Don't panic if you're moving through your favorite chest-opening asana, such as bow pose, and you hear a little pop coming from your sternum, the bone in front of your chest. Joints pop regularly in the same way that your knuckles do when you crack them. It's caused by movement of gas around the joint or your tendon snapping into place. Although it's alarming, most of the time the popping sound from your sternum is harmless and might even feel good.
Your sternum is a long, flat bone in front of your chest. The top of the sternum is called the
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With so many different bones connecting to your sternum, it's no wonder that things might get a little noisy when you move it around. Each spot that a rib or
Joint Popping and Cracking
There are a couple of different reasons why you hear a popping sound coming from your joints. The first reason is called articular release. Another name for a joint is an
If the space between the bones becomes too close it can lead to arthritis over time. When the joint gets bigger and creates more space you may or may not hear a pop and feel some relief. An
Your joints sometimes crack or pop when tendons move around and snap into place. Some of your tendons form grooves in bones where they sit comfortably and help connect your muscles to bone. Sometimes they move out of their groove and then snap back into place because they are under a lot of tension. However, rest assured that this is normal and nothing to be concerned about.
When It's A Problem
It is important to note that while a cracking or popping sound coming from your sternum is typically no big deal, occasionally it indicates a real problem. The easiest way to tell if you actually injured yourself is swelling in the joint where you heard the popping sound. If you feel swelling, consult a medical professional.
Chest Openers and Sternum Cracking
There are plenty of opportunities for the joints around your sternum to pop during a yoga class with the broad ranges of motion and various chest opening poses that are typically incorporated. Pulling your shoulders and arms back in something like Bow pose will stretch out the chest muscles that lie on top of the sternum as well as pull on your ribs and collar bone, which attach to the sternum. Wheel, Dancer and Fish are examples of other stretches that could also affect your sternum.
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With all of this movement around the bone and at the joints connected to the bone, there is plenty of opportunity for a tendon to snap or a joint to pop back to normal. That's why you shouldn't be worried about the occasional crack or pop around your sternum during yoga class.