Poses to Stretch Your Ribs

The Camel pose helps open and stretch your ribs.
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You may be experiencing pain in your midback and rib cage area due to muscle imbalances caused by poor posture. Poor posture causes a shortening of the muscles in the front of your midsection, while the muscles of your back become weak and overstretched. This results in rib cage immobility, which ultimately causes increased pain, according to "Yoga Journal." Rib cage stretches can promote flexibility and alleviate the associated midback pain caused by poor posture.

Standing Side Stretch

The standing side stretch helps to open the sides of your body, focusing on the rib cage and the intercostal muscles, the muscles that run between your ribs that help with breathing and rib cage stability. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your arms relaxed by your sides. Inhale and raise your left arm straight up over your head. Exhale and lean over to the right, keeping your hips facing forward and your buttocks tucked under. Lengthen your neck and stretch over as far as you can without compromising spinal alignment. Hold the pose for a few breaths, focusing on expanding your rib cage. On an exhalation, return to standing and repeat on the opposite side.

Full Locust Pose

The Full Locust pose increases rib cage flexibility and helps to firm your abdomen, upper arms, hips and thigh muscles. To perform this pose, lie on your stomach with your arms by your sides and your legs stretched out straight, toes pointed. Look down and rest your forehead on the floor, lengthening the back of your neck. Exhale and firm your buttocks while lifting your head, neck, shoulders, upper torso and legs off the floor. Your weight should rest evenly on your lower belly, ribs and front pelvis. Raise your arms a few inches off the floor, keeping them by your sides and parallel to the floor. Gaze slightly upward, keeping your neck in line with your spine. Stay in this pose for up to one minute, then slowly lower back down to the floor.

Camel Pose

The Camel pose is another back-bending pose that opens the entire front of your body and stretches your ribs. Start by kneeling on a yoga mat with your knees hip-width apart and your thighs at a 90-degree angle to the floor. Firmly press your shins into the floor. Slowly reach back to grab hold of your ankles or your heels with your hands, keeping your arms straight. Press your hips forward in line with your knees. Stretch your shoulders and chest and arch your back, but don't allow your ribs to overextend. Look up at the ceiling and drop your head back without compressing the neck. Stay in this pose for 30 seconds, then slowly release your heels and come back up to a kneeling position.

Revolved Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend

The Revolved Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend is a seated side stretch that lengthens the muscles between your ribs and pelvis and stretches the backs of your hamstrings. Sit on the floor with your legs stretched as wide apart as possible, keeping the knees bent if needed. Gently pull your buttocks away from each other with your hands. Inhale, raise your left arm over your head and stretch your spine, imagining that someone is lengthening your spine by pulling a string on the top of your head. Exhale and bend over to the right, keeping your left arm straight. Look up at the ceiling and stretch the entire side of your body. Hold the pose for 30 seconds, then return to your starting position. Repeat on the opposite side.

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