Yoga Q&A Quickie. What to do when your down dog ‘kills your wrists’.


I asked: “Where do you feel the weakest? Would it help if certain muscles were stronger?”

You said: “Arms. Downward dog kills my arms and wrists.”

Anyone relate to this? Can I hear a hell yes!

Before I dive in with some solutions I want to ask you to consider that building strength isn’t necessarily just about having more/bigger muscles or isolating one particularly muscle over another. Nope my yogi friend, building strength is also about using all the muscles you have more efficiently, especially those that have not joined the party for some time. I call that union, which, as is happens, means Yoga…very cool right?

Ok, so let’s get to it. How do we do get union in downward facing dog (Adho mukha śvānāsana) or when putting weight through the arms and wrists?

  • 1. WARM UP

Warm up the wrists properly and be prepared for some soreness in the wrists when you put weight on them. It’s good to know that when we work into the wrist we build bone density over time and this process makes the wrists stronger. If you stop to avoid this soreness or take poses on the fists or forearms, you won’t be building that strength and poses like downdog will continue to ‘kill your wrists’.

  • 2. ROOT

Think of where you place your weight in your wrists. The stronger side is the inside of the wrist. That’s where most of the weight should go. Avoid pouring the weight on the outside. Spread your fingers and root your knuckles and that will help to keep your wrists healthy

  • 3. PUSH 

Understand how the shoulders work. Our shoulders are responsible for movement in the arms and play a huge part in finding strength in poses like down dog and plank. Think about it. Yoga is a lot of pushing and when you push your arms forward your scapula (the little wings on your back) wrap around the back. During this pushing action you begin to recruit strength in other muscles that also pull the arms together, serratus anterior, teres minor and major other and back muscles. Consoldating your strength, and recruiting all these muscles will help you find ease in poses on the arms and hands. Look at working on this pushing action whenever you are on all fours, cat, down dog and plank. I’ll be covering more on this in class.

There you have it. Remember, intelligent self-exploratory of what’s working for you and what’s not is a huge part of a yoga practice. I invite you to explore how to build and recruit more muscle strength in either one of my two current yoga programmes: Yogi-In-Training Summer Strategies and Flip Flop Ready Yoga.

I can’t wait to see you there.

Do you have a question? Go on…make it a Q&A quickie. I promise to answer as many as possible. Pop your question in the comment box below or send in your questions to josie@yogalocal.co.uk

Namaste with yogi hugs