A lot of the poses in Yoga are classed as weight bearing poses. To do these effectively and realize the full benefits of resting in these poses, you must have strong extremities. A lot of the advanced jump moves depend solely on strong fingers and wrists. This article will provide certain exercises to avoid and in some cases alleviate wrist pain. Always consult a qualified instructor if you have any doubts.
Wrists are a weak point in today’s society in general. A lot of people lead a sedentary lifestyle and expose their wrist to a very limited range of motion only. Yoga poses demand extension and flexion of the wrists pretty regularly , and you may find, as a beginner, that you are experiencing wrist aches.
Before we get into the poses, let’s get the basics dealt with. Yoga is about focus, about learning about your body. To be unaware of feeling during Yoga is a wasted exercise. Every pose should be done with an “awareness checklist”. Go through your whole body. take note of what each muscle is doing. Let your body be the teacher of what you need to do.
Take something as simple as the Prayer position.
You might see no wrong way to do this, but its not about that. If you focus on your body in any pose, you can feel the muscles at work. In this particular pose, keep the heels of your hands together(Anjali Mudra). Then lower your hands till elbow level. Feel the extension in the wrists.
Then reverse the hand position. Let the backs of the hands touch each other and let the fingers point down (Reverse Anjali Mudra). Try and keep the same elbow level. Try and hold both the mudras for 5 to 10 breaths. Reverse Anjali Mudra is also known as Phalen’s Test, which can be used to diagnose Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Follow into full wrist flexion and extension on both arms. Once you’ve experienced the full range of wrist motion, let’s see what Hand lock(Hasta Bandha) is all about.
Yoga teaches us a hand lock position that engages the wrist and the whole arm properly and makes flowing from one asana to the next a very smooth and safe transition with little chance of hurting yourself. Apply this to all weight bearing exercises unless otherwise specified.
Now, the poses.
- Start with the Bharmanasana (Table Top pose). Come on all fours onto the mat.
Once you’re in the pose, start making minute adjustments. Feel your weight resting on your hands. Your hands should be directly under your shoulders so that the arm is straight up and down. Spread the fingers wide as possible without undue stretch to give you a stable base. Press each knuckle down to the floor starting with the outermost ones. Make sure the web between the thumb and first finger is also pressed down. The outer edge of your palm should be pressed in as well along with the pinky finger, but without as much pressure. But the hollow of your palm should be off the floor (think suction cup). Play with your weight back and forth. Get out of it and come to your knees, then back into it. Your body will want to come back to your natural hand pose. Get the Yoga hand lock to be natural.
If you’re doing this for the first time, expect some soreness along your forearm. You have activated and used several small muscles that are usually not very much used. The soreness will disappear with practice.
Another thing you are training with every pose in Yoga is your brain. You need to be able to listen to your body. Be aware of the stress points. Spend some time with some weight on your arms and just observe your body stabilizing. Develop the mind-muscle connection.
Remember, yoga without awareness is wasted. We can’t say this enough.
Once you’re comfortable with this, perform the rest of these asanas in sequence.
2. Downward dog
3. Cobra Pose
4. Plank pose
5. Side plank pose
Then come back to Tabletop and repeat whole sequence but switch the weight bearing wrist in the Side plank pose .
This sequence will strengthen your wrists and forearms for more difficult asanas in the future. Try and move from 1 asana to the next in a controlled flow. Stability is important when you are training muscles.Try not to move the feet and hands as much as possible so that the asanas flex the muscles in full range of motion as intended. Links are provided at the bottom to some asanas you can do once your wrist strength is up to speed.