How can I stop pain in my wrist during the Downward Facing Dog yoga pose?

Wrist aches or pains are very common with yoga practice beginners simply because they have likely not used these muscles to the extent required before. It will usually subside within a few days, and with a regular practice as these muscles are strengthened. Students can avoid excess wrist pressure by spreading the fingers wide and grounding the weight evenly through all four corners of the palms as well as out through the fingers. This prevents all of the weight from being dumped onto the wrists and provides a more even foundation. With this practice, the average healthy muscles and ligaments of the wrist can begin to accommodate Downward Facing Dog with no pain at all. If pain persists, or if you are suffering from carpal tunnel or arthritis, you can consider a pose variation which puts the weight on the forearms instead of the hands and wrists.

To perform this pose variation, place the forearms shoulder-distance apart and parallel to each other. Another variation is to use a prop called a wedge under the palms which will help reduce the angle of the wrist flexion by at least 10 percent. If you do not have a foam wedge and do not want to use your forearms, you can try rolling the front of your yoga mat a few times and using that in place of the wedge. One final option is to perform Downward Facing Dog at the wall, placing the hands on the wall shoulder-distance apart and at shoulder height. Follow usual Down Dog stance by pressing into the wall and reaching up and back with the sitting bones, lengthen the spine, and find space between the shoulder blades with your head and neck relaxed. You will retain the same pose benefits just without the added wrist pressure.

Wrist stretching is also very beneficial for any wrist pain you experience. Start by reaching the right arm out in front of you with palm facing away from you and fingertips pointing upward. Using your left hand, point your fingertips out to the right, press your palm into the fingers of your right hand, and gently guide the hand back toward you into a stretch. Change directions by taking your right hand fingertips pointing toward the floor and left hand on top of your right drawing your hand back and down while applying gentle pressure to find a stretch. These stretches can elongate the muscles surrounding the wrist joint, and can significantly enhance your yoga postures as well as prevent excess aches and pains.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.