Last night at Yoga del Sol, I led a Asana and Anatomy workshop on Wrists. As promised, here are my notes from the class. Notes are never a complete class or explanation, so feel free to ask if you have questions….
all 8 bones:-), they articular with each other, with the metacarpals
on your hand and with the radius, (The ulna articulates with a disc
rather than the bones themselves) No two of these bones have the
same movements! That’s one complicated joint! Actually almost
like many different joints. These bones are circled by a
retinaculum. This thick band of connective tissue is like a cuff
holding the bones and holding the long tendons that run elbow to
fingers in place close to the bone. That’s alot literally bound up
in there. PRACTICE – on one another, smooth out the flexor (palmar)
pass through the wrist and the wrist itself is controlled by the
muscles of the forearms. So how do we support the wrist when we are
in poses that are weight bearing or creating force on the wrist? We
have to use the forearms, which are usually weak and tight from
everyday use. Its a funny thing, when we are weightbearing on our
feet in yoga, we get that we have to engage the feet and the legs,
its the only way to stand tall. But when we are weightbearing on the
hands, we tend to just let them be curled and soft. Initially, it
may be uncomfortable to support the hands as we develop strength and
flexibility in the muscles but it must be done if they are to do
the arch of the hand. Notice that there is an indentation in the
palm of your hand. With your hand flat, Increase the depth of that
indentation. You can do this looking at the palm of your hand and
seeing it happen. You should do this with every posture that is
weightbearing on your wrists. Try it in table, Down Dog, and Plank –
palms down, fingers wide, lifting the arch of the hand. You will feel
this in your hands and forearms.
Nerve pain felt in the wrist could be a result though of compression
anywhere from the neck to the wrist.
Syndrome, Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
pass through here as does a major nerve. If the retinaculum is
tight or the bones have shifted or there is inflammation in the
tendons, this will cause irritation of the nerve as it rubs against
its surroundings and becomes compressed.
other hand to limit the movement of other joints. Work with both
flexion and extension. And work with moving one finger at a time.
fingers to straight. This is done with the wrist bent. Can resist
with other palm or floor.
with a weight in hand.
flexed, flex and extend wrist. Can also be done with weights.
joints (i.e. shoulders) places greater strain on smaller joints (ie
elbows and wrists) we are very familiar with this of course in
relation to knees and hips, but also true in wrists esp for poses
that put pressure on the wrists. Opening your shoulders can make
your wrists happier 🙂
impinger nerves creating pain in wrists, but can restrict
blood/oxygen flow further exacerbating the situation and making
healing challenging. Rounded upper back, hunched shoulders = bad
news for wrists.
(see above). So, for the best possible comfort in a pose, esp a pose
with weighted hands, watch the alignment of your WHOLE body!
encouraging full ROM in shoulders:
up back of hands to wall, then quarter way down, then halfway down,
holding about 1 minute in each position. This encourages proper ROM
function and engagement in shoulders, elbows, and wrists. Don’t
strain but notice where you feel restriction, this gives you info as
to what to work on to gain greater everyday comfort.
INTO YOUR ASANA TO ALLEVIATE STRAIN ON THE WRISTS:
You cannot do this without moving your whole arm – it requires proper
mobility in shoulder and elbow, not just wrist. We do this rotation
in the shoulder in Downward Dog to engage the shoulder and and
serratus anterior without compromising the thoracic outlet – this
also helps alleviate pressure on your wrist as you are no longer
“hanging out” in your joints. TRY IT in Down Dog, plank and
other like crossing your fingers. This narrows your wrist,
particularly inhibiting if you have carpel tunnel syndrome. This
repetitive motion can cause pain and burning in the wrist. PRACTICE-
Down Dog, Plank and table without rotating the wrist. Anytime you
have a body part weighted on the floor, you always want the most
surface area possible! This can also be an eye-opening practice in
Side Plank. Just remember, Side Plank is an awesome pose for wrists
when your alignment is right on (lining up your wrist, elbow and
shoulder joints vertically) but its a TERRIBLE pose for your wrists
when your alignment is off.
up. Now, rotate your palm down keeping your elbow tucked in. If the
palm doesn’t turn all the way over, it may be because the elbow
doesn’t have its proper range of motion and is asking the wrist to
do more rotation than its built for. This limitation in the elbow
may be coming from elbow or shoulder. Working with this rotation
with both palm and Shoulder/Upper Arm fixed can really change your
Chataraga for the good!
poses where the hands are weightbearing –
with fingers spread wide
your elbows forward without locking your elbows.
Plank – type poses, remember they are core poses NOT upper body
poses, reach back through your heels, engage your core!
poses, don’t worry about getting your heels to the floor. Bend the
knees and take your weight back, chest toward knees and reduce the
angle of your wrists (they should be coming toward flat toward the
Egoscue for whole body practices
Hanson Lasater – text not practices.
Gray’s Anatomy for anatomy