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Yoga Poses Contraindicated in Wrist Pain - An Overview

Published on Mar 22, 2023 and last reviewed on Jun 08, 2023   -  4 min read


People should refrain from certain asanas in the event of wrist ailments. Read the article for an overview of such asanas.


Yoga is a form of exercise that engages the body in all its essence. Regular practice ensures that the body, mind, and soul exist harmoniously. There are various poses providing several benefits, but a few of them are associated with wrist ailments, especially if the proper method is not followed. This article will be a brief overview of the causes of wrist pain, the contraindicated asanas, and the various measures which people can adopt to prevent wrist ailments.

Can Practicing Yoga Lead To Wrist Pain and Soreness?

Wrist pain is a fairly common complaint amongst yoga practitioners, especially among those who perform more weight-bearing asanas, wherein they take the load of the entire body on their hands primarily. When compared to ankles, or other joints of the body, the wrists are much more delicate and slender in terms of their structure, function, and capacity to carry any kind of load. Hence, instead of being sturdy for asanas that focus on strength and stability, they are more well-adapted to asanas that focus on mobility.

Which Yoga Poses Are Contraindicated for People With Wrist Pain?

There are several yoga poses or asanas that people should avoid practicing when they have wrist pain. A few of those asanas are as follows:

  • Crow Pose: Otherwise known as Bakasana, this yoga posture involves the application of the entire body weight on the wrists, thereby leading to wrist ailments in many individuals. Hence, instead of the crow pose, people can try another variant, known as the supine crow pose. It provides the same benefits as that of the crow pose or Bakasana but is much easier on the wrists. It helps stretch the glutes and quadriceps and strengthens the core, hip joints, and hamstrings.

  • Downward Facing Dog: Also known as the Adho Mukha Svanasana pose, this pose is known to strain the wrist tendons and ligaments, especially when people lack flexibility, have tight hamstrings, and lean too forward, exerting more weight on the shoulders and wrist. Instead of this pose, people can practice a variant of this pose, namely - dog down with a chair pose. This pose is almost similar to the downward-facing dog pose, with the exception that instead of exerting strain on the wrists, their wrists are supported by a chair, thereby minimizing the stress on the wrist.

  • Plank Pose: The plank pose, being one of the most commonly practiced yoga asanas, is well-known to many people. Although it indeed does have several benefits, such as strengthening the spine, helping improve flexibility, and toning the abdominal muscles, it has a major drawback - it leads to wrist pain and soreness. This is because the entire body weight is targeted on the wrists. This can be averted by practicing the dolphin plank pose. Being similar to a conventional plank pose, it has several benefits but channels the body weight to the arms instead of the wrists.

  • Tabletop Pose: A tabletop pose, although supported by both legs and hands, it is still associated with wrist ailments. Hence, people can try other modifications, such as the puppy or child’s pose or extended puppy pose, otherwise known as the Uttana Shishosana pose. These poses help redirect the weight from the wrists and hands.

  • Headstand Pose: Also known as the Adho Mukha Vrksasana pose, the headstand pose is not easy, requires a lot of practice, and can be very arduous for the wrists. Therefore, people can try different variations of the conventional headstand, such as Virabhadrasana 3 (also known as warrior 3) and the Salamba Sirsasana, otherwise known as the supported headstand.

What Measures Should People With Wrist Pain Take While Practicing Yoga?

People should adopt several measures when they have wrist pain and soreness that are associated with yoga. A few of those measures include the following:

  • Rest Well: If the pain is unbearable, and the doctor has advised rest, then it is advisable to take a break from yoga until full recovery. Based on the extent of injury to the wrist and its muscles and tendons, people may need some sessions of physiotherapy to recover and restore normal function, strength, and mobility of the wrists.

  • Elevate the Floor Level: The use of yoga blocks, bolsters, wedges, pillows, and other props help elevate the floor level, allowing it to be much closer to the body. This ensures decreased exertion of the wrists while performing weight-bearing asanas.

  • Use a Good-Quality Yoga Mat: Yoga mats, if not firm or of the appropriate thickness, can result in unwanted and unseen slips, which not only can harm the wrists but also lead to accidents, ranging that can be minor to major while practicing weight-bearing asanas.

  • Focus On Strength Training: A good, strong core can help minimize wrist ailments as it helps distribute, absorb, and control weight distribution, thereby creating a better balance while practicing asanas.

  • Use Wrist Wraps: Being band-like structures, wrist wraps, when worn, help people with wrist ailments as they tend to gently compress and support the wrist joint and tendons. However, they only work for people with mild wrist ailments.

  • Practice Under a Trained Professional: Any form of exercise, be it physical training, strength training, or yoga, should always be supervised by a trained professional. This not only helps achieve goals in a faster and well-guided manner but also minimizes the risk of practicing the asanas in an incorrect manner, thereby reducing or even eliminating wrist ailments in certain individuals.

  • Be Slow and Gentle: Following a wrist injury of any kind, it may take some time for people to practice asanas in a normal rhythm, even after full recovery. Being different from one another, the physical structure varies from one individual to another, and it is important to understand that it might take a little time to get back into rhythm. Instead of being discouraged about it, it is always advisable to take it slow and gentle, giving the body as much time as required to bounce back into full form.

  • Warm-Up: It is always advised to spend some time warming up the body, as it helps prepare the body for asanas, activates the muscles of the body, and helps minimize injuries to the wrist and its associated structures.


Wrist ailments, especially wrist soreness and pain, are very common complaints among yoga practitioners. Even trained yoga practitioners can, on occasion, experience unwarranted wrist pain. It could happen due to various reasons, ranging from incorrect posture, practicing without guidance, or as simple as due to decreased core strength of the core and the wrists. In such scenarios, people should avoid practicing weight-bearing asanas, allowing their wrists to heal with time. The good thing about yoga is that it is a flexible form of exercise that can be modified as per the need of the body. Hence, several modifications and adaptations of asanas can be adopted. In this way, people can still practice yoga and not experience any kind of wrist ailment.

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Last reviewed at:
08 Jun 2023  -  4 min read




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