How To Save Your Wrists: Inner Triads
For some people, wrist issues can be a big problem in yoga and can prevent you from doing a lot of common poses. It will take the joy out of a Flow class in no time. If your wrist(s) bother you, you know exactly what I’m talking about. I know first hand how detrimental an old wrist injury can be to a yoga practice (pun intended). There are plenty of modifications (below) one can take to avoid bearing weight on the hands, but there is a technique that may save your wrists if practiced regularly.
Too often do I hear yoga teachers give cues that set your wrists up for injury. I’ll hear “press into your outer wrist” or “press into the four corners of your hands”. No and NO!! If you hear your instructor say this, DO NOT LISTEN! Instead, listen to what I’m about to tell you because it will prevent an overuse injury and will help alleviate pain that you may already have.
Anytime you are bearing weight on your hands in yoga, you should press through the Inner Triads of your hands. Translation: the inner L your thumbs and index fingers make. This means to press firmly through your thumbs, the outer edges of the index fingers, and the webbing between the index finger and thumb. By doing this, it takes the weight out of the wrists, and especially the outer wrists which is very important. The reason being, there is a little bone in your outer wrist which is THE tiniest bone in your appendicular skeletal system. In fact, it’s the smallest bone in your entire skeletal system next to some bones in your skull. It makes no sense to bear weight on such a small bone, right?
Now that you know the weight goes to the inner triads of your hands, the next important thing for keeping your wrist safe is the placement of the hands. Your hands are supposed to be shoulder width apart, with your fingers spread WIDE, and the middle fingers pointing straight ahead. I feel as though a lot of people do not understand how narrow there shoulders are because no matter how many times I cue it, I see students hands wider than their shoulders. So, as you’re reading this, set down your device and do the following…
1. Come to a sitting or standing position.
2. Keeping your shoulders down, bring both arms straight in front of you at shoulder height.
3. Line your wrists directly in front of its shoulder so your arms are parallel to one another.
4. Bend your wrists back with flat hands bringing your middle fingers to point straight up, then spread your fingers as wide as possible.
5. Take note of how much space is between your thumbs because this is shoulder width apart for your body 🙂
Important: You should never feel pain in your wrists in yoga. If you do come out of the pose immediately.
Modifications: You can modify by placing a rolled up towel or yoga wedge under the heals of the hands, or take the forearm variation of the pose instead. Example: Forearm Planks instead of regular Plank Pose; Dolphin Pose instead of Downdog; Forearm Balance instead of Handstand