We all can use better shoulder, rib, and waist mobility for optimal breathing. I’m going to teach you a stretch that helps.
Side Bend: Standing up in your own personal version of “straight”, reach your arms over head and, clasping your hands, bend your body to the side. And, P.S. Don’t let your hips jut out to the side. Keep them anchored right above your feet.
Here’s a picture to help:
Now, find a wall. And using this new tool of objectivity, get yourself lined up so that, while your feet remain a few inches for the wall, your bottom (no tucking the pelvis!) your bra strap (or bro strap, gentlemen) and the back of your head are on the wall. Now, reach your arms over your head until your hands touch the wall overhead. Make sure someone places their thumb over the camera if they take your picture, just for consistency.
You might find that, keeping your body vertical, you aren’t able to get your arms up as you did in the first exercise. Also, make sure you didn’t tuck your pelvis when you thought you were dropping the ribs back to the wall (this is a pretty common body-confusion). See pic:
Now do that same side bend, using the wall to keep you in the correct alignment for the exercise.
How does being aligned during the exercise compare to when you thought you were aligned doing the exercise?
Objectivity is a fantastic tool that enable us to see better, how things really are. It is a lot easier not to look, I know, but to see something as it is, and not how you see it through the glasses of your personal experience, is the key to whole-body wellness.
Using tools like floors, walls, straight edges, and alignment markers will bring a level of awareness to your personal practice of movement. These tools keep us honest.
Now go play with the exercises and see how using the wall as tour guide helps reveal your actual muscular boundaries. See if you can travel across the distance that is separating you in your body from you in your mind. All of your yous should be in alignment with each other.
“What can we gain by sailing to the moon if we are not able to cross the abyss that separate us from ourselves? This is the most important of all voyages of discovery, and without it, all the rest are not only useless, but disastrous.”