This ‘how-to’ is a follow-up to the post “Breathing During Pregnancy”.
The rib cage (not just the belly), as well as the breastbone (sternum) and the back of the rib cage, are all involved with three-dimensional breathing.
- Place your hands at the sides of the lower ribs to begin the exercise, while comfortably seated and with a backrest or against a wall.
- Let your belly and lower ribs expand side-to-side against the gentle resistance of your hands as you breathe in. Bring your attention to the movements in that area.
- Just one hand should be placed on your sternum, high on the center of your chest so that you can feel both the expansion of your rib cage side-to-side and top-to-bottom as you inhale (the hand should rise subtly toward your chin).
- If you notice your chin lifting up or forward, tuck it a bit.
- Leave your hands where they are, and shift your awareness to where your back is touching the chair or wall behind you.
- During inhalation, notice the slight pressure increase against your back as your rib cage expands front-to-back.
During pregnancy, practice breathing into your side ribs (including right under your arms) and your back in order to not rely solely on the shrinking space in your abdomen.
See an osteopath or yoga therapist if you find that your breathing isn’t bringing a small amount of movement side-to-side or into the back of your body, or if this causes painful or uncomfortable symptoms.
If you are limited in your breath due to a postural or musculoskeletal issue while pregnant, you will want to seek the help of a professional osteopath or yoga therapist who understands the physiology of pregnancy.