Our hands are perhaps the most used part of the body- even when we are sitting, typing, writing, scrolling, or just being idle. Needless to say that with this work and overwork comes strain, pain, and discomfort.
Unfortunately, though, many of us tend to dismiss these issues as temporary setbacks or inevitable parts of life, but the truth is that you do not really have to live with this pain and discomfort. Our hands are vital to our being and working on their strength and flexibility will not only provide short term relief but also protect them in the long run and prevent injuries and pain from occurring in the first place.
So, you help your hands and wrists feel better, here are some yoga poses for you to try –
- Overhead Reaches – This exercise helps in boosting flexibility and circulation, and provides a good stretch to the muscles of both the fingers and the wrists. Interlace your fingers in front of your body, and then your hands towards the ceiling, palms facing up. Hold the stretch for up to ten seconds, bring down and repeat up to five times. It is okay if your arms are not completely straight – you can stretch to the height you are comfortable.
- Eagle Arms – If you want to focus on your arms or are out of space, do only the upper body portion of the eagle pose. Hold your hands for fifteen to thirty seconds, and repeat on the other side too. Be sure that you do not lift your shoulders along with your arms. This can be difficult, especially for those you are stiff in the arms and shoulders, but long term practice will bring flexibility.
- Anjali Mudra – This simple pose involves bringing the palms together in a prayer pose and keeping them at the centre of your heart. With increased pressure, however, you can increase the stretch that your wrists receive, and provide some good pressure to your fingers too. You can hold the pose for up to a minute to feel the impact.
- Fist Curls – Stand in a comfortable yoga position such as the tadasana and bring your hands to the sides of your body. Curl your hands into a fist with the thumbs outside the clenched fist. Then, gently bring your fists up towards the inner side of your wrists. Hold for a moment, and then bring the fists back. Repeat a few times.
- Gomukha Asana (Cow Face Pose) – While providing an intense stretch for the arms, this asana also challenges the flexibility and strength of the fingers and the wrists, thus providing an all-round workout. It can be, however, quite difficult to link your hands behind your back, so it is suggested that you begin by using a strap or rope to connect your hands, and then work up from there.
- Wall-Based Stretch – Work each of your fingers individually using just a wall. Plant your palms and fingers strongly on the wall, ensuring that the entire hand remains in contact with the wall. Start with your thumbs and fingers close together, and then extend your thumbs (and only thumbs) towards each other. Now, without moving the other fingers or your palms, shift the index finger towards the thumb. Continue this ‘walk’ till you are moved all the fingers, and repeat a few times.
- Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Dog) – If you have the space for it, a downward dog can be the perfect way to energize your body while giving your hands and wrists a great workout. Be sure to not put too much weight on your hands, and spread out your fingers. You can stay in this pose for anywhere between one to three minutes.
If you wish to follow along with a pre-established routine, here are a few sequences that can help you practice anytime, anywhere –
Integrate these yoga poses and stretches into your daily routine, and you will surely find the gratitude of your hands reflecting in better strength and flexibility, which means greater capacity and endurance to work. However, do remember that sometimes, pain and discomfort, especially of the kind that is recurrent, very acute, or having seemingly emerged suddenly, may be symptomatic of some other underlying health condition. In such a case, it is best to seek medical consultation and let your doctor dictate your exercise routine. Otherwise, if the pain or discomfort is emanating from everyday habits such as constant laptop use, these exercises can be heaven-sent, so do practice them and enjoy!