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Rib Anchor Help

Mikefarmer
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Rib Anchor Help

I started the Gokhale method diligently in March of 2011. The hardest part for me has been the rib anchor. It's also the thing that seems to be the main reason I have gotten rid of my back pain and leg problems. Finally, late last year I felt like I had finally "gotten it". But the last few weeks, I feel like I've lost it. It's very frustrating. Obviously I am doing something wrong, perhaps contracting the wrong muscles in addition to the right ones, but it is very difficult for me to maintain it without muscular tension and discomfort (mainly in the mid back). I can see by looking in the mirror that I've got it right looks-wise, but it's such a struggle to maintain it all the time, and it still hasn't become automatic after so long. Sometimes it feels effortless like I've got it perfectly, and other times it seems difficult to even engage it. Can anyone offer any suggestions that helped them?

Teacher
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12/15/2010 - 7:51am

Hi Mike,


First of all, I'm so glad to hear the the rib anchor has helped with your back pain.  Usually people who find the rib anchor to be helpful are people who generally have a sway or arched back.  With a sway, the erector spinae muscles (the long ones that run parallel to your spine) tend to be generally tight.  This is usually because they have been working overtime when you are standing and sitting, and it may be difficult to relax them.  In fact when the ribs are properly anchored down, those E.S. muscles are forced into a longer position, which can be uncomfortable if they are not ready to relax, or haven't lengthenend enough yet.  My advice is to keep Stretchsitting, Stacksitting, and implementing the Inner Corset.  All of these practices will help loosen your erectors and allow you some extra baseline length.  Then, when you are standing, walking, and stacksitting your rib anchor will have an easier time doing the work without those back muscles tensing up.  This will likely ease your mid-back pain which could be coming from where the erectors attach.  Remember: Relaxed muscles are LONGER than tense muscles.  Which, of course, is sometimes easier said than done.

Additionally, you may try the Rib Anchor exercises located in the Appendix of 8 Steps to a Pain-Free back. 

 

Good luck and let us how it goes!

 

Warmly,

Charlene Hannibal

Gokhale Method Teacher, Palo Alto and San Francisco

Mikefarmer
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Thanks for your response and advice, Charlene. I will keep at it!

 

Mike

 

 

Mikefarmer
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For clarification, on page 84 of the book, the rib anchor illustration shows an arrow pointing up in the back and down in the front of the figure. Does this indicate a kind of lifting motion with the back while rotating the front of the torso down and in? It's like you're pressing the back of your rib cage backward (as it says on pg. 198) which also results in a slight lifting of the spine/back? Does that sound correct?

Mikefarmer
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I'm still having a great deal of trouble getting the rib anchor right. I have been at this almost 3 years and though I have made progress I still struggle with it daily (I cannot afford to take a one on one or group class right now). I just do not know what I am doing wrong. How much effort is it supposed to take to keep the rib anchor in place? Because it seems to require an anormous amount of force/contraction to keep my ribs anchored down, and then my back muscles start to hurt, and it's just a constant effort. Is it possible that some people just cannot get this? At this point I just feel like giving up, it's very frustrating.

Mikefarmer
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06/21/2012 - 7:04pm

Shortly after writing this, I had a breakthrough with the rib anchor and I can now very easily get it right and keep it in place without force or a lot of effort. I guess i'ts just taken me longer than most but I'm glad I didn't give up!

postureguy
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I also find it difficult. When I do it, my upper back gets kyphotic rather than straight! Does that mean I don't need to do it? I do tend to pull my ribcage up and out. To overcome it, I slightly lower the front of my rib cage, as in Pilates zip up technique (but to a much lesser extent). How to do it? Also, my new gokhale cushion seems to be too short! it touches L5/S1 in the curve of my back, and then when  i set myshoulder blades, they come down onto it and detach my back from it ! Instructor, please advise! thanks! I don't want to hack up the cushion or fold it either, considering how much it costs. Can I return it to you guys and you can have the mfr shorten it?

-thinking of returning the cushion,

postureguy

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