What do Plank pose, Staff pose, Tabletop, Reverse Tabletop and Down Dog all have in common?
Yes! All of these poses require us to bear weight through our upper limbs – and if we are resting on the palms of the hands then we will need to have a good range of wrist extension (please note, in the video I incorrectly called wrist extension “flexion” and me a physio huh ?!)
Wrist extension is the movement where you lift up the back of your hand as if you were going to high 5 your buddy. In the average person, this movement ranges between 65 and 85 degrees actively with another few degrees movement if you push on the palm.
To assess your range, stand in front of a mirror, bringing the palms of your hands together as if in prayer, the finger tips lightly touching your chin. Feel the connection between your finger tips, the roots of your fingers and the base of your palms. Drop the shoulders away from the ears and feel the elbows falling away from the hands. Then very lightly push the hands together to keep the strong connection between them as your draw the elbows away from each other with equal pull – allow this movement to draw the palms down the breastbone. Keep going just until you feel that you are going to lose the connection between the base of the palms – then in the mirror observe the angle across the back of the wrists.
In Tabletop pose, if the elbow is to be stacked over the top of the wrist then a 90 degrees wrist extension is required. If you do not have this range, instead of forcing the wrists or allowing the base of the palms lifting off the ground which will create instability, use a Buttafly or other wedge-shaped support under the hands, the high side towards you.
In the video I demonstrate coming into Reverse Tabletop pose with my hands placed behind my body because I cannot reach the floor with flat palms in line with my hips; this means that a greater than 90 degree ankle is required – at least until the shoulders are once again stacked directly over the elbows and wrists – since I don’t have this range, using a Standard Buttafly under my hands takes advantage of the wedged shape to reduce the required angle of wrist extension.
In every Yoga asana there are endless modifications you can take to make the pose accessible – the key is to take a route that helps you to find your ease and flow in each one and using whatever props necessary for support. I hope you find the Buttafly supports your practice and would love your feedback on the Facebook page!
Yours in Yoga