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Old 08-14-2008, 10:28 PM   #1
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Question Question about Yoga

I don't practice yoga, though some of the workout DVDs I have incorporate yoga/pilates positions. My problem is that these positions KILL my wrists -- the positions themselves are usually fine and I can maintain them were it not for all the pressure bearing down on my wrists. I've tried to readjust my weight, etc but nothing I've tried thus far seems to help.

Can anyone who practice yoga regularly give me some tips? I do actually own one Pilates DVD, but I can hardly finish it bc of this wrist issue.

Thanks!
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Old 08-14-2008, 10:44 PM   #2
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Yoga should not be uncomfortable to the point of pain. Can you practice in front of a mirror so you can make sure you're mimicing the videos correctly and not doing the position wrong? I really feel it's worth going to a "live" class with an instructor that will help you with the correct positions and make sure you're not overextending yourself.
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Old 08-15-2008, 06:34 AM   #3
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There are a a number of yoga/Pilates moves that don't involve putting all of your weight on your wrists ... maybe just focus on those? There are always alternative ways to work those same muscles. For core, there are plank variations (front / side) that you can do on your elbows, not hands/wrists. Otherwise, I'm not sure how to get around the wrist pain issue.
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Old 08-15-2008, 09:27 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KLK View Post
I don't practice yoga, though some of the workout DVDs I have incorporate yoga/pilates positions. My problem is that these positions KILL my wrists -- the positions themselves are usually fine and I can maintain them were it not for all the pressure bearing down on my wrists. I've tried to readjust my weight, etc but nothing I've tried thus far seems to help.

Can anyone who practice yoga regularly give me some tips? I do actually own one Pilates DVD, but I can hardly finish it bc of this wrist issue.

Thanks!
I did my first yoga class yesterday at the gym and I'm with you 100%!!! My wrists were killing me!! 'Specially my right one, that I broke a few years back and it never got fixed properly ... but, even my left wrist was hurting a bit!! =[
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Old 08-15-2008, 03:57 PM   #5
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My wrists kill me with yoga often too, unless I'm really careful -

I did take a live class for a while and the instructor said that my hands were anchored too far back so my wrist was bending a little backwards in a lot of the straight "palms directly under shoulders" poses. I felt like my hands were too far forward so I would pull back to compensate, then wrist would bend forward. I've discovered that I still feel like I'm too far forward, but when I look in the mirror my elbows are over palms, shoulders are over elbows. That has helped.

I also bought a thicker yoga mat - don't know if it was the mat or a better posture, but they don't hurt the way they did anymore.
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Old 08-15-2008, 04:04 PM   #6
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Try using more padding, and-or blocks. Foam yoga blocks (bricks) help. Also, I have yoga and pilates videos that incorporate the use of a fitness ball. because the ball supports much of your weight, there is less pressure on your hands/wrists when doing some of the moves.

I want to echo what others have said. Yoga shouldn't hurt. Neither should pilates. find ways to modify the poses (including getting professional help) so that you do not injure yourself.
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Old 08-15-2008, 04:37 PM   #7
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Many times there are alternative positions for various yoga poses specifically addressing the wrist problem - apparently lots of people have this trouble. It could be worth it to take some classes with a good teacher, if at all possible, and ask some questions about the positions that bother you. I also endorse the use of blocks and extra padding. Can change tha angle that you're working with and take pressure off the area.

In some cases you can also be supported by your forearms rather than using your wrists, or the positions can be supported by being on your knees rather than on your toes, which changes the angle your wrists are. Also, sometimes there are alternative poses to do when everyone else is doing the wrist hurting one. A good teacher or other resource can help with this.

I know this doesn't make sense in the abstract but when you take it pose by pose there is always a modification to meet your needs. As the others say, yoga isn't meant to hurt and I've found it very flexible in being able to be modified so that you can enjoy it and get the benefit.
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Old 08-16-2008, 10:27 AM   #8
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Karen: I'm a new yogi. Very new. I began taking an instructional beginner's class in Ashtanga Yoga that meets once a week for eight weeks since last June. Our teacher actually brought up the issue of sore wrists with our class with regard to the downward dog position.

First thing she reminded us was that the fingers of the hands are spread out on the mat when we are down. The weight should be balanced mostly within the fingers, and the upper pads of the hands (the place where we generally develop callouses if we work with our hands). Often times people will roll the weight down into their wrists instead of using the whole hand for a solid foundation. Make certain that you are using the whole hand. Think of them as suction cups on the mat.

The other thing to keep in mind is that you must keep your shoulders pulled back and squared and pushed down from your ears. (If it's the downward dog position that is bothering your wrists) This minor adjustment can also help to alleviate the pressure in your wrists.

If you have the opportunity to take an instructional class you may find it very helpful just to get your positioning correct. You could even hire an instructor for just a session. It may help so much as you continue your own study with the aide of videos, books, and websites. I'll also share with you one of my current favorite books if you are interested in Ashtanga yoga, "Ashtanga Yoga, The Practice Manual" by David Swenson.

Good luck.
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Old 08-17-2008, 02:11 PM   #9
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I practice yoga on a regular basis, and here are my recommendations:

~When you do a yoga video by a general fitness instructor (Kathy Smith, Denise Austin, Yoga Booty Ballet, etc.) you are not getting pure instruction from an actual YOGI, as in, someone who has devoted their life to the practice-their specialty. Especially with fusion videos where other things are fused with the yoga (Pilates, etc.) there is not always stress on PROPER form. This is VERY important. Small variations of proper form can cause injury. I highly recommend that you either take a beginners class at an actual yoga studio (not at the gym by the same teacher who teaches spinning and aerobics) OR you get a beginners dvd that breaks down the yoga poses properly. (I highly recommend the 3 Volume dvd set by Yoga Journal.)

~If you are doing Downward Dog, the idea is to feel opposition. You are trying to raise your hips to the sky, and ground your feet and hands into the ground. You shouldn't be feeling your entire body weight on your wrists if you are doing this pose properly-it should be equally distributed in your feet as well, and you should actively feel the LIFTING in the hips. This will relieve some of the wrist pressure.

Also, in ANY pose where you are putting weight on the hands and wrists, the fingers MUST be spread out wide. Purposely position the hands before going into the pose. The same with many standing postures, such as Mountain Pose-the toes should be purposely spread out before entering into the pose.
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Old 08-17-2008, 02:18 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lydia227 View Post
First thing she reminded us was that the fingers of the hands are spread out on the mat when we are down. The weight should be balanced mostly within the fingers, and the upper pads of the hands (the place where we generally develop callouses if we work with our hands). Often times people will roll the weight down into their wrists instead of using the whole hand for a solid foundation. Make certain that you are using the whole hand.
I'd just like to second this, it's important. Nice description.

Also, you might get more specific feedback if you let us know which poses are causing you problems
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Old 08-19-2008, 11:19 AM   #11
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KLK -- I have the same problem, mostly w/my left wrist. The problem for me is from the thumb to the wrist, mostly the top/inside of my wrist. I have lots of pain - I guess it's the tendons -- when I put pressure on it. You know if you lay down on the floor on your side and prop your head on your hand? I can not do this at all w/my left hand; right hand is fine. Also, whisking in a counterclock-wise stroke bothers it so I whisk in a clock-wise stroke (oh, I'm left handed). This helps avoid pain.

I found myself experiencing pain in certain yoga (um, to say that I'm a yoga novice w/be overstating it ) positions like downward dog. I compensate by putting more of my weight on the outside of my hands vs. the inside. I lean more on the outside of them. Same w/ pushups. I can't do them because it hurts my wrist but I can manage some if I lean more on the outside of my hands (hope that makes sense). Also, doing them on stairs is better.

The other thing that has helped is strength training and I have found this has helped ALOT w/my wrist strength. At first it annoyed my wrist but I started slowly and built up to it. Much, much better now. Also the more I do yoga the less it bothers my wrist.

Thank you everyone for the posts about proper positions of the body, hands, fingers, etc. Maybe getting a beginner 'here's how the positions are suppose to be done' dvd is the best place to start yoga.
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Old 08-19-2008, 11:50 AM   #12
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I would also strongly recommend not necessarily holding a long time just because a teacher does. Everybody is in a different place.

I have found that yoga has done amazing things for my elbow and shoulder tendonitis, and yet, at first I thought I would be unable to do yoga because of it. But you just go easy and slow and short, and with scrupulous form, and *very* gradually build up.

I just realized a couple weeks ago how much better my bad tennis elbow had become, and it had been chronic for years. I think one of yoga's biggest strengths is that it really strengthens all the little stabilizing muscles and connective tissues. I had begun to think I was just going to have to live with pain every day when I did simple things like washing or brushing my hair. Even lifting a glass hurt my elbow. I think I would have to give up my computer to get rid of it entirely .
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Old 08-19-2008, 11:52 AM   #13
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Oh, I also wanted to mention that there are little wedges and even gloves with wedges built in, designed to take the pressure off your wrists. I can't personally vouch for them, but I would definitely look into it if my wrists were that much of a problem.
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