Achy wrists are one of the most common yoga ailments. Mostly, they hurt as they strengthen up, then once they are stronger, they won’t hurt as much—if at all.

Your wrists may hurt in Side Plank because of an incorrect alignment, a weak core, or because your wrists haven’t been used to this degree of extension and flexion.

You can help strengthen your wrists by doing a few simple things.

Warm-up

Warm up your wrists by stretching and opening up the tiny structures of the wrist. This will help to get blood flowing through the hand and forearm.

Try to circle your hands in both directions. Press back on the thumb and fingers one by one, moving forward and backward while squeezing your wrists. Try doing some Cat Cow poses but with your hands in reverse (fingers facing your knees).

Alignment

Check in the mirror that your wrist is under your shoulder when you are in Side Plank. This concept of stacking takes the stress off your shoulder, elbow, and wrist. Talk to your teacher if you’re unsure. This is what they have been trained for: keeping you open and safe.

You can adjust your hand.

Pressing into the first or second knuckles on your middle finger will help you move the weight away from the heel. Try gripping your fingers. You want to be able to relax your palms evenly into the mat eventually, but if your wrists hurt, engage with your fingers until they are stronger.

Avoid thick mats or too much cushion.

It is important to have a firm base for wrist health. It may feel great on your knees, but it can cause your wrists to overcompress when you are in Plank, Side Plank, or Downward Faced Dog.

More Alignment

Your yoga teacher can watch you as you move from one position to the next to ensure you’re not overstressing your wrists. This will make them more painful when you hold your body weight.

Core Intensive

When you are in Side Plank, the more your arms, legs, and abdomen are engaged, the lighter your wrist weight will be. Your core should be committed to lifting your hips and keeping them upright and not slouched.

Modify

Modify your position to build strength, form, and alignment. Modifications aren’t just for beginners and injured souls. They build strength in adjacent areas, allowing you to concentrate on other aspects of the pose.

Even if you don’t have any problems, use your hands regularly between full postures. Use your fists to strengthen your wrists, or lower yourself down until you are at your forearms or knees in Side Plank. Practice lifting your arms away from the ground without putting pressure on them.

You should modify any pose if you experience sharp pain. This will allow your body to strengthen and align itself properly. If you are suffering from Carpal Tunnel and your wrists are hurting in Side Plank, modify the position until you feel better.

It’s not how deep you can get in your posture but the sensation it gives your body. It should be challenging but also great. Namaste, yogis.