By Claire Diab and Dennis Boyle
The hands are an amazing part of the body. Twenty-seven different bones make up the structure of the hand, and they contain your fingerprints, which make you truly unique from others. Often you take your hands for granted, but they are such an important part of our everyday lives, especially for firefighters.
The hands enable you to carry people out of fires, pick up an ax, hold a hose, and climb a ladder. It is important to not neglect your hands but keep them strong for these everyday tasks. Yoga can help increase the strength and flexibility in your hands. It can also help prevent against and/or ease the pain of arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome. To help keep the hands strong and flexible, you can practice wrist rotations and finger exercises.
Extend your arms in front of you. Working from your wrists, slowly rotate your hands outward in circles. Repeat 8-10 times. Then reverse, rotating your hands inward in circles 8-10 times. This motion helps lubricate your wrist joints.
Extend your arm out to the side of you, palm facing up. Proceed to touch the tip of your index finger with the tip of your thumb while keeping all other fingers straight. Do this with all fingers and reverse. Switch hands.
Claire Diab is an internationally recognized Yoga therapist. She is the director of the Yoga Program for the Chopra Center founded by Dr. Deepak Chopra and Dr. David Simon. She is an adjunct professor of Asian Studies at Seton Hall University. She is the author of several books and DVDs on Yoga including “Yoga For Firefighters.”
Dennis Boyle is a retired fire director and acting chief with the West Orange (NJ) Fire Department. He was the recipient of the 1999 New Jersey Deputy Fire Chiefs “Fire Officer of the Year” award.