Beyond stress, there are a lot of reasons you might have chest tightness. It can be caused by shallow breathing, having big boobs, or a rounded posture while you work, Jessica McManus, PT, FAAOMPT, physical therapist, functional medicine health coach, owner of Full Circle Wellness PT previously told Well+Good. Shallow breathing activates the muscles on the upper sides of your chest which aren’t as strong as your diaphragm (the muscle below your lungs that support your breath). But chest opening stretches can help you breathe better and even prevent pain in the neck, shoulders, and upper back. As a result, getting a really good stretch in your chest can reduce tightness—and potentially take a bad day and turn it upside down. (Keep in mind that this session will help muscular-related chest tightness. If you're feeling any tightness in your lungs, or trouble breathing, definitely consult a professional before attempting any of these exercises.)
During this 20-minute flow, Alexandra takes us through slow and intentional postures that stretch the chest and upper body. Not only do you get the chance to open those muscles, but you also get reminders to breathe and set intentions for gratitude throughout the session. The mix of sun salutation modifications, downward dog, tree pose, and more help bring your chest to every plane you can think of.
Interested in opening up your chest and setting some gratitude intentions today? Grab a mat and follow Alexandra’s lead on this recent episode of Good Moves.
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