Last weekend I enjoyed a meal at Gustorganics in the West Village. One of the highlights of the meal was the cup of Chai tea that I ordered. The tea itself was delicious and spicy, but what captured my interested even further was the innovative tea bag and how it gave a lovely example of how the arms and ribcage can work together in harmony.
The arms are easy to forget about when they are hanging by our sides and often become tense and pull up into the shoulders and in turn the upper ribcage or we let the arms hang loosely, which is really no better, as they then drag down on the ribcage. In either case the ribs are not allowed to move freely as they would otherwise and breathing becomes restricted. When lifting the arms, it is common to lift the shoulders necessarily and tighten the upper back, also restricting the ribs and breathing.
Ideally, our arms should be like wings extending like elastic from our backs as if there were a continuous sheet of muscle going from the back, along the back of the arms, all the way to the backs of the hands and the finger tips. The arms can be lively and consciously engaged, but not stiff, even when they are simply resting at our sides.
When we use the arms like wing-like extensions of our backs, the ribs can move more freely and expand more during breathing. The ribs start way up at the collar-bone and most of them wrap around from the spine to the sternum. I mention this as it is a common misconception that the ribs are only in front.
When the arms and ribcage interact in a unified, connected, elastic way, the result is a springy feeling, rather than a tight or heavy feeling.
The handles on the teabag reminded me of the arms expanding out and allowing the springy fabric of the bag to expand like the ribs.