24 gifts – day 6: Release your sternum and breath easier

Release your sternum

Release your sternum for an easier breath

Slow down on a Sunday with another embodiment from The Franklin Method

Normally, we don’t pay a lot of attention to our sternum when we think about how to mobilise the ribbasket to breath easier. So let’s try to release some tension around the sternum and discover if this has an effect on thoracic mobility and thus our breath.

As it is The Franklin Method I am adding some dynamic imagery. So throughout this sequence I have an image of my sternum, rib cartilage and ribs being made of soft & pliable wicker. This is why I call it ribbasket and not ribcage. To me the basket is made of wicker which has give, a cage is made of metal which hasn’t any give.

I am also imagening moving in the joints between the sternum and the rib cartilage, as if flexion and extension of my thorac could happen from there (it’s imagery ;o) – we can imaging anything we want and by this increase the movement experience).


What is the exercise about?

  • This exercise is about releasing tension around the sternum to increase thoracic mobility and thus facilitate breath.
  • Slowing down.
  • Notice your breath.
  • We add proprioceptive input by gently brushing the sternum and partly the rib cartilage and ribs.
  • We also use our fingers to “coax” the joint between the sternum and rib cartilage into “flexion and extension”.


What do I like about it?

  • It is a very calming and distressing sequence because it is slow, focusses on the breath and therefore stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system.
  • It is very useful for adding awareness to the breath.
  • In addition to that it also creates awareness the body’s natural breathing patterns when you flex and extend your thorac.
  • The proprioceptive elements stimulate the communication between the brain and body and there is therefore more clarity about where the movement happens.
  • You have the release aspect because you are brushing your myofascial system. The warm hands add another dimension – that of adding “heat” to release tension.
  • The exercise can easily be integrated into a pilates environment or any other training programme where you want to focus on breath or distressing.
  • This was a key exercise for my to increase my ability to flex my spine in the thoracic area and thus create release in my upper back. My kyphotic curve was non-existent, now at least it is small – hopefully not so small that you cannot see what I am trying to do ;o).


What prop do you need?

The best prop of them all – your hands … ;o)


Where to place the prop

  • On the sternum
  • On the joints between the sternum and the rib cartilage.


Which course/workshop is the exercise from?

  • The Franklin Method – Breathing

I taught this workshop as part of the training programme “Åndedrætsterapeut” in Skolen for åndedræt in Denmark.

If you are curious about The Franklin Method, take a look at their website or mine.

You might also be interested to know that The Franklin Method Teacher Training Level 1 will run in October 2021 in Denmark. You can read more about the first module here.


And here is the video …

Video length: 5:16 minutes


1 Comment

  1. Mariann Vendler on 30. December 2020 at 11:47

    I would like to attend 2nd January on Zoom.

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