6 Helpful Tips to Protect Your Wrists

  • Megan McInturff
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I wasn’t missing a beat. Option for a Vinyasa? I’ll take it. Flip your dog? Sure, why not. Move into the arm balance? Don’t mind if I do. … And then it finally caught up with me, this achy weakness in both wrists. I could hardly stay in plank for more than a few seconds without feeling the pressure in the heels of my hands. I always heard other yogis complain about wrist pain, but I thought I was taking precautionary measures to avoid it. But it happened. So I went back to the basics.

No matter how long you have been practicing yoga, it is always helpful to review the fundamentals and reassess your practice. These helpful tips will help you protect the wrist from strain and weakness.

1. Strengthen your Core: You may have heard this many times before, but a strong core takes pressure off the wrists. If your core is already strong, make sure you use it! Engaging the core in planks, chaturanga and arm balances will make the muscles surrounding the shoulder more effective. If the shoulder’s muscle groups work more, your wrists work less.

2. Distribute the weight in your hands: Spread your palms wide and radiate the fingers out. Move the weight into the knuckles of the fingers and press down through the finger pads. This will take more pressure off the heels of the hands.

3. Equal weight in hands and feet: Let your feet do some of the work in plank or downward facing dog. Next time you’re in downdog, shift the weight back by lifting your toes. Your wrist will appreciate it.

4. Check the angle of the wrist: When in plank, be mindful you are keeping your shoulders directly over top of the wrists; and when in arm balances, keep the elbows stacked over the wrists. This creates a 90 degree angle of the back of the hand and forearm. Shrinking the angle puts strain on the wrist and can create a pinching sensation.

5. Take your time: Slowing things down a bit can be a huge help. Taking your time in chaturanga allows you to assess the wrist in case pain comes on. Before moving too quickly into an arm balance, use props, and make sure you are letting your core do the work.

6. Modify if you need to: Modifying a pose allows us to create a strong union of mind and body before advancing to the full variation of a pose. Create this connection first and evaluate the body. Once you feel comfortable and your wrists feel strong enough, then try the full variation of the pose!