“How many of you have heard, ‘Lift your sternum’? You can [do that], but it’s not going to do your back any good.”
How can freeing your ribs from your spine and having awareness of the movement of your xiphoid process change the quality and ease of your movement? Bonnie beautifully demonstrates relationship of movement of the sternum, ribs, spine and heart.
A community member recently had a question about the above quote. The quote is from this video clip of Bonnie teaching on the relationship between the sternum and the ribs.
Question: How this can be applied to pregnant women, especially in late pregnancy when there can be a lot of compression into the lower ribs and a ‘hunch’ forward and restriction into the chest area because of downward pull of baby?
Bonnie: One way to create easier breathing that will spread the distribution of muscular action across the diaphragm is to explore the outward swing of the xiphoid process to initiate inhalation and to release the xiphoid process inward to initiate exhalation. This will also provide greater diaphragmatic support of the thoracic and lumbar spine.
If the xiphoid process pulls inward during inhalation, it is called a reversed diaphragmatic action. This can be caused by a newborn’s first breath being a gasp-like action, and can be seen in a newborn whose breathing is strained.
We can consciously change this patterns by swinging the xiphoid process forward before beginning to inhale, and releasing it backward before beginning to exhale. This is a breathing practice and one I did to reverse the pattern I had of pulling my xiphoid process inward to inhale. It did take consciously practicing it for some time before it freed fully and became automatic.