There are so many yoga poses that require your hands to be on the ground (tabletop, downward dog, upward dog, plank, arm balances, handstand, etc.), and repeating these postures over and over with poor wrist and hand positioning can lead to injury. If you've recently injured your wrist, it may be appropriate to skip your yoga practice all together, but if your doctor says you’re healthy enough to participate, there are certainly a few ways to limit the pressure you put on your wrists, prevent injury, and avoid aggravation of an old wrist injury.
1. Spread your fingers: Everyone should be doing this, regardless of wrist injury.
• Practice this in tabletop. Bring your shoulders directly over your wrists and your hips directly over your knees. Take a look at your hands. Spread your fingers as wide as you possibly can. Maintain that spread as you press down evenly into all of the knuckles, the fingertips, and all four corners of the palm.
2. Prop your palms: Reducing the angle between your forearm and your hand can take some pressure off of the wrists.
• Place a wedge, a folded towel, or a folded blanket toward the top of your mat and use it throughout your entire Vinyasa with the base of your palms on the thickest part. Let your fingers touch the mat, and don't forget to spread them wide here as well.
3. Make fists: This works particularly well for tabletop and plank positions.
• Come to tabletop and make a fist (with your thumb outside of your fingers) and place the flat expanse of your knuckles on the floor. Activate the muscles in your forearm and practice stepping into and out of plank from tabletop, being careful as not to allow your wrists to buckle inward or outward. If this buckling occurs, skip this modification, and try #4 on this list.
4. Use your forearms: When others are practicing poses (like plank, side plank, and handstand) that can aggravate your wrist injury, use your forearms instead!
• Modify plank with forearm plank
• Modify side plank with forearm side plank
• Modify handstand with forearm stand
5. Take a child’s pose: When in doubt, skip it! There are certain poses that just don’t work during times of injury. Perhaps, the best modification for a pose that puts a great amount of pressure on your wrists is a simple child’s pose.
If you've newly injured your wrists, or you're dealing with chronic wrist pain, check out one of our Gentle Yoga classes. The pace is perfect for trying out some of these modifications. Click here to sign up for a class today: