Explore the Anatomy and Correct Alignment of Headstand Pose

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Yoga Anatomy: Avoid Hand and Wrist Injuries

Think of the number of times your hands and wrists are connected to the earth and carry your weight in a typical Hatha Yoga practice.  Like our feet, our hands frequently become a crucial foundation from which our postures build and express themselves.  Sustaining mindful engagement of our hands will support a life-long practice that is free of negative stress conditions and injuries to the wrist.  Let’s look at some anatomical aspects to give us empowerment and motivation to explore our unique positioning and engagement of the hands and wrists.

The wrists are formed by our 2 forearm bones (the radius and ulna).  They meet dat the wrist joint where there is cluster of small bones (carpal bones).  The carpal bones connect with 5 long bones (metacarpal bones) that make up the palm of the hand.  From there, the metacarpal bones connect to the bones of the fingers (phalanges). The carpal bones form a tunnel through which tendons and nerve tissue pass to service the hand and fingers.  One primary focus of hand engagement is to avoid collapsing into this tunnel and keeping excessive pressure from cascading into that track of muscle and nerve tissue.

One primary focus of hand engagement is to avoid collapsing into this tunnel and keeping excessive pressure from cascading into that track of muscle and nerve tissue.

Another key structural area to consider is the joint connection between the ulna and the carpal bones.  If you turn your hand open (supination of the forearm and wrist), your ulna is the inside forearm bone (medial side).  Unlike the radius (lateral or thumb side) that has a direct joint connection to the carpal bones, the ulna has indirect joint connection.  Instead, there is a piece of fibrocartilage (designed to absorb stress forces) between the ulna and carpal bones along with a network of supporting ligaments – this area is called the Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex.  When we look at the overall differences in joint connection, the radius also has a larger joint surface compared to the ulna.  This gives indication that most people are best served to deliver a greater proportion of their force and energy through the radial side of the wrist than through the ulnar side.

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