Gokhale Moment: Rib Anchor

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Hello and thank you for this helpful video.

I have your book and am practicing with it for more than a year already.

 

One of the problems I find is when I tuck the ribcage I don't know how to breath!

I was trained to breath to the stomach (as a singer) and I also find that my ribs tend to "stand out" to the front...

I would appreciate a tip about breathing in this situation...

 

Thanks

Sharon

Hi Sharon,

Yes, this can be challenging in the beginning. If you are accustomed to breathing in your belly (good for singing, but not the ideal baseline breathing mechanism), then using the rib anchor adds some resistance against your usual action and you may experience difficulty breathing.

I recommend "forcing" the breath a little from time to time to stretch out any tightness in your pectoral and intercostal muscles (that have not been stretched adequately over the years because of diminished chest breathing). Over days and weeks chest breathing will become easier. As a bonus. your new chest breathing pattern will also be putting a healthy stress on your ribs, "growing" them over time so you have a bigger rib cage and more lung capacity, which can only help you as a singer.


Good luck and pls keep us posted!

Thanks for the tip. So much easire to use the fists to anchor!

Great reminder.

Neelima Pandit

For years I was told to 'tuck my butt'. In combination with an injury and heavy wear, my thoracic spine had become stiff and inflexible.  When I began attempting the Gokhale technique to correct my sway back, I, too, felt unable to breathe.  With practice and an exercise suggested by my physical therapist in which I lay on the floor (knees up), intertwine my fingers while extending my arms overhead and focus my inhale into my chest cavity while expanding and lifting my rib cage. On the slow exhale of breath I feel the ribs relax even flatter into the floor.  It's amazing!  I'm actually standing taller and finding myself able to practice this technique as I move about throughout the day.  The stabbing pain under by shoulder blade is almost non existent.  I can now breathe into the pain!  It takes some conscious effort and commitment to alter old patterns at the age of 64, but it is so worth the effort!  Thank you, Esther!  I only wish I'd had this information and awareness 40 years ago!

Blessings,

Marie

For years I was told to 'tuck my butt'. In combination with an injury and heavy wear, my thoracic spine had become stiff and inflexible.  When I began attempting the Gokhale technique to correct my sway back, I, too, felt unable to breathe.  With practice and an exercise suggested by my physical therapist in which I lay on the floor (knees up), intertwine my fingers while extending my arms overhead, focusing my inhale into the chest cavity allowing the rib cage to expand and lift upward. On the slow exhale of breath I feel the ribs relax downward, flatter into the floor.  It's amazing!  I'm actually standing taller and finding myself able to practice this technique as I move about throughout the day.  The stabbing pain under by shoulder blade is almost non existent.  I can now breathe into the pain!  It takes some conscious effort and commitment to alter old patterns at the age of 64, but it is so worth the effort!  Thank you, Esther!  I only wish I'd had this information and awareness 40 years ago!

Blessings,

Marie

We see a lot of people in our courses for whom this is THE most important technique to learn. Often, this coincides with it being a challenging technique to learn and remember to do. At first, the teacher has to work quite hard to help these students understand the move and find it in their brain and body. Then comes the phase of needing very frequent hand-on reminders. Soon the student can do the action on her own - and does so as she sees the teacher approaching (which can be quite funny!) Before the end of the course, students are usually finding the action on their own without the trigger of the teacher approaching.

Of course, the end point we are all after is that this becomes a steady habit. This takes some time. For example, I habitually have my rib cage "anchored" in ordinary circumstances but if I am physically or emotionally stressed, I sometimes find myself swaying. Conversely, by focusing on maintaining my rib anchor in emotionally and phsysically stressful situations, I can mitigate the stress quite effectivley. An example is when I play table tennis. The competitive aspect of the game might induce me to regress to a swayed position. By focusing on the rib anchor, I have a fine way to steady my game and play better.

The hardest part of the rib anchor for me has been finding the right muscles to contract, as I have tended to contract the lower abdominal muscles in addition to the obliques which just makes my stomach uncomfortably tense. Also, I find that when I engage the rib anchor and then roll the shoulders and lift the neck that it pulls me out of the rib anchor and into a sway, and it feels like pulling in two opposite directions to get all three elements - ribs, shoulders and neck - in alignment. Is that the correct feeling? It can be very frustrating but I keep at it because my back and right leg tell me if I have it wrong (I have a bad swayback and I think some kind of misalignment in my lower back/spine or pelvis which effects my right knee and leg though not the left for some reason) but it still takes a a lot of effort and focus to keep it engaged and to keep the lower abdomen relaxed as well (I also believe that chronic abdominal bloating also makes it more difficult). But this is the only thing that seems to work!

 I too have the same challenge and would be grateful for a reply as to how to anchor my ribs correctly. Thanks!