Our hands connect us to the world. We use them to work, touch, hold, connect, and carry. When it comes to the yoga studio, though, we often don’t think much about our hands. We’re busy locking our knees, flexing our muscles, focusing on the next breath or the next stretch.
Hands deserve our attention. In Bikram, for example, the hands have a specific role to play in each posture. Next time you’re in class, be mindful of the sequence: how you interlace your fingers during pranayama, keeping your palms together in eagle pose, the Bikram grip in standing head-to-knee. These instructions are not arbitrary. The grip, for example, strengthens your hands, flexes the muscles and tendons, and builds power using your hands in every day life. Placing your palms face-down beneath you in half-locust strengthens your wrists, arms and elbows to protect against repetitive strain injuries. In savasana, relaxing your arms and turning your palms to the ceiling promotes the positive flow of energy and receptiveness.
Next time you do yoga, focus on your hands. If necessary, go easy in the postures and concentrate on the placement and motion of your wrists, palms and fingers. Over 25% of our body’s bones are located in our hands. Yoga is a chance to fully engage the complex array of muscles, tendons and ligaments around them, and to reduce inflammation, remove built-up stress and increase range of motion.
Questions about correct hand-placement in postures? Ask me after class, or in the comments!