Tuesday 19th March - Ribcages and Raindrops

This Week's Class Notes... Anatomy of Your Ribcage

When we do our breathing practice in class I often invite people to pay attention to how the ribcage moves with each breath.  It's possibly the only time that most people ever think about this part of the body so I thought I'd shine the spotlight on it here on the blog this week so you can get a better understanding of it.

The job of the ribcage, or the thoracic cage as it is also known, is to protect your heart and your lungs from injury. It also protects part of the spleen, stomach and kidneys.  This bony, protective box is also amazingly flexible and mobile, enabling you to move in all directions.  It consists of 12 pairs of ribs and the sternum, the flat bone running down the centre of the chest, also known as the breastbone. At the back of the body the ribs are joined by cartilage to the 12 thoracic vertebrae of your spine. At the front of the body your first rib is joined to the top section of the sternum, known as the manubrium. The 2nd and all the way down to the 7th ribs are joined to the main body of the sternum - these are known as true ribs. Ribs 8-12 are known as the false ribs - 8-10 are not directly connected to the sternum but to each other, and ribs 11 and 12 are only joined on to the spine and are not connected at all at the front - these are also known as floating ribs.

20190317When you inhale the ribcage lifts up to allow your lungs to fill up. When you exhale the ribcage moves down to help squeeze the air out of your lungs, like this...

If you're interested in learning more about anatomy this website www.innerbody.com provides clear explanations and diagrams. 

Next week we'll take a look at some of the muscles that are attached to the ribcage so you can continue to get to know this fascinating part of your body a little more.

This Week's Recipe... West African Peanut Soup

I love soup. I'm sure you know this already as I post so many soup recipes here on the blog, but it's such a good way to eat nutritious food. Quick and easy to prepare and, if you make a large batch, it's ready and waiting in the fridge when you want it and just needs a few minutes to heat it before you eat it!

This one is thick, creamy, vegan and completely delicious.

You will need:

1.25 litres of vegetable stock (I always use Marigold Vegetable Bouillon) for the best flavour
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons of peeled and minced fresh ginger
2 cloves of garlic
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and chopped
1 pack of pre-shredded spring greens (or chop them yourself if you buy them from the greengrocers)
190g peanut butter (smooth or crunchy, but unsalted)
100g tomato puree
hot sauce such as sriracha
50g of chopped peanuts for garnish

And here's how to make it:

  • Fry the chopped onion, ginger, and garlic in a large saucepan until soft then add the stock.
  • Then in a separate bowl mix the peanut butter and tomato paste, using about 300ml of the stock to help it combine, and whisk until smooth.
  • Pour the peanut mixture into the saucepan and mix well with the stock.
  • Add the chopped sweet potato and cook over a low to medium heat, stirring often, for about 15 minutes until the sweet potato is soft.
  • Add the spring greens plus a blob of hot sauce to taste and simmer for about 10-15 more minutes.
  • Allow to cool enough to put in the blender and whizz until smooth.
  • Reheat and serve with the chopped peanuts sprinkled on top.


Yes I know this looks just like last week's Carrot Soup but I swear it's completely different - it's just the same colour ;-) 

This Week's Mother Nature's Magic... A Fern Unfurling

A short reminder of what is going on outside at the moment while we are indoors. We're missing the magic! A study of 1,000 UK office workers found that almost 40% spend a maximum of just 15 minutes per day outside, excluding their commute to work, and an additional 22% spend a maximum of 30 minutes outside. This is even less than prisoners, who are required to have ‘at least one hour of suitable exercise in the open air daily’, according to UN guidelines.   Can you pause for a few minutes today to look at the buds on the trees and hedges? I mean really look?  If you can find a beech hedge or a hazel tree you'll see the tiny fresh green leaves all concertina-ed up, ready to fan open in the next few days. If you can find a horse chestnut tree the buds are really fat and juicy and just about to burst out of their shiny protective shell. 

I just found out that a crozier is the name of the stick with a hook at the top that a bishop carries! It's also the name of an brand new, unfurling fern.  Watch this amazing time-lapse video and be inspired to go outside and watch spring springing...

This Week's Musical Offering... double helpings this week...

Firstly, a relaxing track that I often play in Savasana - Breathing Space by Sacred Earth.  Take 10 minutes out of your day (you have 1440 minutes in each day so can you allow yourself just 10 to attend to your nervous system, quieten your mind and pay attention to your breathing?), lie down and focus on the movement of your ribcage as you let this lovely music wash over you...

This second piece is not a track for your yoga playlist but I wanted to share it with you anyway. I saw Cuban Landscape with Rain by Leo Brouwer played at a concert at the Yehudi Menuhin School recently (click HERE to read a previous post about Mr Menuhin and his music school) and I was so impressed, both by the skill of the guitarists and by how the music manages to transport you so that you can really imagine a rainstorm on the tin roofs of houses in Cuba. See what you think...

This Week's Video...Brexit Yoga

I posted this on the Thrive Yoga Facebook page last week but I thought I'd share it again in case you haven't seen it. And if you have, you'll still smile I'm sure :-)

Have a good week - here's hoping for some sunshine so we can get outside...