Class this past week focused on opening the side body to energize and enliven the body, mind and spirit. The intercostal muscles underneath each rib are part of your respiratory muscles. When they are open, you can breathe more deeply.
In class, we created an environment in the body to breath deeply and to bring in health, freedom and an openness to new possibilities. The ability to breath lets us feel and be sensitive and open to our practice, the new day, the new year. We approached practice following the breath as the teacher.
Students took deep inhales to feel their ribs expand. We did two breathing exercises with our hands on our ribs, and then our hands on our heart to feel where and how the breath moves through the body. Students noticed when the ribs opened that the intercostals got a deep stretch which lead to wide open breathing which energized and enlivened the body!
Poses included lots of side bending! Within a vinyasa practice, yogis felt how cobra backbends were great for opening their ribcage. They found in plank pose if they pressed their heart forward, pressed their heels back, lifted their belly away from the floor … then they could expand the back of their lungs. As students practiced exalted warrior and exalted triangle poses, I asked them to feel space open up between every rib.
Free time mid way through class allowed students to chose a pose that helped them get longer and stretched their side body and ribs. Many chose handstand variations, but a variety of asanas were explored. Second half of practice included side plank, Goddess, gate, thigh stretch, pigeon, backbends and closing with a side stretch in janu sirsasana plus a closing supine twist with abs. To deep, nourishing breaths, Lynn