HAND PLACEMENT IN YOGA
Hand placement plays a major role in the foundation of the practice. Poses that require you to have your hands on the floor will either help build your practice correctly or will end up injuring your shoulders.
I often see students try to do more advanced postures like the beloved handstand without understanding the placement of their hands—giving them zero chance of balancing upside down.
Let’s start at the beginning of the practice—focusing on understanding what we’re asking of the physical body—and build upon that.
There’s a tendency to sit in the heel of the hand. In addition to causing long-term pain, this also causes your thumb and index finger to lift—which ends up being one of the biggest misalignments I see. This is a wrong approach and huge mistake. The proper approach is to keep your thumb and index finger super glued to the mat.
The magic here is created by pressing through your fingertips and allowing the heel of the hand to stay light. This activates your flexors and extensors. No one should be able to lift their fingertips while their hands are placed down on the mat—whether they’re doing plank pose, down dog or a handstand. The same principles apply. However, you should always be able to lift up the heel of your hand with ease.
I myself practice on ridge tops or fingertips, and I encourage my students to do the same. For me, it gets my flexors and extensors involved and I don’t deal with wrist pain. Try it out and see how it feels for you!