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Wrist Stretches

Body+Soul, March 2007

Our wrists help us perform the simplest tasks, from chopping carrots to flossing our teeth. So it's no surprise that a twinge of discomfort -- after too much typing or a Down Dog gone awry -- could throw a wrench in our routine. Without regularly exercising wrists to prevent injury, we may find ourselves cut off from the activities that shape our lives -- all the more reason to handle wrists with care.

To help prevent stress and strain, Duncan Wong, creator of the mind-body hybrid known as Yogic Arts, suggests these exercises to stretch the ligaments of the wrist joint:

Wrist Reset
It elongates, aligns, and energizes the wrist joint, the muscles of the forearm, and the fingers.

How to Do It
1. Sit or stand with spine tall, and extend your left arm out so your wrist is directly in front of your left shoulder, palm facing down.

2. Bend your wrist to point your fingers toward the floor, then rotate the wrist so the fingers point to your right.

3. Use the palm of your right hand to gently push the back of your left hand. To intensify the stretch, curl the left fingers into a fist. Switch and repeat.


Hand Stance Vinyasa
This flow of movements gently stretches the ligaments of the wrist joint. "The vinyasa helps your body deliver energy to the hands and fingers and better prepares you for daily activities," Wong explains.

How to Do It
1. Come onto your hands and knees with your hands directly below your shoulders, knees underneath hips, and toes tucked.

2. As you inhale, rotate your right hand to point the fingers back toward your right knee and place the entire palm of the hand on the floor. Exhaling, slowly shift your hips back toward your heels to intensify the stretch.

3. Repeat on the left side. Alternate between hands, slowly, until your hands, wrists, and forearms feel energized.


Hand Press
This stretch helps extend your range of motion by moving your wrists into a position rarely required during the course of the day. According to Wong, it also releases compression and helps to correct any misalignment that may have accumulated in the wrist joint.

How to Do It
1. In the same hands and knees position, start with your elbows slightly bent.

2. Inhale and bring the back of your right hand to the floor with the fingers pointing toward your left hand.

3. Exhale and press down through both hands as you straighten the elbows, drop your head, round your spine, and pull up strongly through the belly.

4. Come back to the starting position, and repeat on the left side. Do four times on each side, breathing rhythmically throughout.

Text by Kate Hanley

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