modifying yoga poses for wrists
posted: September 1, 2010
My husband recently joined me at my yoga studio for his first class. He’s eager to return for another class, but suffers from a joint condition that makes it difficult, at best, for him to fully flatten his palms (both in midair and on the ground). He modified any necessary poses in class the other day by doing them on clenched fists (so on his knuckles), but I’m sure there has to be a better, less painful modification he can attempt. Do you have any suggestions or thoughts? Thanks so much! - Megan
a yogi answers
Thank you for your note. Glad to hear that your husband has chosen to join you in your yoga practice as I, myself enjoy the time my wife and I spend together at Moksha yoga.
While there indeed may be a number of reasons that he is unable to reach full extension in his wrists upon certain poses, thankfully a number of modifications can be performed to ensure maximum benefit from such poses.
Avoidance. Many poses such as the plank and downward dog can easily be performed on the forearms rather than the palms. Utilizing such modification can ensure minimal load placed on the wrists while maximizing the ease at which the poses are performed…especially if your husband is a beginner.
Assistive devices. Foam rolls and blocks, sliced and modified can be utilized to minimize the angle at which the wrists are placed in loaded positions. If your husband is a handyman, I’m sure he can create one suitable for himself with relative ease. Additionally, the use of a thicker yoga mat may dampen the load placed on his hands and wrists.
Core strength. Finally, performing additional exercises to improve his core strength and endurance will ensure a more stable torso that undoubtedly will lessen the loads that the wrists must bear.
more about dr. jeff
• chiropractic sports specialist, strength and conditioning specialist, and co-owner of Back On Track Chiropractic & Sport Injury Clinic in Spruce Grove, Alberta
• committee member of KidSport (Parkland chapter), a national not-for-profit organization that provides financial assistance for registration fees and equipment to kids from 5 – 18 years.
• Ironman triathlete
• member of Team Canada’s inline hockey medical staff
• also teaches “Roll, Release, and Restore”, a movement based class targeting myofascial length, joint range of motion, and dynamic stability.
• Jeff’s website
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