Hands. These hands that hold our nearest and dearest, that propel and reject, these hands that gesture our thoughts, offer connection, these hands that signify our hopes and intentions, and help both create and destroy so much. These hands with which we paint, laugh, dance and pray. Dexterous, powerful hands made so much more mobile by the wrists and arms and the hearts and thoughts they express These hands that make us uniquely human. Our long thumb allows us to firmly grip with strength and fine control.
Our upper body meridians travel through the hands and wrists, coursing along the arms. They travel from torso to hand and then hand to head with deeper conduits that weave a greater interconnection, linking them to other organ systems. The hands, much like the feet, also have reflexology points on them, linking areas to organs.
Our hands have 27 bones and joints
Our hands and wrists have 27 bones arranged to roll, slide and glide and a combination of 27 complex fibrous joints, lubricated with synovial fluid. The wrist is formed where the 8 carpal bones (collectively carpus) meet the ulna and radius of the forearm. This clustered arrangement allows for the pliability and strength. Each finger has 3 phalanges (such a great word!) while the thumb has 2. With 17000 touch receptors in the palm, the hand is a great source of information. The three main nerves of the hand and wrist are the ulnar nerve, radial nerve and median nerve. All three nerves originate at the shoulder and travel down the arm to the hand. There are over 100 ligaments securing the bones but four main ligaments hold the wrist in place to ensure stability, hand/wrist congruity during pronation and supination and to prevent deviation.
Yin is hardly considered to be the Yoga of the hands, we don’t stand on them, we rarely load them, nor actively reach with them, at best we might use them for support. The hands and wrists belong to the domain of the dynamic world of movement, of propulsion and creation, not in the stillness that is Yin. (handstand will teach you the importance of your hands and wrists as a source of information and strength but mudras will express your heart). In Yin, the focus in is on the tissues and the joints of the hips and spine, larger joints held in thick bands of connective tissue. Connective tissue and joints. The hands and wrists are joint rich, wrapped with ligaments, tendons and fascia and as such is an expansive practice and a whole body one at that. Let’s have look at some Yin postures in which we can incorporate the tissues of the wrists and hands.