Feeling sharp or lingering pain in your wrists from doing yoga? Try these:
- Elevate the “heels” of the hands during your yoga practice. Here
I am in Downward Dog, with slightly elevated wrists. I have simply flipped my yoga mat under itself to raise myself up slightly. The extra padding feels good, and this technique reduces the severity of extension on the wrist. It has been so effective for my own wrist pain, that I have been able to resume my “jump forward’s” in sun salutations – and better than ever, I might add! In finding a solution to my wrist pain, I have happened upon a wonderful modification to use in training for better jump-forward’s. Try it! (Remember to look forward and keep your belly tight.)
- Shake, shake, shake! Before, during and after your yoga practice, keep blood flowing through the wrist joints by flinging and flapping the wrists with medium force. It may make you look like an angry bird, but this action can warm and lubricate the wrist joints before practice, and relax muscular tension during and after practice.
- Do not linger on your wrists. Cheat! Move more quickly through Plank and Chaturanga (and with your knees down). Make your asana practice about more powerful foot and leg-work as you take a “wrist holiday”. From Plank, lower through Chaturanga quickly, all the way to the floor. Then take Baby Cobra. No Upward-Facing Dog! Pause in a juicy, hands-forward Cobra or Sphinx pose to get your backbending fix.
- Substitute wrist-intensive poses for similar poses. Change Side Plank to Forearm Side Plank. Easy! Or flip onto your back in Crow, Crane, Side Crow or Flying Pigeon, and turn your arm balance poses into excellent core exercises. You will still be developing your arm balances. Flip onto your stomach and take Dhanurasana instead of Urdhva Dhanurasana. The modifications to your practice are endless. As one of my first yoga teachers told us, “just look busy”.
- Do admit when you need to take a break from vigourous flow yoga. Explore slow, deep yin yoga, and restorative yoga, which is something we really all could use more of. Also remember that there are many other limbs of yoga! How’s your pranayama practice coming? Breathe the stress of your “exercise-withdrawal” away.
If you have been feeling sensitivity in one or both of your wrists, start incorporating these into your yoga practice now. Talk to your yoga teachers about it before class. If conditions persist, see your doctor.
Cultivate body awareness and safety, practice ahimsa (non-harming), and break free from pushing yourself too hard, too fast. Enjoy where you are right now!