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How to Take Care of Your Wrists in Your Yoga Practice

I've had many students and clients over the years complain about wrist pain in their practice. Injuries, cysts, carpal tunnel syndrome, general soreness, shooting nerve pains... you name it. Plank pose, even Tabletop pose, can become uncomfortable or down right painful very quickly if you're experiencing wrist sensitivity making a typical vinyasa yoga class a frustrating and challenging experience. The structure of our wrists are not exactly built to be weight bearing so we have to call on our musculature to support shifting weight into our hands throughout our active yoga practices.

Here are a few tips for taking care of your wrists in your yoga practice:

  • Active Hands - this is an essential action for any yoga pose that is weight bearing in the wrists and hands. If we can maintain an upward energy through the center of the palm by utilizing all five fingers, we can take a significant amount of weight off of the wrists. This is very similar to the feeling of lifting the arches of the feet.

  • Wrist & Hand Stretches -

  1. Have a seat and place your fingers on the ground with palms facing away from you, thumbs lifted. Relax your shoulders and bend elbows. Take 5 breaths then set palms down and take five more breaths.

  2. Have a seat and face your right palm away from you, fingers pointing down. Relax your shoulder and bend your right elbow. Grab entire right pinky finger with left hand (wrap four fingers all the way around, thumb will rest on the back of the hand at the base of the pinky finger). Pull pinky finger down toward the ground and back toward your body. Spread through your palm and take 2 breaths. Repeat with each finger and then switch hands

  • Fascial Release - press your palm into a tennis ball and roll it around for a quick fascial release. For bonus points, have a friend give you a hand , wrist and forearm massage. Our hands and wrists deserve special TLC.

  • Engage your Serratus Anterior - ..and your shoulder joint in general. Poses like plank, tabletop, Downward Dog and Upward Facing Dog all require a wrapped shoulder which means the serratus anterior needs to be engaged. In doing this, we have easier access to our Active Hands.

  • Strengthen Your Core - this may seem unrelated to the wrists but in our yoga practice, holding bandhas and maintaining a strong core both during transitions and while holding poses will take some of the weight off of your hands and wrists

  • Practice on your forearms, fists or assistive props - if the wrists are just too sensitive, you can do most load bearing poses on your forearms, on fists or on assistive props (including wedges , jellies, and pushup bars)

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