Reblogging here, Top 3 from Part 1, so you have all the stretches in one place.
1. Tadasana Wrists
Stand in Tadasana, Mountain Pose. Soften your shoulders down your back, releasing any tension in your neck. Keep the back of your neck long. Draw your armpits down towards your hips, engaging your lower tummy, spine in neutral alignment. Raise your arms forwards to shoulder height. Arms straight, extend your wrists, so that palms face forwards, fingers point up to the ceiling. Push out into the base of your thumbs. Spread your fingers wide apart and draw your baby fingers back towards you.
1. With your left hand, draw your right hand’s thumb back, and release. Repeat on the index finger and all the other fingers, one at a time. Then, draw all the fingers back together, except the thumb. Play with the stretch and see what feels good for you. Repeat on the opposite hand.
2. Turn your palms outwards, 90 degrees clockwise. Press into the base of your thumbs. Turn your palms outwards another 90 degrees so that your fingers point to the floor.
3. Challenge: Stand with your feet together. Bend your knees, into a skiing position and contract your lower tummy. From here, keeping your arms straight (elbows facing forward), lower them until your fingertips touch your thighs, palms face the floor.
4. Repeat in Hero Pose:
2. Wrists on the wall
Let’s use the wall for feedback. Repeat Stretch #1 standing at arms distance in front of a wall.
Press the heel of your palms into the wall, fingers pointing up to the ceiling, keeping your elbows straight as you perform the movements.
1. Turn your palms outwards, 90 degrees clockwise. Press into the base of your thumbs.
2. Turn your palms another 90 degrees so that your fingers point to the floor.
3. Turn your palms inwards so that the fingers face each other.
4. Walk the palms in and down towards the floor. Only go as far as is comfortable. You want to feel a challenge but no pain.
3. Wrists on the mat
Come onto all fours in Table Top on your mat. Knees parallel, hip-distance apart, tops of the feet are on the mat, heels in line with your knees. Place your palms on the floor, shoulder-width apart, middle finger in line with your shoulders.
Check that your hands are a little ahead of your shoulders, the farther forward your hands are, the less pressure that will be on the wrists, so move your hands forward and back until you find the distance that is right for you.
Spread out into the fingers, middle fingers point to the top of your mat. Spread the weight evenly into all fingers, and from the inner to the outer edges of your wrists.
If you have had an injury such as RSI or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, only practice this move after swelling has reduced, making sure that there is no inflammation present and that you are happy to bear weight on the wrists. If you feel any pain, come off the mat and stay with the standing stretches.
a. Wrist Extension:
Turn your hands inwards 90 degrees, fingers face each other.Turn your hands inwards another 90 degrees towards you (try one at a time at first), fingers face your knees.
Pretend to sit back onto your heels and press into the base of your thumbs, keeping your elbows straight. Feel that stretch?!
Then, move your upper body forward so your shoulders are in front of your wrists. Feel the inner edge of your wrist on the mat.
Come back to Table Top and turn your palms forward so fingers face the top of your mat again.
Turn your palms outwards 90 degrees, fingers face the sides of your mat. Turn your palms outwards another 90 degrees, fingers face your knees.
Sit back towards your heels and feel the stretch down the front of your arms as you extend your wrists. Move forward until your shoulder go beyond your wrists. Come back to Table Top.
Only go as far as is comfortable. You want to feel a stretch but no pain.
b. Wrist Flexion:
Turn your palms facing up, so the backs of your hands are on the mat. Try it one at a time first, then both together. Fingers face forward towards the top of your mat.
From here, turn your palms inwards, 90 degrees anti-clockwise; fingers face each other. Turn them inwards another 90 degrees anti-clockwise, fingers face your knees. Feel the weight equally across from your baby finger to your thumb. Turn them another 90 degrees anti-clockwise, fingers face the edges of your mat.
Challenge: Move your upper body forward and back, feel the weight and stretch along your wrists as you press evenly into your baby fingers and your thumbs.
In Yoga & Pilates:
Every time your hands are on the mat, make sure your thumbs and index fingers are superglued to the floor, feel the base of the thumb and index finger on the mat. Press the pad of the tim down so you feel how the inner edge of your wrist is connected with the mat.
Pads of your palms press into the mat, hollow the middle of your palms up away from the floor. Spread your fingers out wide, away from each other. Middle fingers point to the top of the mat.
Look at your arms. You want the elbow creases to face each other, rather than to the top of the mat. Then, draw your arms back up to your shoulders, plug the top of your arms into the Shoulder socket and slide your shoulder blades down to your back pockets.
Next time you’re in Table Top, Downward Dog, any arm balance…look at your thumbs and your index fingers, and ask, are they superglued to the floor?
Notice how you use your wrists.
In the office: When using your computer, notice are your hands extended straight from your lower arms or do you bend at the wrists? Are you sitting tall, aware of your core when typing, or are you slumped in your seat, shoulders hunched, with your head 2 inches forward of your spine? For 5 days a week?!
Try drawing your ears back so they are in line over your shoulders and relax your arms down by your sides. Then bend your elbows, hands forward, so that as you type, your palm base & wrists rest on the “WRIST REST”! (…ahhh, so that’s what that foam pad in front of my keyboard is for…) As you type, keep your elbows tucked in by your waist, broaden across your upper back, shoulder blades softening down to your back pockets. Allow your fingers to do the typing, keeping the wrists straight.
It’s amazing how something as simple as switching on your lower tummy muscles affects how you use your shoulders, and arms, all the way down into your wrists. Notice when driving, are you slumped in the seat, sitting back on your tailbone, or hunched over, clenching the wheel with your wrists super-flexed and knuckles white? Relax those shoulders and drive from your tummy button, not your wrists. Check out the straight wrists on this puppy. (Aww.)
If you cycle to work, notice how you cycle. Release this tense fingers gripping onto the handlebars! Actively lengthen the front of your body, engage your lower tummy and release your shoulders. Feel how your neck lengthens when you draw your arms back to your shoulder sockets and slide your shoulder blades down to your back pockets. Try to keep your wrists straight, in line with your lower arms, so your fingers hold the handle bars with ease, and you cycle from your centre, using your core muscles. Notice when you feel tension in the wrists. (White van driver cutting a left into your lane anyone?!) With the speed and alertness that commuter cycling requires, it’s no wonder we arrive at work with hunched shoulders and white knuckles! Take each red traffic light as a moment to allow your shoulders to soften, release your grip on the handlebars, and straighten your wrists. And in no time at all you’ll look like this guy:
He does look happy.
Try to attend a movement class, whether it’s Pilates, Yoga, or Somatics, at least once a week. One that focuses on safe alignment, tone and releasing tension, will help your wrists.
I didn’t even mention playing piano.
Try the wrist stretches. Let me know how you get on. Remember, practice makes purrrfect. Sorry. (You can subscribe to Nora the Paino Cat on Youtube!)
Love your body, it can do amazing things.