Weight-Bearing Alignment of Hands
In poses where the hands support the body weight such as in Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downard Facing Dog Pose), Plank Pose, Bakasana (Crow Pose) and other arm balances, consider the following guidelines.
- Place hands shoulder-distance apart.
- Align wrist creases with front of mat.
- Check to be sure palm is flat on earth, fingers spread (but not excessively so).
- Watch for uneven spacing between fingers and/or a pinky that wings out too far. (However, in the case of Dupuytren’s Contracture, uneven spacing may be desirable.)
- Press down with hands so that all fingers and knuckles are pressing evenly.
- Ensure weight is not concentrated in wrist and heel of hand. You may need to focus on pressing into knuckles and roots of fingers to avoid excessive pressure in wrists.
- John Friend has also suggested pressing with pads of fingers and pulling them back isometrically.
- Once hands are aligned properly, you may wish to visualize drawing energy up from the center of the palms.
- A thicker yoga mat may be helpful but it should still be firm. Practicing on a soft or cushioned surface may cause hyperextension of the wrist.