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  • Julie Phillips

Posture 101: rib cage and shoulders

I mean, there's a lot to unpack in this image. But this week, as we start to address the front body (during winter, focus was on the back - see previous post) we've been observing how, when we free up the rib cage with Yamuna work, it helps improve the shoulders -- the slump when we are upright, the not-touching-the-floor when we're lying down. It makes it really, really hard to work through the Pilates exercises correctly.

So we start with the most obvious when it comes to looking at the front. It's easy to spot bad posture with just a glance at the shoulders, right? The rolling forward slump. Some of our mamas would see it and tell us to sit up straight. So we jacked 'em back, thrusting the ribs forward. And in case no one told you or your mama (or every dude in the military), that ain't it.

But that's where we get lost. What, then? How do we get good posture???

I know, right? Unless/until you feel it, it's like searching for buried treasure.

I remember giving the cue to someone to let their ribcage sink back into the mat, and they looked at me like I was crazy. But using the Yamuna ball to release the front, back and side ribs, ahhhhhhh, all this tension they didn't know was there... gone. Then it made sense. "OK, I can feel that," they said. "Yes."

So look at the above pic -- and this one:

See where the shoulder blades are? You can work on them all day every day, but until the ribs and spine are corrected, Sisyphus.

Abs, y'all. It's why Pilates and Yamuna go hand in hand. Loosen up the muscles with Yamuna work so they have a fighting chance to get you into better alignment when you start moving through the strengthening exercises of Pilates. Is it a lot? Yes. But what else are you going to do? Keep exercising with bad posture so it ... gets further locked in? It's what most people do.

But if you're in it to truly heal your body, I'll see you in class.

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