Chest tightness could stem from something as benign as a long day at your desk or something as dangerous as a heart attack. It's always best to speak to your doctor when you experience chest tightness to rule out any possible medical conditions. If stress, poor posture, anxiety and lack of stretching are your main culprits, a simple daily yoga routine can help alleviate your chest tightness.
Cat and Cow Pose
Cat and Cow Pose is appropriate for almost all beginners. Start on all fours with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees slightly behind your hips. If you experience knee pain or discomfort, pad the knees with folded blankets or pillows. On an inhalation, drop the abdomen toward the floor as you roll your shoulders, head and upper chest toward the sky. Feel the stretch along the upper side of the chest as you take a long, deep inhalation. On the exhalation, pull your belly button in toward your spine as you round the shoulders, head and chest in toward the body. Repeat this stretch several times, linking your breathing to the motions.
You might want to use a chair as a prop for this one. To perform Camel Pose, start in a kneeling position. You can put a blanket under your knees if you feel knee discomfort. Roll your shoulders back and puff out your chest. Place your hands on your lower back for support as you lift your chest up and back slightly. If you feel a lot of sensation, stay in this position. To increase the difficultly of the pose, place both hands behind you on the seat of a folding chair, with your fingers facing toward you. Imagine that there is a piece of string attached to your heart that is pulling your chest up toward the ceiling. Depending on how your neck feels, you can look up at the ceiling or keep your chin tucked.
The Cobra Pose is a prone backbend. To practice Cobra, lie face-down on your yoga mat. Place the tops of your feet on the floor and your palms on either side of your chest, fingers facing forward. Press your pelvis into the floor as your roll your shoulders back. On an inhalation, curl your upper chest off the floor. Hold the pose for five to ten breaths.
Supported Heart Opening Pose
Supported Heart Opening Pose is a passive yoga pose that is considered a part of Yin Yoga. In Yin Yoga, you'll hold passive stretches for up to five minutes to stretch deeply into the connective tissue and fascia that surround muscle and bone. Practice this pose last in the series after you have already warmed up the chest and rib fascia and muscles. Place a yoga bolster, stack of pillows or cushion on the floor. Lie down on your back on the props, with the bolster or pillows running parallel to your spine. Support both your head and chest, but have your hips on the mat. Position your arms at your sides with your palms facing up. Close your eyes and breathe deeply for five minutes.