A Few Minutes to Zen with Rikki Alrutz

IT’S NOT ALL IN THE WRIST

By Rikki Alrutz

Today, I want to continue our discussion about ways to strengthen and support our wrists!

Many common wrist problems actually result from poor postural habits, especially hunching at a desk or in a car all day, and rounding of the shoulders.

When the shoulders and upper back can’t be the primary base for our arm movements, the burden of the activity may fall on the smaller joints.  In addition, imperfect alignment of the shoulders and upper back can constrict nerves in the arms, which can cause pain, swelling, numbness, and tingling in our hands and wrists. So, let’s begin with a shoulder and upper back opener!

  • You should stand against a wall, legs straight, your bottom rolled down, almost bringing your back flat against the wall.
  • Inhale and bring your arms out in front of you shoulder height, palms facing each other.
  • Exhale and raise the arms all the way to the sky. You may be able to touch your thumbs to the wall, or maybe not. Only go as far as your body is comfortable.  If one hand can touch, but not the other, make it wait for its friend.  Everything must work together to achieve maximum results.
  • Exhale back down in front and inhale to return the arms beside you.

*Give me 6 total reps

  • Rest for 1 minute; then, in the same stance, inhale and raise your arms to the outsides, close to the wall if possible, palms down.
  • Exhale, continue the arms overhead; feel free to touch at the top.
  • Inhale to shoulder height and exhale to return your arms beside you.

These motions should be coming from your shoulder blades.  Imagine your back and chest expanding to the sides and your shoulder blades moving like wings along your back to raise and lower the arms.

If possible, perform this pose in front of a mirror or a partner to make sure you keep your shoulders level.  Release any tension from the neck.

*Repeat 6 times

This a wonderful warm up pose aligning the spinal column, protecting spinal muscles and nerves, as well as creating space between vertebrae.

 

Now, let’s go down to the floor for a load-bearing exercise for the wrists!

  • Slowly assume an all-fours position, bringing your knees directly under your hips and your hands directly under your shoulders, so you have a straight line down the entire arm.
  • Spread apart all your fingers and distribute your weight on all your fingers and your whole hand, not just the heel of your hand. Now imagine you are lifting yourself away from the floor, while not actually moving your body.
  • If this is comfortable, then you may turn your fingers out and repeat the exercise.
  • You may also go deeper and turn your fingers to face your knees.

If your wrists aren’t quite ready for this exercise, you can place a towel, a rolled up yoga mat, or even a wedge under the heels of the hands, allowing more of your weight to go toward your fingers and relieving any unnecessary tension from the heels of the hands or the wrists.

Practice this positon on a firm, flat surface to allow for maximum alignment.

*Take your time in this pose; many wonderful Asanas stem from this posture, so it’s nice to become acquainted with this base pose.  Relax in any or all of the above steps for 2-3 minutes, taking long inhales and equally long exhales.

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