Today’s visual yoga blog could be called Lessons in Orangutan-ism…
… because you do, after all, look a bit like an orangutan dragging its knuckles on the ground anytime you try to do a little wrist- and forearm-stretching.
Let’s face it, given enough downward dog-chaturanga-upward dog sequences, the wrists and forearms start to feel it… not to mention if you’re a regular typist or a committed piano-player… or you’re doing all of these.
We need a little something to even things out.
Incorporate this pose into your yoga practice anytime you feel the need for it, or do it as an easy, stand-alone practice if your wrists could use it.
First, the traditional wrist-stretching pose:
This is where you stand (on your mat or other such soft, cushy surface), bend your knees, and slip your hands, palms-up, under your feet:
Notice that your toes need to walk pretty far up the wrists for best wrist/forearm stretching… base of the toes, that is, above the crease of the wrists.
This is a great stretch. It may also be inaccessible to anybody with wrist issues. So here’s the alternative:
1. Kneel. Point your toes and sit on your heels for an added stretch to your ankles.
2. Place the back of your hands on the mat next to you. Don’t apply pressure; just let the hands rest easily at your side.
3. Pull your head back and pull your tailbone back so as to open up your chest.
4. Breathe slowly and fully, and stay in the pose anywhere between 5-10 full breaths.
Benefits: It stretches your wrists and forearms. Gently.
Avoid if: You experience discomfort, especially in the wrists. That may indicate issues with carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, or such similar ailments. One possibility would be to back off to where the stretch feels gentle enough, perhaps starting where the back of your hands isn’t fully on the floor; another possibility would be to consult a physical therapist for alternative things to do before you attempt this again.
Final thoughts: Ladies, don’t let the orangutan look discourage you from trying out this position. Guys, you already look like orangutans, so just own up to this fact and embrace your inner simian.
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Ed: Bryonie Wise