Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Protecting your wrists in yoga poses - stretch and strengthen

Please note the advice below is not intended for people with wrist inflammation, wrist injury etc. - consult your doctor.

The wrist is a particularly vulnerable area. It is one of the most commonly broken bones in the body.  After 40 years of age, women are more at risk of a broken wrist than men. I broke a wrist two years although considering the severity of the fall (while out walking), the break was small.  

Wrist strain is also often a problem for people new to yoga who can often be seen rotating their wrists after such poses as Cat/Cow or Downward Facing Dog.  Our everyday activities do not usually require us to hold our wrists in full extension, that is at 90 degrees to our arm.  It is not surprising then that when you first start yoga, the ligaments and tendons in your wrist are going to protest in weight bearing poses such as Plank or Downward Facing Dog,and other poses which strengthen the wrist. But wrist flexibility combined with strength gained through weight bearing poses is important in order to avoid injury.

If your wrists are really uncomfortable below are some of the ways you can modify yoga poses to be more comfortable.

Cat/Cow - instead of placing your flat hand on the mat, make fists or come down onto your forearms.

Downward Facing Dog - the problem here may be that your weight is concentrated on the heel and little finger side of your hand. To correct this tendency, take your weight into your knuckles, where your fingers meet your palms and press down with your thumb and first finger. You can also practice a similar pose with your forearms down.

Plank pose - you can build up strength in your wrist with this pose by practicing it initially with your knees down and your hands forwards of your shoulders. If this is too much for your wrists try doing a forearm plank instead. Lie on your tummy with your arms extended.  Slide your elbows back until they are under your shoulders.  Breathe in tuck your toes and lift your hips.  To come out of the pose breathe in drop your knees, breathe out and take a Child's Pose.

To stretch and strengthen your wrists try the following exercises:-

Sit in a comfortable cross-legged position or in a chair with your hands in prayer mudra at your heart.  Slowly move your hands down as far as you can without strain and while still keeping the heels of the hands together.  

Extend your right arm and with the left hand draw the fingers of the right hand back then press the top of your hand down.  Repeat with the left hand.

Come onto all fours with your fingers pointing back towards you.  Slowly move your bottom back towards your heels until you feel a stretch on your wrists.

You might also like my YouTube video, 'Wrist yoga'

Please read the disclaimer on the blog before following these videos -

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