Yoga is great for wrist pain but it can also cause it too.
I have suffered from pretty weak wrists in the past so I truly understand how painful it can get after a while on the yoga mat- think of all those down dogs you practice in a typical class.
In this blog post, I briefly explore why I feel wrist pain is so prevalent and 2 tips which have made a huge difference to the health, mobility and strength of my wrists.
After all, we want to enjoy our yoga practice not grit our teeth through it. 🤗
So Why Do Many of Us suffer from wrist pain?
I am pretty sure it is all to do with the fact that we spend many hours of the day using our phones and laptops. This puts our wrists in one position for long periods of time as well as eventually limiting the range of motion we can get in our fingers.
The simple fact of the matter is that our bodies behave in much the same way as they did in our ancestral years. We have not adapted (body wise) to our modern style of living.
Our hands and wrists are designed to move in many ways – to grab, hold and carry. In our everyday lives, yes we may do some of these things but I bet you anything you look at your electronic devices more!
It is because of this we are suffering from more and more wrist pain and other issues like carpal tunnel syndrome.
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) relates to a problem with a nerve called the median nerve whose job is to help you move your forearm, wrist, hands and fingers.
If there is any compression on the median nerve (especially where it passes under the wrist joint), then it can cause pain or discomfort in the wrist, outer fingers (thumb, index finger and middle finger) and sometimes the forearm.
Poor Posture and Wrist Pain
Wrist pain and CTS can be made worse by poor postural habits.
Rounding in the shoulders and forward head posture can put pressure on the median nerve.
These two postural ‘habits’ are getting more and more common due to our tech and ‘sitting’ lifestyles.
Yoga For Healthy Wrists – 2 top tips that will really help.
Yoga is great for helping develop healthy wrists as long as you practice in a smart way.
The yoga postures themselves will help improve alignment and core strength which in turn will help reduce round shoulders and forward head posture.
Below are 2 other ‘yoga’ tips which will also help. They were truly a game-changer for me and I hope they will help you too.
1. Check Your Weight Placement On the Hands
Taking time to really look at the way we place the weight in our hands during our yoga practice goes a long way to helping us keep our wrists strong and our posture balanced.
Go through this step by step process to check your hand placement.
- Come into a tabletop position (on all fours)
- Place the hands under the shoulders and the knees under the hips
- Spread the fingers and thumbs comfortably. Think about creating space between the joints.
- Now take a moment to notice where you are putting the weight into your hands.
- Are you dumping into the wrists or is there some weight into the fingers and thumb as well?
- Now think about redistributing the weight a bit.
- Focus on pressing down through the finger pads and the palm knuckles (where the fingers meet the palm). This is shown in yellow.
- Notice how this action brings the weight away from the heel of the hand (shown in red).
- Actively connect the finger pads and finger knuckles to the floor as though you are pushing into the ground.
- At the same time ‘claw’ the fingers slightly (like a cat) to feel a little lift in the centre of the palm. It will feel a bit like a suction cup has been activated (shown in pink).
- You will feel an energising lift through the arms and the forearms should feel like they are lifting out of the wrists. Now keeping this good finger connection try moving into down dog. Does it feel lighter? Hopefully, you will definitely feel less pressure on the wrists and lots of muscle engagement going on in the arms and the back of the shoulders.
2. Include therapeutic yoga moves to help keep our wrists nice and mobile
The following video is a short wrist therapy session that you can use either on its own or as part of a longer practice. It goes through some of my favourite poses and moves which I do on a regular basis to keep my wrists happy. Happy practising and I hope it helps.
The above is just my take on how yoga can help to keep your wrists healthy, strong and mobile. I have seen how some smart changes to how you use the hands and also including some mobility and stretching drills into your practice can make a heap of difference.
If you try the above and your wrist pain doesn’t ease up, I would seek the guidance of a yoga teacher or seek medical help. Sometimes you just need help to get to the root of the problem. Once you understand what is causing the wrist pain you can take the right steps to sort it out.