New to Yoga? Strengthen Wrists First!
Learn 4 Simple Stretches to Strengthen Your Wrists
If you’re new to yoga and carrying some extra weight, I know first-hand that it can
be a little intimidating.
Wrist pain is a common complaint among my students who are carrying some extra
weight. They often have trouble supporting their body in poses like “downward dog”
and it can make practice feel very frustrating and uncomfortable.
As one of my students, Jen, writes:
I have really been enjoying your yoga sessions! I have some trouble with my wrists
in the floor movements as I am really heavy. Any suggestions on how to lessen the
pressure on my wrists?
When I first started yoga, I too had problems with my wrists hurting. But I just
started by doing what I could do in my yoga practice. Over time what I discovered
was that my wrists became much stronger, until eventually I was delighted to
realize that I could do a full yoga practice with no wrist discomfort at all!
With a regular yoga practice, I can assure you that you will begin to naturally build
up the necessary wrist strength and flexibility that you need to move through a full
Until then, just approach your yoga practice with gentle awareness, remembering
to warm up your fingers and wrists really well before you start. Only ever go as far
as feels comfortable. Remember, you have your whole life to practice yoga! That’s
why they call it ‘practice’.
Here are a few of my favorite warm-ups specifically to help you build and develop
strength and flexibility in your wrists. The real beauty of these yoga sequences is
that you do them on your yoga mat or even in a chair.
1. Squeezing Wrist Massage
Massage this area for 5-10 breaths, then switch sides and
Begin by gently massaging into your wrists with your opposite thumb and hand.
Press your thumb into your wrist bone and then move your massage up your arm,
into your lower forearm using a firm pressure.
2. Flowing Wrist Circles
This stretch will gently release tension in your wrists and help them build up
Take your hands into soft fists and then move your wrists in circles, slowly moving
your wrist, in a clockwise direction and then change directions, taking your wrist in
a counter-clockwise direction.
3. Deep Wrist Stretch
This deep wrist stretch will help you develop strength quickly!
Flex your wrists (fingers poi nting up to the sky) and then take your opposite hand
and press very firmly into the palm (at the base of your hand toward the wrist),
remembering to breathe!
Then release the wrist, letting your fingers press down towards the ground. Now
take your opposite hand and very gently press into the back of your hand
(remember your fingers are pointing down), close to your wrist bones (not the
fingers), so as to target, stretch and strengthen your wrist. Do it for as long as feels
nice, about 10 breaths. Repeat this stretch on the other side. You’ll be surprised
how quickly you will develop strength in your wrists!
4. Wrist Preparation Stretch for Downward
Get into a rhythm, switching your hands from one side to the
Press both hands firmly together in front of you at heart center,
Then, take a nice long deep breath in and when you are ready gently press your
right hand with your left hand over to the left. Hold for 5-10 seconds, and then
Move and stretch the fingers/hands to one side and then the other side, until you
find a comfortable flowing rhythm for your arms and wrists.
Have Fun with your Wrist Stretching!
As you go through these gentle stretches you might discover other ways to move
your wrists, hands and arms that feel good to you. Give yourself permission to play
and experiment with new movements.
Remember that your body is always talking and when you take the time to listen to
it, it will show you what it needs and wants.
With your wrist stretches just go as far as what feels comfortable for you… If a
particular movement feels lovely, then you know that you have found the perfect
stretch for your body!