Wrist Pain in Yoga: Do’s and Don’ts 

Yoga, whether it’s Bikram or restorative, is a great way to build strength and flexibility which in turn can help reduce wrist pain. There are many ways of doing it, and some styles will be more beneficial to your wrist than others.

Wrist pain is common in yoga. But how does it happen? Why does it happen? What should you do about it? Should it bother you? These are all questions that arise for students, teachers, and even experienced yogis.

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We’ve all been there: your yoga instructor tells you to remain in Downward Dog is a variation of Downward Dog. for 10 deep breaths, and by the third breath, your wrists are screaming! Other yogis are not just holding it, but also relaxing into it, as you glance around the room. However, all you can think of is how painful your wrists are!

Wrist discomfort is a frequent occurrence in yoga. Many yoga postures include placing your hands on the mat, which may cause wrist stress and strain. Your wrist discomfort may continue to annoy you throughout your practice, whether it’s Plank pose or Handstand, if you don’t have correct alignment and body awareness. 

Wrist-Pain-in-Yoga-Dos-and-Donts

The good news is that yoga wrist discomfort is readily remedied! It will be simpler to prevent wrist discomfort if you are conscious of your weight distribution, posture, and body involvement. You’ll be able to hold your Downward Dog with power and ease in no time. 

 

When I practice yoga, why do my wrists hurt?

Your wrists spend the most of the day in moderate extension, which means they are not completely flexed and fully extended, whether you are driving, typing, or watching Netflix and relaxing. Your wrists are strongest when they’re in the posture they’re in the most (mildly extended), and weaker when they’re not. 

Because complete extension and flexion are frequent in yoga postures, it’s no surprise that you may feel uncomfortable in some of them. The tissues, tendons, and ligaments in your wrists are in a different position than they are accustomed to when you begin a yoga practice or perform a new posture. You may experience pain or even a dull aching when they move and bear weight beyond their normal semi-extended range. 

This little discomfort is your body’s way of alerting you. Consider it as a way of expressing, “Hey!” Help! Please make any necessary changes or reinforce other areas before continuing! ” Take a step back, breathe in, and practice in a manner that enables your wrists to relax into the full expression of the posture, rather than attempting to push beyond it.

 

How can I protect my wrists during yoga so they don’t hurt?

It’s all about being mindful of your body. When coping with wrist discomfort in yoga, you should be aware of specific feelings in your body. Furthermore, there are many recommendations to keep in mind while practicing in order to prevent wrist pain or discomfort. 

Yogi practicing Crow pose

Visualize the center of your palm rising off the mat, almost as if you were tenting up on your fingertips, to engage and activate your hands and fingers. Spread your fingers wide on your mat and use your hands to feel grounded. Activate your palm’s outside borders and four corners, as well as your finger pads.

Use your core: Arm balances like Crow pose or Handstand may seem to rely only on your upper body for support. If you imagine your energy coming only from your hands or upper body, you’ll probably put a lot of weight on your hands and wrists. Maintain full body engagement in your postures to learn to energize your whole body rather than dumping weight onto your hands and wrists. 

Practice on a firm foundation: There’s a reason most yoga mats are thin—thick padding makes for shaky footing! Consider switching to a small yoga mat and placing a folded towel or blanket beneath your knees instead of a heavy mat to protect your knees. Check the floor under your yoga mat for any sand or grass, and stick to firmer surfaces instead. 

 

Wrist Pain in Yoga Do’s & Don’ts 

Take a minute in your posture to check in with yourself whether you typically feel any stiffness or soreness in your wrists throughout your yoga practice. Yoga emphasizes bodily awareness, and if you experience any pain or discomfort, it’s typically your body attempting to tell you something. If this happens, take a step back from your posture, take a deep breath, and check in with your body. 

Following are some DO’s and DON’Ts to remember when practicing:

  • DO use your fingers and the heel of your hand to push equally. Feel the weight evenly and steadily spread. 
  • DO NOT put all of your weight on your heel.

Wrist-Pain-in-Yoga-Dos-and-Donts

  • DO stretch your fingers wide, engage your hands, and push down on the surface with your finger pads. 
  • DO NOT keep your fingers intertwined and still.
  • DO support your body using your core and other muscles. 
  • DO NOT let your body’s weight to sink into your wrists.

hand placement-do's and don'ts

  • DO position your wrists such that your middle finger points forward and your wrists are parallel to the mat. 
  • DO NOT point your fingers to the edges of the room or spin your wrists. 

In addition to these dos and don’ts, keep the following in mind if you start to experience wrist discomfort while in a pose: 

  • Pull your belly button toward your spine to activate your core in your postures. 
  • To raise the weight of your legs upward, engage your hamstrings and glutes.
  • To stimulate your arms and create equal weight distribution, engage your biceps and triceps.
  • Visualize your biceps and triceps turning outward and inward, respectively. Both muscles will be able to engage and align in the opposite way. 
  • To encourage correct alignment and less weight on your wrists, move your shoulder blades farther from your ears.

 

Exercises to Strengthen Your Wrists

There are a few non-yoga exercises you may perform to strengthen your wrists in addition to consciously practicing yoga postures with correct alignment and form. These exercises not only strengthen your wrists for yoga, but they also assist relieve wrist discomfort caused by typing, writing, or scrolling through your phone.

Try these workouts a couple of times each week. However, if your wrists are already inflamed or in discomfort, take a few days off before attempting to use them. If you experience persistent wrist discomfort, it’s a good idea to see your doctor. 

Curls of the wrist

This exercise is performed with extremely low weights, similar to bicep curls. If the weights are too heavy, use 1-2 pound weights or even a water bottle.

Yogi practicing Wrist Curl

  1. Start by sitting on a chair and holding a weight in each hand. 
  2. With your hands hanging over the side of each knee and palms facing down, place your forearms and elbows squarely on top of your thighs. 
  3. Make sure your hands are facing down. 
  4. Wrists should be curled upward.
  5. Release after a brief pause of 1-2 seconds.
  6. Make sure your wrists and hands are the only ones moving. On top of your thigh, keep your forearms absolutely motionless.
  7. Rep 8 times more. 
  8. Repeat 8 times in this manner, flipping your hands so the palms face upward. 

Squeezing a Ball

It’s preferable to use a semi-soft stress ball or even a dog toy for this. This workout comes in two versions, so try both to discover which one feels best in your body. 

Yogi practicing Hand squeezes

  • Crab Squeeze: Squeeze all of your fingers together, excluding your thumb, as if forming a claw. Squeeze the ball between your “claws” for 2 seconds, then let go for 2 seconds. Perform three sets of eight repetitions.
  • The 3-Finger Squeeze is similar to the crab squeeze, except instead of keeping two fingers together, you keep them together and squeeze the ball with those two fingers and your thumb.
        • First set: Squeeze the ball between your pointer/middle finger and your thumb using your pointer/middle finger.
        • Second set: Squeeze the ball between your middle and ring fingers and your thumb with your middle and ring fingers together.
        • Third set: Squeeze the ball between your ring and pinkie fingers and your thumb with your ring and pinkie fingers together.

 

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Yoga

Do you spend your days seated at a computer or at a desk? If that’s the case, you’ve probably heard of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Each hand has nine flexor tendons that join via the carpal tunnel. The median nerve, which connects the hand to the wrist and forearm, is housed in the carpal tunnel. The flexor tendons may enlarge from overuse, putting pressure on the median nerve, causing discomfort, tingling, and numbness.

Tenderness or inflammation in the wrists, hands, or forearms are common symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Yoga, fortunately, is one of the suggested exercises since it may assist to alleviate your problems. You may continue to practice yoga as long as your doctor has given you permission. Consider including a few wrist-friendly adjustments in your routine. 

 

Modifications to Yoga Poses for the Wrists

Yoga postures may be easily modified to accommodate wrist discomfort. Props will quickly become your new best friend in your yoga practice, allowing you to practice painlessly. 

Make use of a chair or a wall.

Any position that requires pushing the hands into the mat, such as Downward Facing Dog or Plank, may be done on the wall or in a chair. The lightest option is practicing on the wall; the only weight you’ll carry on your wrists is small and easily managed. 

Your hands take on a little extra weight when you sit on a chair. Use a sturdy (non-cushioned) chair that will not move to make the modification. To get even additional support, lean the chair against the wall. 

Here are several postures that may be done against a wall or in a chair: 

Use light dumbbells or light weights.

 Weights or dumbbells may assist you align your wrists and reduce the amount of weight on them. Instead of putting your hands on the mat in Plank and Plank on the side, you may grasp square-sided dumbbells. This grip will maintain your wrists in the comfortable mid-extended position. This may assist to keep the median nerve from being overworked. Make fists in positions where your palms would normally be on the mat, such as Cat/Cow or Tabletop. 

Use a Towel or a Folded Mat

This will reduce the angle of your wrist and distribute the weight burden across the whole length of your hand. Fold your mat or towel 1 to 2 times over at the very edge to make a modification. Keep your fingers off the mat and the heel of your hand on the cushioned, folded-over portion of the mat while your palms are flat on the mat in your posture. This padding should be no more than 1-3 cm in height.

Exercise Your Elbows

Practice specific postures on your elbows and forearms to relieve tension and weight on your wrists. This version is considerably more pleasant to practice, and you still receive all of the advantages of the position. 

On your forearms, you may perform the following poses: 

  • Plank 
  • Side Plank 
  • Cobra 
  • Downward Dog 

 

Wrist Warm-Up Techniques

Another cause of wrist discomfort is improper muscle, ligament, and tendon preparation prior to bearing weight and approaching full flexion/extension. Make sure your wrists are fully warmed up before you begin practicing. These exercises may be done on your way to class or while waiting for class to begin. 

Wrist Warm Ups

Figure-8’s

Instead of moving your whole arm, concentrate on just moving your wrists in this exercise. 

  1. Join your hands in a fist. 
  2. Draw a sideways figure 8 with your hands pushed together. 
  3. Switch your clasp so that your non-dominant thumb is on top after 8 repetitions.
  4. Rep 8 times more.

Wringing Towels

You could also use a sweatshirt, blanket, or any other piece of fabric you have on hand. Warm up your wrists with your yoga towel before class. 

  1. With one hand, hold either end of the towel. 
  2. 8 times wring the towel in one way. 
  3. Rep 8 times in the other way. 

Fingers interlaced

The whole body feels wonderful after this delicious stretch. Maintain a comfortable posture with your shoulders and neck. 

  1. Extend your arms in front of you so that they are parallel to your shoulders.
  2. As if you were about to cradle the back of your head, interlace your fingers. 
  3. Turn your palms away from you and turn your hands. 
  4. Extend your arms and attempt to maintain your palms in a single, parallel line with your arms. preventing the fingerpads from extending forward
  5. Stay for a few breaths while relaxing your shoulders and neck.

Tabletop Backward Wrist Extension

We typically practice Tabletop with our fingers pointed towards the front of the room. To stretch and open up your wrists, try this variation. 

  1. Begin in a Tabletop posture on your hands and knees. 
  2. Make sure your hands and knees are both beneath your shoulders and hips. 
  3. Instead of pointing to the front of the room, start pointing to the sides or rear of the room with your fingers. 
  4. Keep your fingers pointed to the left and right sides of the room if pointing them toward your knees or the rear of the room is too severe.
  5. To feel the stretch, shift your weight forward and backward into your hands. 
  6. Take a few deep breaths or do a few rounds of Cat/Cow here. 

 

I have a wrist injury, but can I still do yoga?

It may be aggravating to have a wrist injury. Certain positions may cause discomfort in your body, or you may need to omit certain poses during practice. Yoga, on the other hand, is a voyage of discovery about yourself and the world around you. 

Injuries may often lead to amazing discoveries. You may discover new methods to practice, new techniques to develop other muscles, and a deeper sense of self-awareness. However, if you have a wrist issue, you may still practice yoga, but keep the following in mind: 

  • Know your body: Wrist discomfort is not the same as wrist damage. If you have a sprained, strained, or fractured wrist, take it easy for a few days before returning to your practice. 
  • Pay attention to pain: Pain is your body’s way of telling you that you’ve gone too far. When practicing, remember to relax and listen to your body. Don’t put pressure on yourself to be there. 
  • Modify your postures: Making little adjustments to your poses may make your yoga practice much more pleasant. For added comfort, use a wall, practice on your forearms, or roll up your mat. 
  • Standing postures: There are a lot of yoga poses that don’t need you to put any weight on your hands or wrists. Feel free to skip some of the stiffer positions and concentrate on a standing yoga practice like Warrior 1, Tree pose, and Triangle pose. 

You don’t have to quit doing yoga because you have a wrist injury. In reality, there are a variety of postures that may assist you relieve wrist discomfort. Try out a couple of the postures, make any necessary adjustments, and make props your new best friend. During your yoga practice, ease and comfort are essential, and both may be achieved even if you have wrist discomfort. 

 

1622055265_466_10-Ways-Yoga-Promotes-Longevity

Mariel is a yoga instructor and writer living in New York City. She has been teaching for ten years and has been a lifelong student of the old art.

Wrist pain is one of the most common complaints that yoga students have, and it affects a wide variety of students in different ways. It can be as painful as a pulled muscle, as little as aches in the bones of the wrists, or as debilitating as the sharp pains that come with a broken wrist. The cause of most wrist pain in yoga is not injury but overuse.. Read more about ulnar wrist pain yoga and let us know what you think.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do you do yoga with a wrist injury?

Yoga is a great way to stretch out your muscles and get some relief from wrist pain. You can also try using a foam roller or tennis ball to massage the affected area.

How can I stop wrist pain during yoga?

Some people have found that using a wrist strap can help to alleviate the pain.

How do you relieve wrist pain?

Wrist pain can be caused by a number of things, including overuse and repetitive movements. If you experience wrist pain, it is recommended that you take a break from the activity causing the pain and try some other activities to see if they are more comfortable for your wrists.

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