Asana poses involving a lot of weight-bearing, such as Downward Facing Dog, Upward Facing Dog Plank pose, or Handstand, are unsuitable for our wrists. Yoga classes can cause wrist problems or strain due to the required weight and range of motion. Simple tips can help us avoid wrist injuries when we practice yoga. We can prevent wrist strain and injuries by following some simple guidelines.
Anatomy of the wrist
Understanding the anatomy of the wrist and how it is affected by common poses can be very helpful. The eight carpal bones comprise the wrist joints and are held together with delicate ligaments and muscles. These bones support the fingers and hand, making them vulnerable to injury. The carpal tunnel is the narrow canal on either side of your wrist. The carpal tunnel contains many nerves that control sensation, blood flow, and hand movement. Soft tissues in the wrist comprise tendons, blood vessels, nerves, and other supporting tissue. This area can become painful and numb when pressure and inflammation build up. These soft tissues can be affected by any trauma.
Yoga practitioners should be aware of wrist extension, which is moving the top of your hand to the back of your forearm in Anjali Mudra. It is essential to be mindful of this when performing poses with a sharp angle and poses that require weight, such as arm balances. Yoga practitioners must also avoid overstretching the wrists when in flexion. This can destabilize your wrist and injure the tissues and muscles around the joint.
Red flag: Sore wrists
Wait until your wrists feel better before you continue your yoga practice. If your wrists are sore after class, you may have weak wrists. Consider wearing a wrist wrap or glove during or after your procedure. Rest, elevation, and icing will help to reduce inflammation and promote recovery. Consult your doctor if you have persistent pain or swelling.
Yoga wrist pain: Tips for avoiding it
You can address wrist pain with these twelve tips if you only experience mild soreness or if it is an occasional occurrence.
Bring the ground to You
Downward Dog is a pose that can support the weight. Bring the ground closer to you instead of placing your hands on the floor. Under your hands, place blocks or wedges to raise the floor. This will force your weight off your wrists. Consider this: The higher you raise your hands, your weight will be shifted to your legs.
Use your hands and forearms
The angle of your wrist joint can cause your wrists to hurt. When you extend your wrists too far, it can cause inflammation and strain. Modify any pose using fists or coming up onto your forearms rather than your palms. You can, for example, substitute Down Dog with a Dolphin pose. While your wrists are safe, you will still reap the benefits.
Bend your knees
When we do poses such as Plank and Downward-Facing Dog, we tend to put our weight on our hands. This is especially true if our core strength needs to be more vital to support us. We can reduce the effort required by bending our legs or bringing them down to the floor.
Find your alignment
Many of us extend our shoulders past the wrists when we practice arm balances like Plank, Chaturanga, or Upward Facing Dog. Think about aligning your outer shoulder joint to the wrist’s center. This will help you stack your armbones and prevent unnecessary pressure from being placed on your wrists. Yoga postures that maintain correct alignment will protect your wrists.
Engage hasta bandha
Hasta Bandha is also called the handlock. It’s a slight movement that has a powerful impact. Hasta Bandha is achieved by spreading your fingers on the floor and drawing upwards from the middle of your palms. This movement engages your arm muscles and draws energy up your arms. It also relieves pressure on your wrists. This can be a challenge at first but greatly benefit your practice, as wrist problems can result from a lack of strength.
Warm up before you start
At the start of class, we warm up our spines by doing cat or cow poses. You can do neck rolls or gently stretch from side to side. These are ways to prepare your body for the more intense poses throughout the class. You can extend your wrists in the same way. Make a fist, then move your fist counter-clockwise and clockwise.
Spread your weight evenly
When doing Downward-Facing Dog, focus on shifting your weight to your heels. Lift through your core when you are in arm-balance positions such as Crow Pose or the Crow Pose. You will notice that the more weight you shift out of your wrists and shoulders, the less repetitive strain you will experience.
Pay attention to your hand placement during yoga poses so you do not experience wrist pain. Distribute your weight evenly across your hands in any posture with your palms on the floor. Do not put the majority of your weight on your wrists. Instead, shift the weight evenly throughout your hand. Press your knuckles into the yoga mat if you want your hands to be rooted evenly.
Modifications and props are welcome
Props and modifications are the difference between wrist injury and wrist freedom. Consider gripping blocks or dropping your knees in a side plank if you have wrist problems. Props and modifications allow you to reap the benefits of a posture without suffering from adverse side effects.
Strengthen your arms and shoulders by opening your shoulders
If your shoulders are tight and your forearms are weak, then you will end up dumping your weight onto your shoulders. To open your shoulders, try forward folding with your hands clasped behind you, bow pose, or eagle arm. Combine this with arm strengtheners such as Reverse tabletop Low plank or Dolphin poses. Squeezing a Stress Ball will strengthen your wrists and prepare your body for any poses you want to attempt.
Practice on a firm surface
Yoga on a beach can be tough on the wrists. If you’re experiencing wrist pain, switching to a more rigid surface, such as hardwood flooring or a thin yoga mat, may be worth it. This will give you more support and help you focus on your alignment.