While you may not spend much time thinking about your wrists unless you suffer from pain there, your wrists are an integral part of the human body. They are required to perform strenuous tasks regularly. Mastering the art of keeping your wrists fit and healthy through therapeutic exercises, and a proper alignment is a commendable practice.
The anatomy of human wrists includes 8 small carpal bones that collectively form the carpus. The bones are firmly bound and ensure stability alongside the minimal movement. The carpus on the side of the palm is moderately concave allowing tendons, nerves, and ligaments to pass through a channel known as the Carpal Tunnel, connecting the forearm to the rest of the hand. Joints can be healthy only by maintaining mobility.
Flexing our wrists in a manner to the extent where the entire body weight relies on it is a critical and contradictory situation. It is beneficial and vulnerable to injuries at the same time. Wrists are subject to strain or soreness after a yoga class unless you have spared a considerable amount of time to build flexibility, endurance, and strength in your wrists. There are certain steps to address wrist strain for people who perform yoga. They are as follows:
- Stretching and Strengthening
Yoga entails healthy and pain-free wrists when practiced under proper alignment guidelines, accurate stretching methods, and sharp modifications as required.
Listed below are a few tips to retain strong and healthy wrists:
It is essential to rehearse and prepare before commencing with any task irrespective of its intensity. In the case of wrist strengthening, here are some warm-up ideas:
- Establish scope for expansion – Release your hands, extend your arms, turn the palms, pull your elbows away from each other. Doing all of this creates incredible space for the joints within the wrist. If it starts to hurt, switch sides and continue the same.
- Stretch the Wrists – Bend over on your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Direct the fingers pointing towards the knees but under the condition that the left palm is faced up while the right palm is faced down. Position the hips back a little towards the heels to elaborate the stretch.
- Rotate the Wrists – Interlace the fingers in front of you. Keep the wrists touching and rotate the hands in one direction. Repeat it a few times then reverse directions.
The next step is to make sure you have proper alignment while doing yoga or weight-bearing postures to protect the wrists.
Distinguish the four corners of the palm—the mounds of the thumb, little finger, index finger, and the outer heel of the hand. Whenever the hands are placed on the floor, scrutinize whether either of the four corners is carrying considerably more weight than the rest. Try to distribute the weight uniformly between the four corners of the palm.
When the weight subsides into the heels of the hand, there are high chances of a recurrent misalignment leading to wrist pain. To prevent such tendencies, root down the knuckles where fingers are attached to the palms. Raise the center of the palm at the same time when the four corners of the hands are pressing down placidly. Press all the fingers down evenly after spreading them, while elongating them ahead.
The general rule of wrist yoga suggests that the wrists must be right belo the shoulders while implementing weight-bearing poses such as Tabletop Pose, Handstand, or Plank Pose. Placing the wrists behind the shoulders can cause the wrists to lengthen inordinately, straining the joints.
Building Wrist Strength through Stretching
With accurate alignment and readjustment you can work on more wrist and hand strength. Certain yoga poses that help in building up wrist and forearm strength are Plank and Chaturanga Dandasana. If you look for beginner poses to build wrist strength, try Table, Cat-Cow and Downward Facing Dog. Be patient with yourself – it takes time to build wrist strength and flexibility but you will see positive results in the long term and can take the next step and try some hand balancing poses like Crow pose.
Modify Poses based on needs
Start slow for executing weight-bearing poses with your hand. Begin with poses that do not require a full 90 degrees bend of the wrists. Eventually, as the wrists become more stable and mobile, start pushing further to position them directly underneath the shoulders. You may refer to the previously suggested poses and yoga techniques to attain strength and flexibility. Elevate the wrists by placing a yoga-mat directly below the heels of the hands. Doing this prevents a sharp extension of the wrists. When you have acute wrist pain, it is best to avoid hand balancing or weight-bearing poses at all.
When you have wrist problems like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or recurrent strains, consult a doctor before doing any yoga.
If you want to practice wrist-free yoga try the following:
- Practice Dolphin Pose instead of Downward Facing Dog
- Sphinx pose is a great substitute for Cobra or Upward Facing Dog
- Focus on standing poses and don’t go through a Vinyasa (Plank > Knees-Chest-Chin or Chaturanga > Cobra or Upward Facing Dog > Downward Facing Dob) during your Flow and step back to Downward Dog right away
- Come to Child’s Pose when you need a rest. Extend the arms and flip the hands so the palms face up to get relief
The movement of the wrists depends on major muscles which are enfolded around the radius and ulna of the forearm, and often the rigidity can travel upwards along the arm when the pain is disregarded. So, when the wrists begin to feel agonizing and weary, sometimes the best solution is to take a step back and simply get some rest. Perhaps a different approach that does not require the heavy utility of the wrists along with therapeutic techniques may restore assurance and energy while demonstrating healing capabilities.
Dealing with injuries while practicing yoga can induce feelings of resentment and restlessness. Be gentle to yourself, always warm-up and modify or rest if needed.
You might also like our Yoga flow to Calm Down.