Continuing on with my series on easier birth, here's another way that we can ease the birthing process. Decreasing intra-abdominal pressure. We have a lot of upward pressure in the abdomen created from years of sucking in- whether to make our belly look flatter, or to "engage the core." Have you ever heard a fitness instructor tell you to "pull your belly in towards your spine" ? Chances are, what you were doing was not in fact engaging your deep core musculature, but just sucking your belly in and increasing the pressure in the abdomen. And when we suck in we are actually also sucking UP and thereby the pressure gradient is moving upwards.
THEN, come time to push anything out- whether it be something that you push out into the toilet once a day or.... the much cuter.... A BABY. We have to push harder to push against the upward force to create enough pressure downward to cause baby or, um, something else, to move down and out.
BUT there is hope! We can begin to release that pressure by de-training our bodies from sucking in all the time. Most of the time, we don't even realize the habits we have formed over our lifetime. So here is a little exercise that will help you begin to release the belly and be mindful about it more during the day.
Relaxing the belly doesn't mean that we never fire the abdominal muscles. It means that they shouldn't be on *all the time.* And most of us don't even know how to fire them properly. Pulling the "belly to the spine" is not an adequate cue for engaging the core because it leaves out the transversalis (our god given girdle and deepest core!) entirely.
If you are local and want to learn more about the core I have a workshop coming up in November where we will be doing some great exercises to help heal and strengthen our abdominals. We will release our bellies as well... they shouldn't be turned on ALL THE TIME. They should be able to respond to the need to turn on, but they should be able to relax as well. For better birth, and for better digestion!
Here's the event page
Please email to register! There is a pelvic floor class and a class for birth professionals in November as well! And as always- I do private sessions as well!
ALSO- if you're having pelvis issues- imagine when we suck in that all that would be hanging out has not disappeared.... it's just displaced our organs. And the organs gotta go somewhere so sometimes... it's outward causing prolapse issues! So sucking in causes a lot of damage and not just to the pushing process of birth- though that's the issue I choose to cover mostly in today's post!
Have a fabulous day!! Enjoy the beautiful fall!
We found out during my last blog post about rib thrust that when we drop our ribs we not only reveal our hyper kyphosis (over rounding of the thoracic spine), but we also reveal just how much our head is going out in front of our bodies. When you enter the room, is your head entering the room first? If so, you've got a case of the turtle heads. This is really hard on your cervical spine, which is being displaced (neck pain and/or headaches anyone?)
So I've created a 5 minute video that you can watch to learn some SUPER SIMPLE exercises that you can do on your own, hopefully multiple times throughout the day, to help yourself. I've also demonstrated "head ramping" which will help your neck find a more natural alignment. While you're sitting at a computer, which we all inevitably have to do in this modern world, try to ramp your head back so your not "turtle heading" as much.
(Title of this post is meant to be sung to the tune of the Salt-N-Peppa song. Anyone anyone????)
Rib thrust.... baby, it's about you and your core it's about all the back pain and the degeneration it creates. Let's talk about rib thrust.
Okay, maybe it's a good thing I didn't go into song writing as a career. Moving on.
Rib thrust. It's ridiculously easy to spot it in a yoga class.
It's pretty easy to spot in everyday life as well. Ever been told to "pull your shoulders back" for good posture? Or to "stop slouching"? What do you do to create a better supposed posture? You thrust your ribs. Right? Well I say stop it! It may look better to hide the problem, but it's not addressing it. So you are causing yourself unnecessary pain and degeneration of the back and are instantly weakening your core.
Rib thrust causes pain and degeneration of the thoracic spine. It causes excessive compression on the vertebra that are being distorted. And we mustn't forget that our spine is protecting our spinal cord and nerves- so we risk compromising those when we are causing harm to the vertebrae.
It also weakens the core. I just did a talk at the Twin Cities Birth and Baby Expo on Diastasis Recti (abdominal separation) and a HUGE HUGE HUGE piece of the puzzle is rib cage alignment. When we thrust our ribs, we weaken our core. It is not longer able to fire properly to do it's job. With the added stress of pregnancy (or heck- even without that! Plenty of people get issues without pregnancy) the core has nothing to do but to split.
So- what does dropping the ribs actually look like?
Our bottom rib should be lined up with our ASIS (anterior superior iliac spine) and our pubic symphysis (check it video below to see a demo). This is easier said than done as our bodies have likely been thrusting for a long time. Plus, we look like THIS when we stop thrusting:
Rib thrusting hides our hyper kyphosis (aka hunchback-ness) and also our turtle neck poking out in front of us. Mind you, it doesn't FIX it. It doesn't actually address it at all. So once we start dropping the ribs- then we can start addressing the issues that have led to the hyperkyphosis, truly. It can be emotional, it can feel weird to start seeing ourselves the way we really are. But I promise you- the first step in fixing it is knowing that it's there!
You core will thank you. Your back will thank you. Your whole freaking body will thank you.
Rib thrust is really big in yoga classes. I know because I'm a yoga instructors. BUT It's so important in yoga classes that you go to that you keep your ribs down during the poses. It looks a lot nicer to thrust the ribs and get way "deep" into a pose... but it's not helping you in any way, and it's actually just doing you harm. So- leave your ego at the door and drop dem ribs, save your core. Even if everyone else in the room is thrusting their ribs- be the first person not to! I cue rib dropping in my yoga classes and I find it REALLY important.
And don't get me started on rib thrust during pregnancy (which I happen to be, by the way). It's rare to find a pregnant mom without pretty significant rib thrust. Add the weakened unyielding core with the intra abdominal pressure and the growing baby and you have a recipe for abdominal separation! BUT- if we can drop the ribs both mindfully and by releasing the muscles which are holding them in the thrusted position (like the PSOAS), then we can protect our core (and our back)!
Here is a super short video of me showing rib thrust vs. dropping the ribs. I tried to just take photos but... my photo both gives me 3 seconds and that is NOT enough time to take anything worth showing... believe me I try and I look ridiculous!
Crap, now what do I do? I look so slouchy and gross.
first... don't panic. Like I already said, the first step in changing something is knowing it's there.
2nd- here are my suggestions for quick classes to help you address your hyper-kyphosis (slouchy rounded upper back)
Also, you can check out a couple of Alignment snacks. They are just $5 and you can download them and watch them over and over. I do 1 alignment snack every day, without fail. It's awesome. Click the link below and I recommend:
~A Real Pain in the Neck
~Can't get enough shoulders
~Everyone needs a little shoulder bolster
~Frankie Says relax the psoas
Click to set custom HTML
And you're on your way to a stronger core, eliminating back pain, and feeling just WONDERFUL!!
Mama Aligned is Lindsay McCoy.