Unlike many movement modalities, the yoga practice requires that you place a great deal of your body weight onto your hands and wrists. While weight bearing through the upper body is an excellent way to build strength and stamina, it can also be problematic for students suffering from wrist weakness, carpal tunnel syndrome, or joint inflammation. While it’s best to avoid weight-bearing on the hands when you have an acute injury, you can often alleviate wrist discomfort through incorporating a few simple techniques into your practice.
Anchor the whole hands
If you feel excessive pressure in the base of your wrists, it is possible that you are not distributing your weight through your entire palm. Check your knuckles; usually the index knuckle lifts or is light. By anchoring the whole palm into your mat, you will spread the weight across a greater surface area and relieve pressure points.
Use muscular effort
Rather than leave the hands resting passive against your mat, imagine that the center of your palm is lifting like a suction cup. Without moving the fingers, try to drag your fingertips towards the center of your palm to create a lift through the arches of your hands.
Create an incline for your palm to direct more weight into your knuckles and fingers. Fold a strap or fold a mat into a narrow shape, then slide it horizontally under the front of your mat. Place the heel of your hand onto the elevated platform, then place your fingers on the downward side of the slope. This position will help direct more of your body weight down into your fingers and out of your wrist.
A yogi, writer, and educational designer, Rachel loves helping others explore and express their passion and potential. As a designer, she helps studios and yoga teachers create their dream teacher trainings. As a writer and speaker, she continually wrestles with the juicy bits of life: relationships, anxiety, depression, and discovering meaning in this crazy, wildish world. Author: Wit and Wisdom from the Yoga Mat, Head Over Heels: A Yogi's Guide To Dating. E-RYT 500, YACEP, MFA, MSci. Meet her at Rachelyoga.com.