Hand yoga is an unconventional form of yoga that targets one of the most important parts of your body – your hands.
Hand Clenching (Mushtika Bandha)
Known as Mushtika Bandhana in Sanskrit, hand yoga is a very effective exercise for individuals struggling with arthritis or osteoarthritis. Regular practice of this pose can promote strength and induce relaxation in your hands, fingers, and surrounding joints.
Due to the constant use of our hands to perform other daily activities, carpal tunnel syndrome has become a common issue with individuals today. Mushtika Bandhana can be the solution to give your hands a much-needed rest and help to alleviate you from pain and discomfort.
Mushtika Bandha Directions:
- Start in a comfortable seated position with your muscles relaxed and your legs crossed. Your spine and neck should be straight and your focus should be on your breathing.
- Keeping your eyes closed, stretch your right arm forward and bring it up to shoulder level, making sure not to hyperextend the right elbow and stretch the fingers wide apart.
- Inhale deeply and clench your fist with your thumb inside the fist. Then, as you exhale, stretch out your finger.
- Repeat this exercise at least ten times putting all your focus on the fingers of your hand.
- Slowly lower your right arm and breathe deeply for a couple of minutes.
- Repeat the exercise using the left arm to even out the sides.
Mushtika Bandha Variations:
Mushtika Bandhana is a very simple yet effective exercise for your hands. However, if you experience discomfort or are looking for ways to switch up this practice, there are a few modifications to ensure you get the most out of this pose.
Variation 1: Mudras
Variations for this hand clenching pose involve a set of hand gestures known as mudras. There are over 100 mudra positions to perform and one of the easiest poses to master involves you bringing one of your fingertips to touch the tip of your thumb as you stretch the fingers.
Variation 2: Using a Tennis Ball
Another variation you can use is to squeeze a tennis ball for a few seconds and then release the pressure from squeezing it. It will almost feel the same as practicing the traditional hand clenching pose.
Benefits of Mushtika Bandha:
Mushtika Bandhana has a variety of benefits that primarily relate to your hands and surrounding muscles.
Some of the benefits include:
- Relieves tension and stiffness in your wrists, hands, and fingers
- Strengthens your fingers to promote a stronger grip
- Alleviates symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome
- Induces relaxation to the mind and body
Mushtika Bandha Do’s and Don’ts:
When practicing any type of yoga pose, you should always ensure that you are maintaining the correct posture in order to prevent any injuries.
- Do modify your hand clenching pose if you feel any stiffness in your joints or fingers.
- Do try to squeeze a tennis ball for added comfort.
- Do your best to remain relaxed. You should never feel tight or stiff during this pose.
- Do your best to breathe through your nose during this exercise.
- Don’t be stiff of tense during this pose. Doing so will only add more stress to your hands and joints.
Mushtika Bandha Follow-Up Poses:
Since Mushtika Bandhana (hand clenching) is an exercise that has to do with the hands, mudras or other hand poses that require the use of hands are appropriate as follow up poses.
Mushtika Bandha Recap:
Performing this Mushtika Bandhana (hand clenching) exercise can do wonders for your hands and joints, especially if you are experiencing tightness in your wrists or finding it hard to concentrate at work.
Sometimes, all you need is a break from your busy schedule and focus on relaxing instead. Practicing the Mushtika Bandhana (hand clenching) exercise can refresh and rejuvenate your mind and help to alleviate any sensations of pain.
Enjoy your journey to a pain-free you and take that much-needed break you deserve.
Updated by Siya Rajan on 05/16/2018
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Hand Clenches Chair. (n.d.). Retrieved March 22, 2018, from https://www.tummee.com/yoga-poses/hand-clenches-chair