become a yoga instructorBy Faye Martins

Carpel Tunnel Syndrome is characterized by pain and stiffness in the elbows, lower arms, wrists and fingers. Carpel Tunnel Syndrome is a repetitive stress injury that is often caused by too much time on the computer or doing a similar repetitive task. Nerve compression starting in the neck and going all the way down through the wrists and hands is the primary cause of Carpel Tunnel Syndrome. There are several Yoga poses that help to relieve nerve and joint compression thereby relieving pain and increasing flexibility. Two of the most effective Yoga poses for relieving the symptoms of Carpel Tunnel Syndrome are Downward Facing Dog and “Prayer” Pose.

Downward Facing Dog 

Downward Facing Dog stretches the front side of the chest, arms and shoulders. This pose also relieves tension in the upper back and hamstrings. When performed properly, Downward Facing Dog helps to re-align the neck and elongate the spine, which helps to relieve radiating nerve compression in the forearms, wrist and hands.

Start by standing in Tadasana at the top of your Yoga mat. Step or hop your feet three to four feet back. Your body will make an inverted “V” shape when you step your feet back and place your hands shoulder-distance apart at the top of your mat. Your feet should be a little more than hip-distance apart. Take several deep, slow breaths as you sink into the pose and feel the stretch in your chest, arms, shoulders, neck, upper back and hamstrings. Repeat the pose two more times. Between each repetition you may want to rest in Child’s Pose or link each successive Downward Facing Dog with a Sun Salutation.

“Prayer” Pose 

Prayer Pose is aptly named because it resembles a petitioner in ardent supplication to the divine. Prayer Pose stretches and elongates the cervical spine, triceps, lateral torso and shoulders, thereby relieving nerve compression that often causes Carpel Tunnel Syndrome.

To practice Prayer Pose you will need two Yoga blocks. Place the blocks a few inches in front of you at the front end of your Yoga mat while kneeling in the center of your mat. The blocks should be placed on the long side about shoulder-distance apart. While on your knees, place your elbows on the blocks with your fingers interlaced and your hands pointing up towards the sky. With your spine extended, breath in and as you exhale, melt into the pose. Go to your edge where you feel a good stretch without pain. Hold for three to five breaths. Repeat two times and then rest in Balasana.

© Copyright 2011 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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