Breathing for singing or playing woodwinds requires 25% use of the costal muscles (muscles between the ribs) and 75% use of the diaphragm. Many people have little flexibility in their ribcage, which can impede free breathing. Yoga twists, practiced seated, in a chair, or on the floor, stretch the muscles between the ribs, promoting good flexibility for breathing. Twists also compress and massage the organs of the abdomen, including all of the digestive organs. They help toxins from your kidneys, liver, and spleen to be eliminated and also help give these organs a fresh, new supply of blood.

EXERCISE: Lie on the floor and put your fingers on the very bottom rib in the front of the ribcage.  When you breathe you should feel this rib and the lower ribs move up and swing open. The diaphragm is attached to the bottom surfaces of the bottom 6 ribs of the ribcage, and they should move on inhalation. Now, do a twist on both sides and lie down again and see if your ribs move more freely on inhalation.

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