If you’ve been to one of our classes then you know that we love a good down dog or plank pose. But what you might not know, is that we also love keeping you guys healthy and protected in each pose that we go into.
Wrist injuries are a common occurrence and if you aren’t distributing your weight in certain poses (down dog, plank, arm balances, etc.) it can make those injuries more prevalent. So we wanted to take a moment and give some tips on how to protect your wrists and hands.
- Distribute the weight in your hands.
In any pose where we are bearing weight on our arms we tend to pour most of the weight into the heel of the hand. That puts A LOT of pressure on your wrists. Instead, spread your fingers wide on your yoga mat, and press firmly through each finger keeping the arch in the center of the hand light and lifted. This should help you to spread out the weight through the rest of your hand.
- Distribute the weight in your poses.
In down dog, rather than pouring all your weight into your arms and your hands, try and push yourself back and evenly distribute the weight between your lower half and upper half. Imagine you could lift your forearms off the mat and push your weight up and back towards your heels. If down dog begins to feel intense or if you feel pain, drop to your knees, or come to your forearms for dolphin pose.
- Let your body help you.
In planks, side planks and arm balances we tend to think that our arms are doing all the work but that isn’t true. One of the key factors to protecting your wrists is a strong core! In plank, engaging your core and your legs is going to help tremendously in the weight bearing. The same goes for down dog, engaging your core and your legs is going to help you pull yourself further back and shift your weight more evenly over your whole body. And as always, you can lower your knees in plank, or bend your elbows slightly to alleviate some strain to your wrists.
- More core.
We can’t emphasize the importance of a strong core enough. A stronger core is also going to increase the strength in your shoulders and decrease the weight put into your wrists. Using your core to lift your body weight up instead of dumping your weight into your arms and wrists will be a game changer for your practice.
If you ever feel pain in your wrists it’s time to make an adjustment. A few modifications you can make are dropping to your forearms, lowering your knees, making fists rather than being on your hands, or simply taking yourself back to child’s pose.
This is your practice, and your body. The more you practice, the more in tune with yourself you’re going to become, and it’s important to take care of your body. If you ever have questions or need a modification, ask your teacher! There are no egos in the studio (no shame in our game). We want you to get the most out of your practice and you can’t do that if you aren’t honoring the signals that your body sends you. We hope this will help you to explore what your wrists feel in certain poses, and to better protect them so we can keep seeing your beautiful smiling faces!