Dr. Blessyl Buan

Sore wrists don’t need to hold you back from your Yoga or Pilates practice.

In the age of constant smart phone use, raising young children or having a full-time job that requires the use of your hands, it’s not surprising that your wrists can hold you back when practising Yoga or Pilates. Repetitive strain can cause tension and pain in the flexor and extensor muscles that course along the forearm and control the movement of the fingers. You will also find that the muscles that control movement of the thumb are also stiff and painful. This chronic muscular tension can negatively impact the alignment of the carpal bones of the wrist, thereby reducing joint mobility.

This misalignment can be experienced as a “pinching” sensation when weight-bearing on the hand. Wrist extension is required while doing Plank exercises, Chatturanga or Downward Dog. Even more advanced asanas like Astavakrasana (Eight-Angle Pose) or Pilates Leg Pull Front depend on strong wrists.

If you can relate, warming up can help to improve joint mobility and reduce pain during your practice. Here are 3 exercises to do before your class begins:

  1. Wrist rotations: Circle your hands clockwise eight times then repeat counterclockwise eight times. This improves circulation and warms up the joints.

2. Wrist flexor stretch with overpressure: Positioning yourself on all fours, place the heel of your hands on the mat in front of you with your hands palms down and your fingers pointing towards your knees. Place a gentle over pressure on your wrists by leaning forward and backwards. You should feel a stretch along the surface of your forearms that face away from you.

3. Wrist extensor stretch with overpressure: Positioning yourself on all fours, place your wrists on the mat in front of you with your hands palms up and your fingers pointing towards your knees. Place a gentle over pressure on your wrists by leaning forward and backwards. You should feel a stretch along the surface of your forearms that face away from you.

If during your practice your wrists are still sore, you can roll the end of your mat several times to create a cushion that will support your wrists in slight flexion. If it is still painful in certain poses, take a rest in child pose. As you continue to practice, stretch and strengthen, your tolerance in wrist weight bearing will improve. If recovery is too lengthy and you are starting to feel concerned, see your health care provider.

The Pilates Full Roll Up exercise is a great way to test how strong your core strength is and the degree of flexion you have in your spine. Dr. Blessyl explains the proper way to do this exercise and how to modify with simple equipment.

If you found this video useful, you can find more tips on my twitter/instagram @drblessyl and Facebook!

Realign. Strengthen. Live your Life.
http://www.drblessyl.com

This red pointe shoe, interrupted my walk on Queen Street West in Toronto. It was a blazing sign that dance was my passion.

Tonight, I watched a childhood friend of mine dance in Geometrix’s show called ” Work Vs. Passion:  The Dynamic Struggle between necessity and desire”. And the theme of the show was loaded with the message: “listen to your heart “. It featured a student and a doctor who repressed their desire to dance because of the practical and necessary pursuit of a career which they believed would help them to survive in this crazy world.

I cried during this show. Firstly, because I was so happy to watch my friend and secondly, because the show represented my life. I started dancing when I was four and met my friend at this age. I am inherently a shy person, but on stage, forget it, I was in my element. But in school, I always excelled and envisioned myself as a speaker, a teacher and a healer and was intrigued with the human body. So the tension between dance and school was very present at an early age.

Yet, despite my efforts to repress my artistic passion, dance always chased me. In university, my childhood dreams of professional dance came true when I got scouted at a dance show. And in my fourth year, my wildest dreams manifested when I auditioned for the musical “The Lion King” after submitting my application to chiropractic college. I was progressing further and further in the audition and I was ready to push back my admission to chiropractic college, but ultimately, it wasn’t meant to be. Heart broken, I left the studio wondering, “what if”.

back in the day…

During chiropractic college, I threw away the dream of dancing again to focus on school, but a friend of mine encouraged me to go to a casting and that spiraled into commercial and television dance gigs which were practical for me because the contracts were short and I didn’t need to take time off school. From that, I became a member of ACTRA and met and worked with talented Toronto dancers who are well established choreographers today.

My last dance contract was back in 2007. I was pregnant with my first child, but I didn’t tell the director. They were all wondering why my wardrobe never fit and my little baby kept dancing in my tummy every time the music played. Today, she’s my little ballerina at 4 years old.

Now, I am a chiropractor, a pilates instructor and a mom. I love my job and am proud to say that I had complete control on how I designed my life to this point.  I still love to dance.

You’ll still see me in the dance studio training in hopes that one day I’ll make it back on the stage. I miss the lights beaming on my face. I miss the feeling of weightlessness in a jump. I miss performing.

Sigh, life goes on. I have no regrets.

Dance always finds me. I have faith.

The season of spring not only wakes up hibernating animals from their slumber, but hibernating athletes as well.  The rise in temperature brings out more people being physically active outdoors.  This is a wonderful thing, but please take this word of advice:  Although your mind may feel that your body is as fit as it was in its “Heyday”, it may not be.  If you haven’t been consistent with your training, the reality is that your muscles atrophy (shrink) and your flexibility reduces.  The same thing applies to your cardio. Your heart is a muscle and if you don’t do endurance training regularly, your ability to exercise for longer periods of time will reduce.

In a nutshell, take the following steps so that your Spring enthusiasm doesn’t lead you to injury:

  1. Be realistic with your goals. If you ran 10K regularly in November, you may not be able to do that today.  Find a training book that will give you a program to gradually increase your mileage safely.
  2. Mind your posture. Your back, abdominals and gluts stabilize your spine and pelvis and maintain proper alignment in any activity.  If these muscles are not well conditioned, you can develop injuries such as low back pain, I-T band syndrome, etc.
  3. Cross Train. Your body adapts to the stimuli that you give it.  If you sit most of the year, your body has adapted to this and will not be able to handle a new burst of activity.   Engage in full body resistance training, dance, pilates/yoga and cardio to give yourself a strong and leaner body.
  4. Get new shoes. Those kicks from the ’80s are not going to cut it.  Find a good shoe that provides cushioning and support and that is SPORT SPECIFIC to your activity.
  5. Enjoy! Don’t be too hard on yourself if your body doesn’t seem to be as strong as it was before.  Realize that the body adapts and will improve with consistent training.  Enjoy the wind and sun on your face as you play outdoors!  Re-awaken your senses.