By nature, our wrists are exceptionally prone to injury. Learn how you can conserve them in your yoga practice.
If your yoga practice commits moving into and out of Downward-Facing Dog Pose and Chaturanga Dandasana, wrist pain may be a looming or current problem. we teach workshops internationally to students and teachers who are serious about improving their practices, and about 25 percent of our students admit to wrist pain during vinyasa. And when you analyze the anatomy of the wrists, it is easy to see how these vulnerable structures might easily suffer from improper weight transfer and repetitive movement.
Your wrists have lots of moving parts. They start where your 2 forearm bones, the radius, and ulna, meet with 3 of the 8 carpal bones on each hand. The rest of the carpal bones attach to each other and the fingers. A batch of ligaments attached the many bones to each other, tendons and muscles lie above and below the bones to move the wrist and fingers.
Common Wrist Injuries
With all these misalignments, complexity in bones, ligaments, and muscles during weight-bearing poses are bound to happen, which can trigger wrist pain and 2 common conditions in particular. The first, called ulnocarpal abutment syndrome, express pressure where the ulna meets the carpal bones on the little-finger side of the wrist. This may occur if the ulna bone has a unique shape something just a small percentage of us are born with or if the wrist is repeatedly turned out against the little finger in weight-bearing poses like Downward-Facing Dog.
The second syndrome, tendonitis, is defined by tendon inflammation, often due to misalignment and weight transfer in poses such as Chaturanga Dandasana, where the wrist joint is in full extension. The chronic wrist injury is also common in yogis with relaxed or hypermobile ligaments, which can cause inflammation, ultimately arthritis, and pain.
The Surprising Secret to Protecting Your Wrists
The key to protecting your wrists is a surprise! A strong core. Evidence-based medicine demonstrates that a strong core can increment the efficiency of the rotator cuff muscles. These muscles stabilize the shoulders and can thus decrease the load that is conveyed to your wrists. On the flip side, low core strength or failure to engage the core in poses like Chaturanga Dandasana can lead to decreased shoulder and trunk stability. If the core is weak, strong shear forces transfer across the wrist, especially during transitions between poses. So picture the ubiquitous Down Dog-Chaturanga-Up Dog-Down Dog sequence. Every time you repeat it, your wrists bear weight throughout. Over time and without proper support, this can lead to the injuries characterized above. But when an effort is well dispersed throughout the core and shoulders in a vinyasa-based practice, that force in the wrists is minimized.
Author: Yogi Chetan Mahesh