Is there such a practice as Yoga for wrists and hands? … I’m often asked in class by students how do I stop my hands and wrists hurting during my Yoga practice. I can totally understand this because the hand has many moving part. In fact, it has 27 bones, several muscles, tendons, ligaments and thousands of nerve endings all packed into a small space … So it’s only natural that a lot can go wrong!!
Hands are remarkably complicated and versatile and capable of doing everything from grasping large heavy objects to performing fine delicately controlled actions like microsurgery.
Yoga can be very good for those who find hand based poses challenging, so I always recommend students to continue their practice and not stop because of “sore” hands. Because firstly, yoga can and should be tailored and modified for the individual … After all it is a “personal” practice and if we are truly listening to our bodies our practice should follow a path that best serves us.
If you want to improve the wrist and hands mobility, you could begin your yoga practice with poses that allow the hands to move freely with less restriction. And, if you know how to place weight correctly throughout the hand, you’ll be less likely to overload the sensitive wrist junction and find greater ease in hand dominate poses.
Wrist Strengthening Exercises – Yoga For Wrists and Hands
Recently in our Online Yoga Community I taught a class that I called “Hands Free” – a whole class dedicated to not using your hands to support or stabilise you. Yep … No Downdog, No Plank & No Updog!!
It is very possible to practice without loading into your hands … Think of all the lying poses you can do without using your hands – bridge pose, all the seated poses, Head of the Cow & all of the standing poses (eg Tree)
A mindfully designed class can quite easily not include any strong hand loaded poses – hence my Hands Free Class evolved.
In our recent monthly newsletter we explained a Yoga for wrists and hands sequence that could be used to prepare the hands for a yoga practice. This same sequence could also be used at any time during the day for those people working heavily on laptops and phones where the wrists & hands can be strained due to overuse.
Yoga Tip – Practicing With Wrist Pain
One “trick” I remind students of is how to correctly place their hand on the mat and then how to distribute weight throughout the hand!! For many this is the one of light bulb moments of mastering hand based poses and not feeling it in the wrists.
I have one final trick up my sleeve!! And that is the importance of being mindful of the entire musculature and its role in the execution of the pose. For example you will here me cue when I teach Plank …
”Draw your armpits away from the floor so you feel yourself lifting out of your armpits and not collapsing into your wrists. Bring your navel a little further towards the spine engaging more core and finally firm up your arms, the biceps and the triceps actively switch them on”
When you engage the use of more muscles then they all take the load of the pose rather than dumping your weight into the wrists and praying they will hold you up!!
You will inevitably hear me vocalise in class … “If your wrists are hurting it’s probably because you’re allowing all of your weight to be forced through them”.
A good magician has more than one trick up their sleeve!!
Modifying The Pose
Finally, I would suggest that if you do experience wrist or hand pain in your yoga practice consider modifying your downdog to a forearm version – this is what I call Dolphin Pose and from there you can transition smoothly into forearm plank. This definitely takes the load out of the wrists … but be warned!! … Whilst it’s a modified pose it’s not an easier or “softer” option!! Shorter levers means more strength and control needed in the upper body and core.
So in short … Yes you can practice Yoga for wrist and hand pain, because the beauty of Yoga is in its adaptability to each & everyone of us!!