Relieve tension and pain in your arms, wrists and hands with this corrective yoga practice.
As we go through our Zoomer Years, our arms, wrists, and hands may become painful for a variety of reasons and daily tasks can become challenging.
We spend more and more time keyboarding and texting, which creates a lot of pent up stiffness, tension and we can feel this excess energy in the muscles and connective tissues. Many of us may be dealing with the pain from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Tennis Elbow as a result of repetitive hand and arm motion.
Shortly after I began practicing yoga, my hands and arms suddenly felt very flexible and light. When I asked my teacher why that happened, she asked me about my romantic situation. I had, in fact, just fallen in love with the man who is now my husband. Looking at the energy of the arms through the lens of Yoga, we can see how they are an extension of the Heart chakra, and we can identify with how our arms and hands are instruments of support, comfort, compassion, caring, and love.
How Yoga Helps
Yoga is an excellent solution to release the tension of overused muscles and connective tissue, as it creates good alignment between all the bones, and builds strength and muscle tone. Any problems we encounter here are resolved by engaging the energy of the Heart chakra, the Anahatha chakra. The Sanskrit word Anahatha is translated as unstruck, or unhurt.
A variety of movements engage the arms, wrists, and hands and brings fresh prana and vitality into the area, and we use the breath and our awareness to ease discomfort and pain.
We bring attention to the heart centre and work with visualizing loving kindness radiating down the arms through the hands and fingers, to be expressed through touch, writing, cooking, and countless other activities.
In our practice we stay out of the pain zone and try to find the boundary between comfort and discomfort.
• Castor Oil packs can help reduce pain and inflammation. Try dampening a white flannel cloth with castor oil, and wrap the cloth around the painful area. Cover the cloth with another towel or plastic, and apply a hot water bottle for an hour as you rest comfortably.
• Take breaks to stretch the arms and hands throughout the day to keep the joints mobile and muscles and connective tissue limber.
• Consider the repetitive movements that may be causing discomfort in your arms and hands, and think about how you can adapt those movements to enable better functioning. For instance, switch your keyboard to a more ergonomic version, or purchase kitchen implements that are designed to make them easier to use.
• If you can’t seem to pin down a physical cause for your arm, wrist, and hand discomfort, consider journaling what matters of the heart could be causing the pain. Ahimsa is the yogic principle of loving kindness and forgiveness.
Journaling what happened and expressing emotions on paper can be very cathartic. Forgiving the situation, forgiving the behaviour, and forgiving ourselves especially, can be a very healing experience. Then journal about the joys and love you cherish and express gratitude and see if that helps relieve some discomfort.
Let Rumi’s beautiful words help you contemplate the connection between your arms and your heart:
“Love’s mighty arm from roof to base each dark abode is hewing,
Where chinks reluctant catch a golden ray.
My heart, when Love’s sea of a sudden burst into its viewing,
Leaped headlong in, with ‘Find me now who may!”