Yoga for Rib Displacement

Processed with VSCO with q4 preset

My sister recently reached out to me for some suggested yoga moves after she experienced a rib dislocation. A condition new to me, I started digging into some online research to discover just what the heck this was, what causes it, and how to best heal and/or avoid having this happen in the first place. Here’s what I uncovered…

Rib subluxation is more common than we realize.

Since ribs 8, 9, and 10 are simply connected to each other by loose fibrous tissue, instead of directly connected to the sternum (like our other ribs), they’re most susceptible to trauma, injury, or hypermobility. One strong sneeze could cause a displaced rib!

So how do we avoid this?

Strengthen your Connective Tissue!

Side stretches and gentle backbends are wonderful for strengthening your connective tissue and adding flexibility to the intercostal muscles that wrap between ribs. The below sequence is simple, yet effective. Do it all together or split it up if you’re short on time.

  1. Banana Pose – Shift shoulders to upper right corner, then right foot followed by the left foot (possibly crossing on top). Hold & Breathe. Maybe edge over even more, then repeat on Left.
  2. Add Blocks in a “T” shape, then recline over. Narrow block between the shoulder blades, wide block under your head for support.
  3. Hold & Breathe. Either keep feet flat on the floor or butterfly the legs for a bonus hip opener.
  1. Anahata aka Puppy Pose – from tabletop (knees under hips, hands under shoulders), walk hands forward then begin to lower your chest towards the floor. Add blocks under hands or forearms for increased flexibility.
  2. Low Lunge w/ Side Stretch – from tabletop, step right leg between hands. Lift torso. Use blocks to support right hand as you extend and reach out and over with the left hand. Repeat on Left Side.
  3. Garudasana aka Eagle Arm Stretch – sit on heels (block or blanket), reach arms forward, crossing the right over the left, bending at elbows. Press forearms together or wrap to press palms. Begin to round forward. Reach fingertips forward and forearms down. Breathe into the spaciousness of your shoulder blades. Shake head out to release any tension. Repeat with left arm on top.
  4. Inhale to reach arms up, then bring palms together behind your back interlacing fingers or holding a strap. If comfortable straighten arms and gently move hands from side to side. Repeat with opposite thumb on top.

Wrap out this side body opening sequence with another round of Banana Pose, before finishing in Savasana. Give yourself 3-10 minutes in your final resting pose. You deserve it!