You may have noticed something in the last post. I freely interchange the words ribcage and breathing. I realize that we are talking about two separate things. One is a bony and cartilaginous framework, the other is an involuntary bodily function whereby the diaphragm muscle contracts and causes inhalation into the lungs and then the muscle releases and air is expelled. Now that this has been cleared up...
Over the years, through direct observation and communication with my clients, I have come to recognize traits associated with breathing and restricted movement between the ribs. Given that our ribcage framework protects and houses the lungs, the physiological response to the act of breathing is reverberated throughout it.
When one is chronically sick, stressed, or has a habitual posture, it shows itself in the movements (or lack thereof) in the ribcage. Why does this matter? Well, as we age, our lung capacity slowly diminishes, our bodies lose elasticity and gravity starts pulling us downward. Those things just happen. Then there are the aforementioned elements, which if added to what can happen with time, well, it can have an impact on overall wellbeing.
Through purposeful breathing we can: increase lung capacity, therefore oxygenate our blood better, increase elasticity in muscle tissue in and around the ribs and eventually reshape boney structures (muscles act on bones and there is a lovely relationship between bone and muscle)
The results of conscious breathing have a ripple effect. I have helped direct clients to breathe into certain parts of the body, but it is certainly possible to do so unassisted. Start paying attention to your breathing and notice the movements that accompany it. Concentrate on relaxing the abdomen, ribcage and throat. After a few breaths, start to change your focus. Once you're in tune with what you feel, start to try to breathe in all 3 dimensions. Just try that and do it daily. Let me know what you start to notice.