to anyone with breathing and sleep problems, I look forward to seeing how it will affect my own night time routine!!
My ribs always feel stuck and I have difficulty getting full breaths in. It’s been suggested that this can partially be due to stress related psoas constriction. I look forward to experimenting with this to see if I can open both my rib cage and release my psoas.
The corgeous ball is my favorite piece of equipment out of the YTU toolbox and I use it frequently. One thing I have discovered, though, is that in my experience at least, it is surprisingly powerful, so much so that when I use it, I find I have to bring a lot of self-awareness to its use, because if I just stick it somewhere and roll indiscriminately, I can pretty easily trigger some type of overwhelm and end up with a headache or even flu-like symptoms for a while. I’m curious as to whether anyone else has experienced something similar or has had feedback from students about that type of experience.
My mom has asthma and I have been teaching her breathing exercises as well as encouraging her to practice her breath on the Coregeous ball. She has noticed a significant difference in her endurance and uses her asthma pump significantly less often. I love the Coregeous ball for its benefits on breathing as well as for stress release and down regulation.
I’ve never tried the coregeous lying on my back. I’m excited to try this before bed tonight.
These are my 2 favourite ways to use the coreageous ball! I love it under the belly as well which is great to get to the belly brain and ease, release anxiety. I think on your back, under the thoracic spine should be done by everyone every morning or evening. With the amount of time spent on the computer and texting, and the gradual flexion of the spine as we get older, never mind the breathing benefits! Thank you for sharing!:-)
This is fantastic, I have. Friend who I know will really benefit from this- can’t wait to share this with her!
Thank you for this….I would like to learn how to use the Coregeous Ball in this way.
This is a great routine for me to try since I hold a lot of tension in my upper back after sitting at a computer or driving most of the day. This will be a welcome relief before bed after a busy day. Thanks for the great tips Monica!
This reminds me of the core immersion training and my discovery then of all that could be done for the rib cage with such a simple tool.
J’adore tout simplement le Coregeous ball! Tellement agréable le massage qu’il offre au corps. Merci pour les idées je vais définitivement les explorer à la maison 🙂
This is great for tension so many people hold in this area. A nice feeling of openness and space. I’m going to try this before bed next time. Thanks, susan
Ces techniques de massage peuvent être très profitables pour les adeptes de sports d’endurance cardio vasculaire. Je pense entre autre à la course à pied, à quel point nous mettons l’emphase durant ces entraînements sur la posture pour permettre un meilleur dégagement des voies respiratoires. Le coregeous ball est un incontournable à notre routine quotidienne pour éveiller la mobilité de notre cage thoracique.
Merci pour le partage, cela me donne des idées pour des petites capsules sportives !
Je roule régulièrement le Coregeous ball sur mon ventre mais je ne pense jamais a faire le même exercice sur mon dos. Absolument certaine que mon dos va adorer. Je vais l’inclure à ma routine avant de dormir. merci
I love this work with the Coregeous Ball for opening up the ribs and the feeling of creating more space in the thoracic area. I can’t wait to try this before bed at night. What a great idea. I know it feels wonderful after a long day at work sitting over a computer. What a great chest opener. Thanks, Monica.