We get lots of questions about how to prevent wrist yoga wrist pain and injuries in yoga poses, especially when it comes to arm balances and inversions. If you’re new to yoga, poses like downward facing dog (adho mukha svanasana), plank (kumbhakasana), and side plank (vasisthasana) can feel incredibly strenuous on your wrists, but with time, and a safe practice, that soreness lessens.
One of the main reasons people experience soreness in their wrists is due to unequal distribution of weight into their hands. A really important way to avoid this is to USE YOUR CORE! Pull your belly button in towards your spine and stay engaged throughout the pose.
Easy Fix: Modify poses by taking them from a kneeling position. Use your knees in plank, or side plank, and even downward facing dog until you’re ready to come up onto your feet.
Check Your Alignment
In poses like plank pose, check your alignment and make sure your shoulders are aligned with your wrists to avoid any wrist injuries.
Modify Until You’re Ready
Use your forearms in plank, side plank, and even downward facing dog until you’re ready to use your wrists. Sometimes even coming up onto fists can help lessen the soreness you might feel in these poses. Listen to your body, and see that wrist pain as a red flag and a sign that you need to modify until your body is ready to move on to the next step. Don’t be afraid to ask your instructor for modifications to help if you’re feeling pain.
It’s ok to take a break! You know you’re body best, but sometimes pushing yourself to the limit, especially on your wrists, can lead to a longer term injury down the road. Take breaks in child’s pose as you need them, or just sit back on your mat and let your wrists breathe until you’re ready to come back to a pose.
Strengthen and Stretch Your Wrists
- Using light weights, or no weight at all, try some wrist curls. These are similar to a bicep curl in their movement, but focus on just the wrists.
- Use a stress ball to tone your wrists.
- Stretch out your wrists by coming into a table top pose and gently turning your hands until your fingers are pointing inwards. Take your time and be gentle on those wrists!
- Placing a towel in your hand, reach your arm over your head and down your back as far as you can reach, and grab the other end of the towel from the bottom with your other hand. Bonus, this will also stretch the rest of your arms and not just your wrists!
Yoga blocks and cushions can be your friend, if you use them the right way. Check your alignment (shoulders stacked on top of wrists, belly engaged, pelvis tucked under) and see how it feels to approach a pose with block or cushion under your hands.