Therapeutic Interventions

One Lung Breathing

By Denise Vidal

In previous blogs, I took you through some fundamental Pilates’ exercises to exemplify how the breath aids in core support. I mentioned how the breath should be felt three dimensionally, moving through the front, back, and sides of your body. I also mentioned that the breath can be focused in either the abdomen or in the ribcage.

All of these posts asked you to explore your breath in a supine position (lying on your back), sitting and standing. However, sometimes accessing different dimensions of your body is difficult in a forward facing position. The following is an awareness exercise that will allow you to increase your ability to expand the ribcage three dimensionally. In addition, this exercise can be done before your go to sleep to aid in relaxation.

Lie on your right side with a pillow under your ribcage and under your head. You want to have a space between the two pillows to allow for your upper arm and shoulder to rest. Wrap your left hand (top hand) around the bottom of your left side ribcage, with your thumb on your back ribs. Take a deep inhale and feel your ribcage expand into your hand. As you exhale, feel your ribcage fall back down. Take 2-3 breaths with your hand here, feeling your ribcage opening more with each breath.

Slowly move your hand up your ribcage, wrapping it around your mid- ribs, then under your arm pit, then finally on the top of your shoulder (your first rib is underneath your clavicle and the top of your shoulder blade), taking 2-3 breaths in each position.

When you have finished, stretch your left arm over your head and feel your ribs lengthen away from your pelvis.

Sit up slowly and feel the difference between your left and right side ribcage.

Take a deep breath and feel how you can expand the left side ribcage more than the right. Lift your left and right arm separately to feel how the range of motion differs. When you’re ready lie on your left side and repeat the whole exercise.

You can do this exercise as often as you would like to increase your awareness.

Give it a try and leave a reply to let me know how it goes.

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