To safely build up to advanced yoga postures, strong wrists are a necessity. Focusing on proper alignment in basic asanas is a great start, but regularly practicing the following three poses — and holding them for at least five breaths each — will help stretch and strengthen your wrists and support your yoga practice.
- Begin sitting on the floor with your legs extended straight out in front of you. Place your palms behind your hips about six to eight inches away, with your fingers pointing toward your toes.
- As you inhale, press into your hands and feet firmly, lifting your hips into the air. Lift them as high as you can so your spine is in a long line. Slowly release your head back, looking behind you, and open through your throat.
- Stay here for five deep breaths, then lower your hips back to the floor.
- Begin on your hands and knees. Your wrists should be underneath your shoulders, and your knees underneath your hips.
- Inhale as you tuck your toes under your heels. Then exhale to lift your hips, coming into an upside-down V shape called Downward Facing Dog.
- Spread your fingers wide and create a straight line between your middle fingers and elbows. Work on straightening your legs and lowering your heels toward the ground. Your heels should be slightly wider than your toes, so the outside edges of your feet are parallel with the outside edges of your mat. Relax your head between your arms, and direct your gaze through your legs or up toward your belly button. Hold for at least five breaths.
- Begin in Downward Facing Dog. Step both feet together so your big toes are touching.
- Move your left hand over to the right so it's at the center of your mat (still at the top of your mat). Roll over to your left side, and plant your left heel down so you are balancing on the outside edge of your left foot, stacking your flexed feet.
- Reach your right arm up above you and, if you can, gaze up at your palm. Stay here for five deep breaths, trying to keep your core strong and the pose steady.
- Lower your upper hand to the mat. Repeat this pose on the other side.