In Hatha and Vinyasa yoga, the number one transitional posture is downward facing dog. Among other poses such as table top pose, or high plank pose, a lot of time is spent with the hands on the yoga mat. It can be common for practitioners to experience soreness due to collapsing a majority of their weight into their wrists joints. Although the strength of the wrists will develop over time, it’s imperative to not wear down the wrists joints as this can cause future pain or discomfort. As building the strength of the wrists develops over time, there is one component that is key to preventing weight bearing in the wrists: it’s the awareness of weight distribution. Whether you’re doing an at-home practice or you’re in the studio, here’s an easy checklist that you can keep in mind:
Shift Your Weight
Charge up your lower body with awareness. In downward facing dog, focus on lifting your hip creases up and back. Bend your knees as much as you need and actively press your thighbones back into your hamstrings and shin bones back into your calves. The energy of your lower body is lifting up and drawing back at the same time. Note that the more you lift your hips to the sky, the less weight is being placed on your wrists.
Engage Your Hands
Fan your fingers as wide as you can, stretch your fingers away from your wrists creases, and firmly press down all ten of your fingertips and knuckles down in your yoga mat (note that your fingernails may even turn white because your hands are so engaged). Now, equally plug the heels and pads of your palms into the ground. Why engage your hands more? Well, the more equally the weight is distributed, the less work your wrists are doing.
Grab a Prop or Two
The yoga block is one of the most helpful tools one can use all throughout their yoga practice. By placing two blocks underneath your hands, the blocks will act as shock absorbers for your wrist joints. As you use the blocks for support, you’re building up the strength of your wrists one pose at a time.