Wrist Health

Wrist Health

In almost every yoga class I teach, there are several people who complain of wrist sensitivity. Causes for wrist pain and weakness can vary from excessive computer use to previous breaks and injuries. The wrist is the stabilizer which permits the movement of the fingers and thumb by forming a brace which allows intricate movements (such as playing a musical instrument, writing, typing, etc.) and strength and weight bearing movements (like lifting, pushing, supporting, balancing required by athletics and physical labor).
Poor postural alignment of the shoulders, poor circulation and an overall sedentary lifestyle contributes to muscle imbalance, atrophy and weakness in hand grip.
It has been my observation that students who suffer from R.S.D. (Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy) and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (a pinching of the median nerve in the wrist) have found relief, reversal of the disease (especially, but not limited to, the early stages), and healing with regular yoga practice. Dr. Marian Garfinkel, doctor of education, teaches Iyengar Yoga and has authored a study on the effectiveness of yoga for carpal tunnel syndrome.

IMPORTANT! Before beginning your exercise program, talk with your doctor to make sure you do not have any obstetric or health condition that would limit your activity. Variations and modifications of the postures must take into account the needs and restrictions of the individual.  We encourage you to seek the advice of an experienced certified yoga instructor for further alignment advice.

If the condition is extremely painful, rest of the joint is recommended. Then begin gradually to strengthen the wrist by carefully increasing the amount of time that your body is in weight-loaded wrist extension. (rest frequently when you feel the edge of discomfort) Examples of poses in wrist extension (a 90 degree bend in the wrist, drawing the fingers toward the front of your forearm) See Plank, Crocodile, Cobra, Upward Facing Dog. You may use props, such as the yoga blocks, (see Downward Facing Dog with blocks) in any weight loaded position to reduce wrist stress.

Here are some key treatments for wrist health:

  1. Stretch and use weight training to strengthen complimentary muscles groups in the arm: Deltoids, Triceps, Biceps, Flexors and Extensors of the Forearm and strengthen the abdominals for extra weight bearing support.
  2. Try establishing new habits for lifting, pushing and pulling to decrease the auto response in your habitual motor patterns.
  3. Massage therapy ( a good upper back and neck massage) to increase circulation and improve your range of motion.
  4. Breathing and relaxation training
  5. Give yourself permission to rest and be patient with the healing journey


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DISCLAIMER: The author of this site is not a physician. The ideas, suggestions, references and instructions are not intended as a substitute for medical counseling by a trained medical professional. For your safety, consult your doctor before beginning your practice. Not all exercises are suitable for everyone. Any fitness/yoga program may result in possible injury. All visitors to this site assume all risks of injury arising directly or indirectly from advice on this site. MonicaMathewsYoga.com provides links to other organizations as a service to our readers and is not responsible for the information, services, or products provided by these web sites, health professionals, or companies.