Does downward facing dog hurt your wrists? Have issues putting your hands flat on the floor? You aren’t alone! While tutorials tell you what’s right for the average person, one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to technique. Especially if you have existing issues in the hand, wrist, elbow or shoulder. Take a few minutes and explore some different ways for supporting wrists in downward dog to find more comfort in the pose.
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Supporting wrists in downward dog
When we think about downward dog we get told to have the hands shoulder width apart, middle fingers parrallel and lift up. Emphasis is rarely put on pushing through the WHOLE hand, not just the heel of the hands. The knuckles, and fingertips should be actively connecting and pushing down to the floor to distribute the weight of the body more evenly.
The pain in the wrist or hands often comes due to the knuckles not connecting. Sometimes the fix is simply raising awareness to “gluing” the hands down to redistribute the body weight. Other times it can be due to mobility issues preventing the extension of the fingers.
If you find you have the gap between the index knuckle and the floor (as shown above), what’s the quick fix? Firstly, try taking the hands slightly wider, and turning the hands out. For some reason we accept that everyone looks different, but assume we all have joints that look the same. We don’t! You may need a wider support, with some greater external rotation in order to get some comfort in the pose.
Secondly, try supporting wrists in downward dog! This could be using blocks, a blanket or a wedge. Something to support the space underneath the hands. There are a few other ways but these are the most common.
Bottom line, if a technique cue isn’t working for you then explore some other options. Especially if the ‘traditional cues’ are causing pain! Don’t suffer in silence! Instead explore ways of supporting wrists in downward dog to find pain relief and comfort in the pose.
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- Do you experience wrist or hand pain in downward facing dog?
- Are there other poses you are finding cause you pain?
- What tight muscles or area do you have?