Do you find your wrist hurt during yoga? Or feel strained after vinyasa class? Or even sore holding long planks in pilates? Wrist pain is a common issue among yoga (and pilates) practitioners.
Just like when we first came to class and did your first backbend; it felt unfamiliar and quite probably ‘painful’, as teachers we remind you how backbending is wonderful for your spine because it counteracts all of the unconscious forward bending we do day to day (sitting at a desk,driving, eating etc). Similarly our daily activities don't require much extension of the wrists but rather a lot of flexion (flexion is the movement out hands make when we type, grip, write, chop etc) and so bearing weight on our wrists and fully extending them to 90 degrees can be very difficult and sometimes painful as we aren't used to using this range of motion.
Remember if you don't use it, you lose it!!
The good news is with some good basic alignment corrections & modifications along with some exercises which strengthen & stretch the wrists properly before class; you can actually help to improve your wrists range of motion and strength through regular weight bearing movements in your yoga/pilates practice. This weeks Sunday School is the perfect opportunity to learn all about these things, but lets have a look at 5 Top Tips to get you started:
1) Stretching & Strengthening Your Wrists
There are many exercises we’ll be showing you at Sunday School for this, but a nice, easy & effective one is to bring your palms together in front of your chest in Anjali Mudra (prayer position). Press the heels of your hands and all ten fingertips together while you draw your hands down towards your waist. Hold for 10-15 breaths.
2) Protect Your Wrists with Proper Alignment
• Spread fingers out and press down evenly through all ten fingers
• Line up wrist crease with the top of the mat
• Press down through all 4 corners of your hands
• Dont collapse into the heel of the hand and wrists, instead press down through the base of your knuckles
3) Modify Postures for Your Wrists
Work up to weight-bearing poses on your hands slowly, you may need to start off with the modified version of Plank, Chaturanga (yoga push-up), and Pilates Plank/Side-Plank by lowering your knees to the ground, this will take some of the weight off and relieve the pressure from your wrists so that you can focus on good alignment and building up strength & flexibility in your wrists.
4) Practice Ahimsa (non-violence)
If it hurts, back off! This is the number one rule in all yoga.. never force your body into pain. Take care of your wrists by listening to your body if it is telling you it hurts and take modifications and rest when you need to.
5) A Surprising Secret to Protecting Your Wrists
A strong core! Yes, having a strong core means you are able to better-disperse the effort through your torso and not just dump it all on your wrists. So get yourselves to those Inferno Pilates classes guys, the benefits are never-ending!
Looking forward to seeing you all at Sunday School, this Sunday 14th at 1pm for more Happy Wrists! :)