Me. Every time I practice.
When we move into yoga, we have all these opportunities to do fabulous things with out bodies. But wrist pain can stop us cold. Wrist straps seriously help reduce the risk and the damage.
To be clear, there are other important things to do, specifically press like hell into your fingertips, keep fingers wide and wrist creases aligned. (There are many people better versed that I to listen to if you want elaborate answers. Start with Doug Keller‘s article, then Google will take you dozens of others that say useful things like “use props” and “consult your doctor”, and my favorite… “stretch.”)
In my experience, as I began to work with advanced arm balances, first I fell in love with them. Doing them in odd places. Second, eventually, I developed some aches and pains. No matter how hard I pressed and how perfectly aligned it all was, as I practiced more and more, things started to hurt. (We can blame the yoga, or we can can blame how we use our wrists off the mat but this is a discussion for another time.)
Then I took a workshop with Ana Forrest. I could write a whole blog on all of the things I appreciate about her, but for the purpose of this article, it’s enough to say she is remarkably strong and can safely be called a master of gravity surfing. After the workshop I asked her, “what’s up with wrist straps? You seem so strong, why do you wear them?” She just smiled at me and said,
Look at your wrist and your ankle, put them next to each other. One was designed to hold your weight, one wasn’t…these wrist straps help me prevent injury…Don’t let your ego stop you from putting them on, they work.
I went and bought a pair. And haven’t had any pain since. My wrists have become stronger and I can demo or do the occasional spontaneous handstand in odd public places without them, but when I practice for 1-2 hours, I wear them and am able to spend more time gravity surfing as a result.
I’ve referred many students to them and seen repeated relief from pain and progress in practice. If you are playing with the arm balances, give them a try. They work. Wearing them isn’t whimpy, it’s wise.