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Don't Wrist This...

By Elana Love

TUE JUN 29, 2021

Living consciously is not solely a mental-emotional practice. It also includes being aware of how you use and take care of your body daily. How you take care of your body is not only about what you eat and how often you move. It is also about how you move.

One part of your body that is highly impacted if you spend most of your day on computers and phones like most 21st century humans, is your wrists. In fact, since we use our hands for most things in life, our wrists are also involved. Made up of many delicate bones, wrists are actually anatomically complex and can be of the most vulnerable joints in our body, making it important that we keep them healthy.

However, wrist pain or weakness is not an uncommon complaint. And often, it is within our yoga practice that the pain or weakness will present itself, since we rely on wrists a lot in asana for chaturangas, hand balances, etc. There are a myriad of causes that could be the culprit, such as repetitive movement like typing, improper ergonomics at your desk, or even pain stemming from your neck and shoulder area.

So moral of the story - don't underestimate the importance of taking care of this unassuming part of your body, folks... don't wrist your wrists! (I said it 😂) Here are a few tips to help you take good care of this fragile body part even when you're not doing asana:

  • Keep in mind the whole body is connected, and pain in your wrists can be coming from tension in another part of your body.
  • Be mindful of the line of force from your neck/sternum to your hands when placing pressure on the hands in asana or when typing at the computer. Flexion and extension of the wrists for long periods of time or with weight stacked on top is not natural.
  • In your asana practice, and specifically when weight-bearing on your wrists, engage and activate your core and arm muscles to help support your wrists. Think of pressing the floor away from you to create a kind of resistance that creates more space between the bones rather than a compression.
  • If you have any pain or injury in the wrists, practice in a position where there is less weight on the hands (like placing your knees down), possibly take the pose on your fists, and/or decrease the flexion by rolling up a towel or the edge of your mat to place under the heel of your hand.

I personally used to have really weak wrists, but have worked to strengthen and stretch them over the years, using the practices in the video below. My wrists have since become much stronger and happier, and never give me problems anymore! I now include wrist warmups in almost every practice I do and/or teach (especially if performing many chaturangas and down dogs during that session). Here are the exercises:

  • simple hand/wrist circles or shaking the hands
  • stretching fingers down and back
  • shooting stars/wrist bombs
  • table top - inner wrist stretch
  • table top - outer wrist/top of hand wrist stretch
  • table top - heel of the hand lifts
  • fist roll up/push ups (w/ knees down)

I hope these practices help you feel a little more stable and strong both on the mat and in your daily life! If you enjoyed this video or blog, please share on facebook and tag me @elanaloveyoga! And come join me for a class to support those wrists even more!