In breathing exercises I am told that my rib cage should be expanding. How can I tell if it is expanding?
Good question. When doing deep breathing exercises, it can be hard to tell at first whether the rib cage is expanding enough.
Here are three ways to find out:
1. Place your hands on your sides, at a height about a hand's width higher than the belly button. Your hands should be resting on your rib cage. With each breath in, the ribs should move about an inch out to the sides.
2. Look in the mirror as you breathe. You will notice your entire upper body moving. Your sides will get wider as you breathe in, and move inward as you breathe out. As long as you can see some movement, your rib cage is expanding sufficiently.
3. Place one hand on your chest and one hand on your stomach. You will feel both hands rise with each breath by approximately half an inch.
In the video below, you can see an example of deep breathing. Watch for the movement of my sides as I demonstrate deep breathing - you can see expansion out to the sides with each breath.