Becoming Aware of the Details that can Cause Injury in Yoga
A yoga teacher friend once warned me about using “tented fingers” in yoga. She said the likelihood of injury when this position is repeated is very high. Apparently, she learned at a conference that a common yoga injury is in the hands due to “tenting.” I had never really thought about injuring my hands this way in yoga. Tenting my fingers was sort of an afterthought, just a small and not even necessary part of certain asanas (i.e., I could do something else with my hands if I wanted to and not affect the pose). I’ve always focused more on injuries we are frequently warned of in yoga class: neck injuries, shoulder strain, lower back tension, knee tears, hamstring pulls, overextension of hips… After my friend made a big deal out of it, though, I began to notice. I started noticing that I do this a lot with my hands when practicing yoga, repeated throughout my sun salutations as one example. When I come into lunge, I always tent my fingers, and having not been conscious of it before, I often probably pressed down into the mat with too much force (you can see the strain in the picture). In my sun salutations now, at times I feel the pressure between my thumb and index finger causing a little pain when I tent my fingers without awareness. I can see now that if I continue to do this, over the months and years I could easily hurt myself. I’ve managed to soften the tent, with my fingertips lightly touching the ground but not pushing into it. Or at times, I just flatten my hands on the floor or place them another safe way that makes sense in the pose. I’m grateful to my friend for sharing this information with me, and I want to pass it along in case you haven’t thought about it. Small things like this really do make a difference, and part of yoga is noticing these things – and altering them if necessary, refining them, to their best end. The ultimate goal is to become very attentive, through yoga, in daily life. Beginning with not carelessly injuring yourself is a good start! Are there any small refinements you’ve made in your behavior (whether yoga practice or somewhere else) that have enhanced your life?