Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Finger Position Eliminates Wrist Pain in Dog Pose

At one time I studied regularly at a yoga center that sold these shirts on which was printed the very clever saying, "another day, another dog pose." I liked it. I still do. It's sort of the yoga equivalent to, "an apple a day keeps the doctor away."

adho mukha svanasana, downward facing dog pose Posted by Picasa

Downward facing dog pose (adho mukha svanasana) is such a versatile pose. With very little instruction complete beginners can practice it regularly and gain many benefits from it.

Dog pose is a versatile teaching pose, too. There are tons of lessons that are easily learned in downward facing dog pose that can then be applied in more challenging postures.

But there's one tiny problem. Wrist pain.

Wrist pain aggravates so many people in both dog poses, downward facing and upward facing. If your wrists hurt in dog poses, I can almost guarantee they'll hurt in full arm balance (adho mukha vrksasana) and all of the other arm balances, too.

upward facing dog pose, urdhva mukha svanasana Posted by Picasa

You can't benefit from these poses if you can't practice them. So what should you do?

I'll give you a tip that takes a little getting accustomed to. But it activates the muscles on the under side of the forearm and wrists start to feel better almost immediately.

First, start by looking at your fingers (not your thumbs). Let's talk about the parts of your fingers so you can get the placement right.

Posted by Picasa

Each finger has three bone segments. Between each segment is a joint.

There's a segment at the end of your finger, where your fingerprint would be taken. I'll call it the pad of your finger. There's a middle segment. And finally, there's the segment that's closest to your palm. This is the part of the finger on which people typically wear their wedding rings.

There are three joints, too. Between the pad of the finger and the middle segment is a joint I'll call the first joint. Between middle segment and it's neighbor is a joint I'll call the second joint. At the base of each finger is a big knuckle, the one some people like to crack loudly.

Here's the remedy to wrist pain in dog pose. Practice it first just by laying your hand on a table or on the floor. Instead of laying each of your fingers down flat on the floor, bend each second joint so it lifts up. Press down firmly with the pad of each finger and the knuckle at the root of each finger. That's it.

This is the finger position that relieves wrist pain in dog pose, and others, too. Posted by Picasa

You may need to reach across with one hand and arrange the fingers on the other hand in the beginning. But soon enough, you'll be able to do all of the poses in which you typically experience wrist pain with this finger position.

Your forearms will grow stronger and wrist pain will leave you. Then there will be nothing standing between you and your daily dog pose.

Don't just read about it. Get up. Experience it. Experience yoga!

Kevin Perry

p.s., Adho mukha svanasana. Adho mukha vrksasana. What's the difference? I'm sure there's an urdhva mukha svanasana. Is there an urdhva mukha vrksasana? Have fun playing with our virtual Sanskrit refrigerator magnet at http://www.experienceyoga.org/magnet/default.asp. Drag your mouse over any word root on the virtual magnet, like adho, and you'll see the pose names that contain that word root.

p.p.s., There are precise anatomical terms for each of those finger parts. Study this pic for the details.

Posted by Picasa

Copyright 2005. All rights reserved, Mo Yoga LLC.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like that you address the wrist pain... but only in downward facing dog do I experience extreme discomfort in the hands, not the wrists. I have very sensitive hands and was wondering what I could do (right now I wear weight-lifting gloves, and it's better, but my hands still hate discomfort of the pressure of the floor against them.) Any ideas?

2:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what is the thumb position supposed to be?

3:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks very much for this - my wrist pain is bad and I am hoping one simply "grows out of it".


12:08 PM  
Anonymous top transex roma said...

This won't truly have success, I think this way.

1:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like your suggestion and will certainly tey it out. Thank you!!!!

6:21 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

One way i helped my wrist pain (usually felt in plank and upward dog) was to use a rumbleroller on my upper forearm. Turns out all rhe tightness up higher was translating into pain lower down in my arm during weight bearing positions. Weird. Thanks for the great atricle!

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