I so rarely feel discomfort in my wrist, particularly with yoga, so when they were a bit cranky this week I wondered what was up!
Many yoga postures require extension at the wrist such as plank, downward facing dog, upward facing down, it is only when my forearm extensors are stiff and tight do I notice.
It really got me thinking…
What caused the muscles around my wrists to be sore?
What can yoga do to help me through?
The first answer is relatively easy. Or so I think. I was on my bike a substantial amount of time the past week. More than I normally do. So the most logical explanation I can come up with is that I was putting more force on my wrists while gripping my handle bars.
The second answer is not as simple. Off I go to the world wide web to comb over some articles.
I went straight to the heavy science first. Nothing like a Cochrane Reviews to bring home the research evidence. Interestingly, what they report is that yoga can provide short-term benefit for conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome. Unfortunately, I know I don’t have carpal tunnel (no direct comparison) and the summaries never give the specifics of what exact yoga poses were done in the summarized studies. So on to another source, maybe not as rigorous with its science but nonetheless more practical…
Yoga Journal was able to fill the void. Expertly written, Julie Gudmestad, trained physical therapist and yoga instructor provided some insights into what one can do when wrists are the limiting factor to practice. She suggested that shifting the position of the hands to minimize the extension at the wrist such as in hands and knees position can help reduce the irritation.
What about props? Of course, using something to assist your poses is crucial. She suggests using a chair for modified versions of downward facing dog and plank pose. Or propping feet up on blocks in downward facing dog to minimize the sharp angle of extension at the wrists.
As a aspiring yoga teacher, knowing how to modify asanas will be crucial to help class participants feel comfortable in practice and not irritate areas of tightness. The wrists being a very likely place of discomfort for some!
I’m not going to lie. I thoroughly enjoyed my practice with Fiji McAlpine. So much so that her final words in savasana hit home...open the palms to indicate you are ready to receive. This practice gave me insight into an area of discomfort that I rarely have. What a great opportunity to think it through and be open to new ways to practice,
Aspiring Yoga Teacher
I've practiced yoga since I was a pre-teen and have always found it to keep me centered. I will be a teacher one day and this is my journey to discover teaching and practice.