Wrist pain? There’s a modification for that! If you’re like many people who suffer from wrist pain—whether from hours typing away on a computer or even from your yoga practice—there’s no need to roll up your mat and put it aside.
Plenty of postures can be modified to reduce the weight-bearing aspect of them, or replaced with similar poses to give you the same benefits without the pain. Here are five tricks to avoid wrist pain during yoga.
1. Shift your weight.
You may be able to eliminate the pain by changing the way you support yourself. Instead of having your hands flat on the mat, you may be able to form a fist instead or lower down to your forearms. This would work in postures such as Plank, Side Angle, or even Downward Dog.
By forming a fist, you take the weight off of your wrists and help strengthen them at the same time. If you feel pressure in your shoulders by doing this, you may want to go to your forearms instead.
2. Change your angle.
A foam wedge can help reduce or eliminate pain in your wrists by increasing the angle of your wrists. If you don’t have a foam wedge, a folded towel may serve the same purpose.
The whole goal is to adjust your position so that your wrists and the heels of your hands are higher than you fingers. In other words, the angle between your forearm and the top of your hand should be more than 90 degrees.
3. Adjust your surface.
A thick, cushiony mat may feel nice on your knees, hips, and spine, but it may not be serving your wrists very well. If you experience wrist pain, try switching to a thinner mat and be sure you’re practicing on a hard surface like you’ll find in most yoga studios.
By practicing on carpet or a thick mat, the heels of your hands are more apt to sink and change the angle of your wrists, thereby putting more pressure on them.
4. Grab a prop.
Blocks or even a chair may help too. By essentially raising the floor, you’ll reduce the amount of pressure being placed on your hands and wrists. One option is to use blocks under each hand.
If you need even more assistance, try using a chair—just be sure to turn your hands out so your fingers can wrap around the seat for support and balance.
5. Bend your knees.
In some cases, just bending your knees may be enough to shift the overall weight so there is less pressure on your hands. In other cases, you may choose to place your knees on the floor. This approach will still require some support from your wrists, but it will be drastically diminished.
Ultimately, the best way to eliminate wrist pain is to stretch and strengthen your wrists. On top of that, a strong core and arms will keep you from collapsing into your hands and forcing your wrists to bear the brunt of your body weight.
As always, most importantly, listen to your body. If a posture is causing pain, do you what you need to do to reduce the strain. You’ll most likely want to avoid balancing postures such as Crow. And vary your sequence so it includes plenty of postures that don’t require putting weight on your wrists.