To help treat and prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome with yoga, you’ll need to practice poses that strengthen the flexor muscles of the forearm, says Anusara Yoga founder John Friend. The flexor muscles are on the under, or palm, side of the forearm. Depending on the severity of your condition, you may want to start with poses that bear less weight on the wrist joint. Gradually work up to more difficult poses, paying close attention to maintaining proper alignment.
To increase the range of extension on your wrists, I teach the following postures to my Beginning Students and Private Clients
Start on all fours, bringing the wrists underneath the shoulders and the knees underneath the hips. Close your eyes. Imagine your spine as a straight line connecting the shoulders to the hips. Visualize the line extending forward through the crown of the head and backwards through the tail bone. Keep the neck the natural extension of the spine.
On the inhale: Curl toes under. Drop your belly. Gaze up toward the ceiling. Allow the movement in the spine to being from the tailbone, neck is the last part to move.
On the exhale: Release the tops of the feet to the floor. Round the spine like an angry cat. Release the head down. Gaze gently to the navel.
Repeat the Cat-Cow Stretch on each inhale and exhale, matching each movement to your own breath.
Namaskarasana (Prayer Position)
Bring your hands-palms together in Namaste (Prayer Position) in front of your chest. Keep heels of your hands together. Keep fingers pointing up.
Gently press hands down toward your waist. Keep heels of hands together, do not let them come apart; if you do, you’ll lose the wrist stretch. Hold stretch for a minute or two while focusing on your breath
As your yoga practice continues, you will gradually be able to move the wrists into deeper extension.
Salabhasana (Locust Pose)
Locust pose, also known as Salabhasana, may appear to focus on the lower body, however, if you have Carpal Tunnel or arthritis, this is a great preventer pose and helps with circulation through the arms and fingers. Locust pose also helps with fatigue, indigestion and lower back pain.
To feel the maximum benefit for Carpal Tunnel, make sure palms are face down and elbows are straight.
This Urdhva Mukha Svanasana pose is one of the positions in the traditional Sun Salutation sequence. This pose is one of the most common poses in yoga, and will help strengthen wrists and increase circulation.
It should be noted that all yoga poses where the wrists and hands are used to support the body are beneficial in increasing strength and circulation for those suffering with CTS.
The postures / warm-up exercises noted above will bring awareness to your own personal level of extension in your wrists by placing the heels of your hands directly below your shoulders. It is important to realize that a set of exercises and their execution can and should be adjusted according to one’s individual needs, wishes and body type. Exercising 2 to 3 times a week should be enough to yield results within two months.