Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Slumping and your ribs at work

Here is the second post that relates to slumping as we sit. In October 2013, we explored how to gently lengthen between the pubic bone and the lower ribs, and up to the head.

Now we are looking at the ribs, and how they are involved in lengthening and widening the body. 

First, the ribs form a moveable cage, extending right up to the collarbone, which is actively involved in our breathing. Our rib cage can become compressed and rigid as we sit still for long periods. So start now to simply observe your breathing.

Second, it is very common for the lower ribs to project forward, our shoulders to pull back, and our lower back to tighten. Watch for this tendency in yourself and in others. It can often happen as we straighten up out of a slump,

Experiment  – Allowing our lower ribs to release back
As you experiment, be conscious of your feet on the floor, and allow your head to float up towards the ceiling, slightly in front of you.

Find the lowest part of your rib cage with your fingers, noting how the lowest ribs angle up towards the centre. Run the tips of the fingers inwards along the tummy muscles just underneath where they connect to those ribs. Gently press into those muscles for a few seconds – asking the muscles to soften. You can move the hand around a little, repeating the light pressure.

Did your breathing change? Did you notice a change in your neck muscles, your shoulders, lower back or anywhere else?

Now run your fingers outwards, down along the ribs – be conscious of your breath out and in, and think how wide the body is at the lower ribs. You can also try these activities in front of the bathroom mirror. Perhaps you can visibly see a change.

Thought bubble - Again ask for length up the front of your body - from the pubic bone to where the lower ribs meet, and from there up to the top of the head.
This young girl is subtly thrusting her lower ribs forward as she pulls her whole upper back backwards slightly, even though she is beautifully free in the neck and shoulders. (Why? - the desk is too high for her arms)
There is a natural curve further down your back – softening and releasing the ribs doesn’t mean losing this curve.
Experiment - breathing naturally
At the end of the out-breath, just pause before allowing the in-breath to come in naturally. Play with how many seconds you can comfortably pause. Did this change your breathing and movement of the rib cage?
Movement at our joints gives us a range of comfortable sitting positions. Just make sure these positions don’t impede our breathing, interfere with muscular actions or hinder our internal organs. “Varying these positions is the essence of "good sitting" work.”
(source: Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety http://goo.gl/rRfxWc)


About my earlier blog posts - I have just discovered that images in many of them have disappeared. I will battle it out with the gremlins responsible for this, and replace them as soon as possible.

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