When I am not doing, thinking or writing about yoga, I work on websites. This means I am on my computer a lot. A few years ago, I developed pain in my right wrist. I couldn’t use my mouse without supporting it with my left hand. Not good for someone who makes a living on her computer. Now I alternate between a track pad and a track ball and that seems to do the trick. Yoga has also really helped out.
An injury to your hands or wrist can be debilitating. You use your hands all the time – for basic survival, working, expressing and just getting through your day. Repetitive strain injury (RSI) is strain that is related to actions that are frequently repeated. It is quite prevalent today. One of the contributing factors is how we interact with all of our modern technology, such as texting, typing and using a mouse.
Poor posture, muscle tension and stress also contribute. When your shoulders and back don’t provide strong support for a task, the heavy lifting falls to the smaller joints. Poor posture may also constrict nerves in your arms, which can result in pain, numbness and swelling in your wrists.
How can yoga help with wrist pain? It:
- Increases Awareness
Yoga helps you engage in any activity in a more mindful, less stressful way. It helps you to step back, slow down and look at any injury more objectively. Are there certain patterns that may be causing or contributing to the injury? How can you change or replace them with new, healthier patterns?
- Improves Posture
Yoga improves postural alignment. This will provide better support for the muscles and tendons in the wrists, elbows and hands.
Yoga can also help by directly affecting your achy wrists. You can practice certain poses to strengthen and stretch the tissues around your wrist.
Below are a few yoga poses to prevent and combat wrist pain. Some help develop strength and mobility in your upper back and shoulders. Others are intended to stretch and strengthen your wrists.
Yoga Poses for Wrist Pain
Arm Raises on the Wall (for shoulder mobility)
Stand in Tadasana (Mountain pose) with your back against the wall. Raise your arms overhead, palms facing in. Relax your shoulder blades down the wall. Take a few breaths here. Lower your arms and repeat but this time bring your arms up from the side.
Half Moon with Fingers Interlaced
From Tadasana (Mountain Pose), interlace your fingers with your palms facing out and arms stretched out in front of you. Raise your arms overhead, palms facing up. Again, focus on relaxing your shoulders down. Hold here for a few breaths. On an exhale, bend to your right keeping your hips and chest facing forward. Reach and extend feeling a stretch in your wrists and on your side body. Hold for a few breaths. Inhale back to center and repeat on the other side.
Do this from standing or sitting. Reach one hand out in front of you, parallel to the ground. Flex your wrist back so that your fingers are pointing to the ground and your palm is facing forward. Use the opposite hand to gently pull back on your fingers. You can also pull one finger at a time starting with your thumb. Hold for a few breaths and then repeat on the other side. Roll your wrists out.
Stand with your feet hips width distance apart. Fold forward bending at your hips. Bend your knees as much as you need to so that your hands touch the ground. Lift your toes, and slide your hands under your feet. Your palms will be facing up with your fingers pointing toward your heels. Slide your hands all the way under so that your toes can massage wrists. You can even wiggle your toes to massage yourwrists. Hold for several breaths.
Arm Pigeon (great shoulder opener)
Start on your stomach with your forehead on your palms. Stretch one arm in a t-position, palm down at shoulder height. Turn your head in the opposite direction so that your cheek is on the floor. Place the palm of your opposite hand on the floor by your chest. Use this hand to gently roll yourself on to your hip. Bring your knees towards your chest and open your chest towards the sky. Hold for several breaths and move to the other side ((see video below).
Do you have any favourite yoga poses for wrists? Just hit reply to share!
One last thing. Jill has written a great blog post with some creative ideas on practicing Drishti. Be sure to give it a read.