Thursday, 29 January 2009
Now this one will be a bit off topic but I enjoy some coulinary radicalism, so I thought I`d post it even though it`s not about yoga as such. Many of us aspireing yogis, practice also through what and how we eat. I have never embarked on a raw food trip and the fact that many people get it to work well fascinates
me. A friend once told me he considered trying araw food diet. I thought "Oh God, no!". On the other hand, i always think that when I hear the world "diet". But then I thought I would educate myself. Quite accidentaly, I came across a fab article by Jennie Murphy. So, here it is:
By Jennie Murphy
There are many different ways to eat a raw food diet. There's low fat, high fruit, low fat low fruit, there's gourmet, there's no fruit, there's vegan and non-vegan, superfoods, or not superfoods, supplement or no supplement. There are so many different raw diets to choose from that I often feel for the new person coming to raw… there is so much different advice out there! Many people go through several different phases before they find the style of raw that fits them.
I myself started as high raw and was content with that. I originally did not want to be 100%. I did not want to be vegetarian either. However, in may 2007 I was fortunate enough to be helping out at the Mind, Body, Spirit festival in Sydney. There I met some beautiful people who had health glowing out of them. These people were 100% raw vegan; I've not eaten meat since.
I started out high raw, which was raw breakfast, lunch and two snacks and a salad with my dinner. The cooked portion was quite small. Evening meals were usually gourmet. Then I eventually got to the stage where I had cooked food once or twice per month. I'm still having cooked food once or twice per month but even that has changed. No more is that cooked portion chips or Chinese take-away. If I make myself some cooked food it's steamed veges. On top of a heap of shredded greens.
I'm two years into my raw journey. I'm still not 100% raw despite the perceived pressure to be. The other day I spoke to a lady on the phone. I've had dozens of conversations similar to this one. She was asking "How do I be 100%? I'm an all or nothing girl but this healthy food tastes like (insert swear word here)". I was not surprised as I've heard this many times before.
100% all or nothing. Where does that come from? I'm not sure myself. There are a lot of raw authors who are 100% raw vegan and even 100% raw non-vegan who are great advocates of being 100% raw. "The difference is unbelievable!" they say, "You will be blown away by the difference between 99% and 100% raw. Just try it" and so on. This is probably true. In fact, I believe that it is. There are so many testimonies out there of people living 100% raw lifestyles who are thriving. Whether they do superfoods, no superfoods, low fat, high fat, low fruit, high fruit... there are many, many people around doing various styles of raw and getting amazing results.
Then there are others. Who struggle. They get to X amount of days raw and then go crazy. Emotions surface that are too painful for them to ignore. 'Getting the crazies' is something I have heard once or more to describe how they feel on a 100% raw diet.
I'm one of those people. Recently I did a 100 day raw challenge. After day 35 or 36 I started to get quite agitated. I gave in on day 56, decided that raw food sucked, I could never be a raw fooder, I was too weak to be 100%, I must find another owner for my raw food business and went on a cooked food binge of biblical proportions. As the owner of a large raw food business I felt that I could not hold up my head in the raw community. I was ashamed which is a sad and unhealthy way to be.
It took me five weeks to get back on track. During that time I beat myself up like you would not believe. I lost all happiness about myself, loathed myself in fact, and just had no will power at all left.
During this time I got to talking to others. In Australia it seems we are so focused on 100% that we often forget to enjoy the journey. We are so keen to see some of our own make it that a lot of people try a style of raw for six months and consider themselves gurus! Perhaps this is why we feel pressured to move faster than we are ready. Some raw foodies become so enthusiastic that their approach can appear one-eyed and superior. Which is a shame because they could be quite inspiring.
All or nothing. I had opted for nothing. In fact, I vowed that I would never touch raw food again as long as I lived! Luckily, my loving hubby did not take me seriously.
So, to those who can be 100% and feel sane, hold your compassion, and still be yourselves I applaud you. I hold you as someone to be inspired by. However, if you are not 100% raw, I also hold you as someone to be admired and loved and I am just as inspired by you. As are many others.
100% or nothing? So, if this is you saying this, ask yourself, when you ate mostly cooked food, did you eat a 100% cooked food diet? No fresh fruit, veges or nuts at all? I do actually know a few people who have lived that way. But not many.
If you did not eat all cooked, did you still think 100% or nothing?
Lets look at 'all or nothing' another way. What about fitness? Lets pretend you have never been fit in your life. You have now decided to become a runner! So, do you go and book yourself into the nearest marathon, which, luckily, just happens to be in 4 days time? Or, do you get a training program. Ask around... get your running style checked to make sure you are not going to shred your joints in the first place? Hmmm....
Do you think that fitness and raw food eating should not be compared? I ask "Why not"? Are they are both physical activities? Sure there is an emotional aspect to them both as well, but in the main they are physical.
If you think that eating is more emotional, which it is for many many people including myself, let us look at an example of something else that is about emotional control. Meditation. You have just read about meditation, think it's the bees knees, the answer to all your questions, and have decided that from today you are going to meditate for 6 hours per day 7 days a week. You could probably do it! I'm sure many have. But, for most, you would be better off starting smaller and working your way up to meditating 6 hours a day. Starting with just 5 minutes two to three times per day.
In our society we are not really used to having to wait for anything. Everything is so fast. You want it, there it is. Banks make sure that most people can get a loan just by sneezing on their way in the door so you can buy yourself the latest house, car or handbag. Fast food outlets are everywhere along with microwave dinners to ensure you have a meal in five minutes flat with little to no effort. But going raw can take time folks.
Karen Knowler, a great raw fooder and life stylist from England took 5 years to go raw. Frederic Patenaude says it took him 10 years and he is still learning! Please do not give up after a day, a week or a month because you are an 'all or nothing' person. Have patience with yourself.
Train as you would for a marathon or even a 100 metre race if need be. Set aside time each day, as you would to learn to meditate, to plan what you are going to eat. Are you meeting friends at the local shopping centre and know they will all be at the food court for lunch? What can you pack? Is there a fruit shop nearby where you can get yourself some watermelon or apples while they have their deep fried whatever?
Are you going to a family dinner where you know that you are going to be questioned, even ridiculed by worried relatives about what you are eating? What can you tell them to calm their minds. What compromises are you willing to make? I told my family that I was doing a '8 week detox'. I also told my friends this. It was perfectly true, I was! At the end of the 8 weeks I told them I felt so great I would eat that way until I didn't want to anymore. Only one person objected strongly and I asked her to give me two years, promising that if, in two years I was ill or unhealthy etc, I would change back to eating a more 'regular' way.
Enjoy it! Never feel bad about what you eat. If you are 100% or nothing, then I challenge you to this, enjoy your food 100% of the time. Feel good emotionally after eating 100% of the time. Be YOUR friend 100% of the time. If you have a day that is high cooked, don't feel bad. Enjoy it for what it is, then... move on. Tomorrow is another day. Be raw then. Or high raw.
If you really cannot get around the whole 100% or nothing, but are finding 100% raw 100% of the time is making you 100% miserable, can you try and be 100% raw eighty percent of the time? The other twenty percent you can do whatever you like with! Remember, if 100% is what you want, you don't have to do it overnight. It's extremely rare that 100% overnight happens. Work towards it. Plan it. But most of all, enjoy the journey.
These are some thoughts I have that you may find useful. Or know someone else who does. Take them with you and do with them what you will.
Wednesday, 28 January 2009
Shine the light of compassion on all that frightens you to find healing and freedom.
By Tara Brach
Maria described herself, during our first therapy session, as a "prisoner of fear." Her slight frame was tense, and her dark eyes had an apprehensive look. From the outside, she said, her life appeared to be going very well. As a social worker, she was a strong advocate for her clients. She had good friends, and she had been living with her partner, Jeff, for three years. Yet her incessant worrying about how things might go wrong clouded every experience.
When stuck in morning traffic, Maria was gripped with fear about being late for work. She was perpetually anxious about disappointing her clients or saying the wrong thing at staff lunches. Any hint of making a mistake spiraled into a fear of being fired. At home, if Jeff spoke in a sharp tone, Maria's heart pounded and her stomach knotted up. "This morning he complained that I'd left the gas tank near empty, and I thought, 'He's going to walk out and never come back,'" she said. Maria could never shake the feeling that just around the corner, things were going to fall apart.
Maria was living in what I call the trance of fear. When you are in this trance, fearful thoughts and emotions take over and obscure the larger truths of life. You forget the love between you and your dear ones; you forget the beauty of the natural world; you forget your essential goodness and wholeness. You expect trouble and are unable to live in the present moment.
Brain chemistry and genetics may predispose a person to excessive fearfulness, and it can be fueled by societal circumstances, such as the perception of a terrorist threat. Traumatic childhood experiences may also give rise to the trance of fear.
For Maria, the fear took hold in elementary school, when her mother was holding down two jobs and going to night school, leaving Maria to care for her two younger siblings. Her father worked erratically, drank too much, and had an unpredictable temper. "He would barge in at dinnertime, red-faced and angry, yell at me, and then disappear into his room," she told me. "I had no idea what I'd done wrong." When Maria was 13, her father vanished without a word, and she always felt that she had driven him away.
It is understandable that Maria's fear of her father's anger became linked with a belief that her "badness" made him leave. But even if your personal history is not so distressing, you might spend a part of your life worrying about the ways in which you aren't good enough.
Fear itself is a natural and necessary part of being alive. All living beings experience themselves as separate, with a sense of "me in here" and "the world out there." And that sense of separateness leads you to recognize that you can be injured by others, and that, eventually, the "me in here" will die. At the same time, you are genetically programmed to keep yourself alive and free from harm, and it is fear that signals you to respond when threats arise. It lets you know to hit the brakes when the car in front of you suddenly stops, or to call 911 if you are having chest pain.
The problem is that fear often works overtime. Mark Twain said it well when he quipped: "I have been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened." Think for just a minute about all of the time you've spent fearful and worrying. Looking back, you might see that much of what you fearfully anticipated turned out fine. Precious moments in life—moments that could have been full of love, creativity, and presence—were taken over by habitual fear.
Here's the good news: When you bring what I call unconditional presence to the trance of fear, you create the foundation for true spiritual awakening. In other words, as you learn to face your fears with courage and kindness, you discover the loving awareness that is your true nature. This awakening is the essence of all healing, and its fruition is the freedom to live and love fully.
While the basic experience of fear is that "something is wrong," many people turn that feeling into "there must be something wrong with me." This is especially true in Western culture, where one's sense of belonging to family, community, and the natural world is often weak and the pressure to achieve is so strong. You may feel as though you must live up to certain standards in order to be loved, so you constantly monitor yourself, trying to see if you're falling short.
When you live in this trance of fear, you instinctively develop strategies to protect yourself. I call these attempts to find safety and relief "false refuges," since they work, at best, only for the time being.
One such strategy is physical contraction. When you stay trapped in fear, you begin to feel tight and guarded, even when there is no immediate threat. Your shoulders may become permanently knotted and raised, your head thrust forward, your back hunched, your belly tense. Chronic fear can generate a permanent suit of armor. In such a state, we become, as the Tibetan teacher Chögyam Trungpa taught, a bundle of tense muscles defending our very existence.
The trance of fear traps the mind in rigid patterns, too. The mind obsesses and produces endless stories, reminding you of the bad things that might happen and creating strategies to avoid them.
In addition to physical armoring and mental obsession, there are many well-worn behavioral strategies for reducing or avoiding fear. You might run from fear by staying busy, trying to accomplish a lot, or judging others critically to boost your ego. Or maybe you take the popular approach of numbing yourself by indulging in too much food, drugs, or alcohol. Yet no amount of doing or numbing can erase the undercurrents of feeling fearful and unworthy. In fact, the efforts you make to avoid fear and prove yourself worthy only reinforce the deep sense of being separate and inadequate. When you run from fear and take false refuge, you miss being in the very place where genuine healing and peace are possible.
Bringing compassion and mindfulness directly to the experience of fear will help dissolve the trance, taking you inside to the real refuge of unconditional presence. Compassion is the spacious quality of heart that allows and holds with tenderness whatever you are experiencing. It seeks to answer the question, Can I meet this moment, this experience, with kindness? Mindfulness is the clear recognition of your moment-to-moment experience. Here the inquiry to use is, What is happening inside me right now? Being mindfully attentive means that you are aware of the stories you are telling yourself and the feelings and sensations in your body. You can initially emphasize either compassion or mindfulness in meditation; both are essential when facing fear.
One evening, Maria arrived at my office distraught and unnerved. A co-worker was sick and Maria's boss had asked her to step in as supervisor for their team of social workers. Sitting rigidly with her eyes downcast, she said bleakly, "Tara, I am really scared."
I invited her to pause—to breathe and simply be aware of the two of us sitting together. "I'm here with you right now," I said. "Would it be all right if we paid attention to the fear together?" Looking up at me, she nodded. "Good," I said, and went on. "You might begin by asking yourself, 'What am I believing right now?'" Maria responded without hesitation. "I'm going to let everyone down," she said. "They'll see that it was a mistake to ever hire me. They'll want to get rid of me."
When you are emotionally stuck, becoming mindful of what you believe at that moment can be a powerful part of awakening from trance. By bringing your stories and limiting beliefs to light, they gradually have less hold on your psyche. I encouraged Maria to simply acknowledge the thoughts as a story she was telling herself, and then to sense the feelings of vulnerability in her body. I assured her that if the process felt like more than she could handle, we could shift our attention—it's not helpful to feel overwhelmed or possessed by fear. After a few moments, she reported in a shaky voice, "The fear is big. My stomach is clenched, and my heart is banging. Mostly there is a gripping, aching, empty feeling in my heart."
I invited her to check in with the fear, to ask it what it wanted from her. Maria sat quietly for a few moments and then began speaking slowly: "It wants to know that it's OK that it's here...that I accept it. And..." At this point she became quiet for some long moments. "And that I pay attention, keep it company." Then, in a barely audible voice she whispered, "I will try. I want to keep you company." This was one of Maria's first moments of being truly compassionate with herself. Instead of pushing away her feelings, she was able to gently acknowledge and accept them.
What Maria and all of us need is to feel that we are loved and understood. This is the essence of unconditional presence, the true refuge that can heal the trance of fear. As the Buddha taught, our fear is great, but greater yet is the truth of our essential connectedness.
If you've been wounded in a relationship, the love and understanding of friends are essential components in bringing a healing presence to your fears. You need the gift of this caring presence from others, and through meditations that cultivate compassion and mindfulness, you can learn to offer it to yourself.
And if you've been traumatized, I think it's important to seek the help of a therapist as well as an experienced meditation teacher as you begin deepening your presence with fear. Otherwise, when you allow yourself to reexperience the fear, you may find it to be traumatic rather than healing. In Maria's case, we spent several weeks working with meditative practices that develop unconditional presence. I acted as her guide, and when she became aware of fear, I encouraged her first to pause, because pausing creates a space for you to arrive in the present moment. Then she would begin mindfully naming out loud what she was noticing: the thoughts she was believing, the shakiness and tightness in her belly, the squeeze in her heart.
With whatever was arising, Maria's practice was to notice it, breathe with it, and with gentle, nonjudging attention, allow it to unfold naturally. If it felt overwhelming, she would open her eyes and reconnect to the sense of being with me, to the songs of the birds, to the trees and sky outside my office window.
Abandoning False Refuges
The challenge in facing fear is to overcome the initial reflex to dissociate from the body and take false refuge in racing thoughts. To combat this tendency to pull away from fear, you awaken mindfulness by intentionally leaning in. This means shifting your attention away from the stories—the planning, judging, worrying—and fully connecting with your feelings and the sensations in your body. By gently leaning in instead of pulling away, you discover the compassionate presence that releases you from the grip of fear.
My meditation student Phil got an opportunity to lean in to fear the first night his 16-year-old son borrowed the car. Josh had promised to return home by midnight. But midnight came and went. As the minutes passed, Phil became increasingly agitated. Had Josh been drinking? Had he had an accident? By 12:30 Phil was furious, trying his son's cell phone every few minutes.
Then he remembered the instructions on mindfulness from the weekly meditation class he attended. He sat down, desperate to ease his agitation. "OK, I'm pausing," he began. "Now, what's going on inside me?" Immediately he felt the rising pressure in his chest. Noting "anger, anger," he experienced the sensations filling his body. Then, under the anger, Phil felt the painful clutch of fear. His mind was imagining the police calling with the news that is a parent's worst nightmare. He leaned in, breathing with the fear, feeling its crushing weight at his chest. The story kept arising, and each time, Phil returned to his body, bringing his breath and attention directly to the place of churning, pressing fear.
As he leaned in to the fear, he found buried within it the hollow ache of grief. Then, drawing on a traditional Buddhist compassion practice, Phil began gently offering himself the message "I care about this suffering," repeating the phrase over and over as his eyes filled with tears. Phil was holding his grief with compassion, and as he did so, he could feel how much he cherished his son. While the fear remained, leaning in had connected him with unconditional presence.
A short while later, he heard the car rolling into the driveway. Josh barged into the living room and launched into his defense: He had lost track of time. The cell phone had run out of juice. Instead of reacting, Phil listened quietly. Then with his eyes glistening, he told his son, "This last hour was one of the worst I've gone through. I love you and..." He was silent for some moments and then continued softly, "I was afraid something terrible had happened. Please, Josh, don't do this again." The boy's armor instantly melted, and apologizing, he sank onto the couch next to his dad.
If Phil had not met his fears with unconditional presence, they would have possessed him and fueled angry reactivity. Instead, he opened to the full truth of his experience and was able to meet his son from a place of honesty and wholeness, rather than blame.
Several months after we had started therapy, Maria arrived for our session with her own story of healing. Two nights before, she and Jeff had been arguing about an upcoming visit from his parents. Tired from a difficult day at work, he suggested they figure things out the next evening. Without their usual goodnight kiss, he just rolled over and fell asleep.
Filled with agitation, Maria got up, went into her office, and sat down on her meditation cushion. As she had done so often with me, she became still, pausing to check in and find out what was going on. There was a familiar swirl of thoughts: "He's ashamed of me. He doesn't really want to be with me." Then she had an image of her father, drunk and angry, walking out the front door, and she heard a familiar inner voice saying, "No matter how hard I try, he's going to leave me." She felt as if icy claws were gripping her heart. Her whole body was shaking.
Taking a few deep breaths, Maria began whispering a prayer: "Please, may I feel held in love." She called to mind her spirit allies—her grandmother, a close friend, and me—and visualized us circling around her, a presence that could help keep her company as she experienced the quaking in her heart. Placing her hand gently on her heart, she sensed compassion pouring through her hand directly into the core of her vulnerability.
She decided to let go of any resistance to the fear and to let it be as big as it was. Breathing with it, she felt something shift: "The fear was storming through me, but it felt like a violent current moving through a sea of love." She heard a gentle whisper arise from her heart: "When I trust I'm the ocean, I'm not afraid of the waves." This homecoming to the fullness of our being is the gift of fear, and it frees us to be genuinely intimate with our world. The next evening when Maria and Jeff met to talk, she felt at peace. "For the first time ever," she told me, "I could let in the truth that he loved me."
As long as you are alive, you will feel fear. It is an intrinsic part of your world, as natural as a bitter cold winter day or the winds that rip branches off trees. If you resist it or push it aside, you miss a powerful opportunity for healing and freedom. When you face your fears with mindfulness and compassion, you begin to realize the loving and luminous awareness that, like the ocean, can hold the moving waves. This boundless presence is your true refuge—you are coming home to the vastness of your own awakened heart.
Tara Brach, the author of Radical Acceptance (Bantam), is a clinical psychologist and teaches Buddhist meditation at centers in the United States and Canada.
Thursday, 8 January 2009
Trouble in Bakasana? Check this out!
By the lovely Barbara Banagh:
Bakasana, more accurately translated as Crane Pose, is the most important of all arm balances, since understanding how to do Bakasana lays the foundation for most arm balances. Arm balances are complex, and they reveal how the flexibility and strength that carry newcomers through many poses cannot replace skills mature yoga practitioners develop over years of practice.
Most people who fail at this arm balance have not distributed their weight correctly. The most common mistake I see is students lifting their hips so high that their poses are too vertical—they become diving cranes! Some people get the feet off the floor this way, but then their pose becomes very heavy on the arms. Crane Pose performed in this manner avoids the weight shift essential to understanding this asana and evolving into other arm balances. My feeling is, if you can't go forward enough to risk falling, you won't go forward enough to balance.
First, I want you to feel the abdominal and thigh action that is the core of support for Bakasana. Squat on your tiptoes and bend forward to position your shoulders or upper arms under the shins. (Some folks practice Bakasana with their knees pressed into the armpits—your choice). Strongly lift your head and chest while pressing the arms back against the shins. Without putting further weight on your arms, and keeping your chest lifted, pull your abdomen in and raise your hips to shoulder level. Though difficult, this action gives you a sense of where the real strength of arm balances comes from.
From this position, exhale, push forward from your feet, and move your elbows past your fingers so your arms slant forward. Keep your chest lifted! When you can do this, you will feel your weight shift from your feet to your hands, allowing the body to be lifted and supported by your arms. It's as simple as that.
You can practice this difficult arm movement without the added burden of your full weight by kneeling and pushing your elbows past your fingers while scooping up your chest. If you look at a picture of someone doing Bakasana well, you will see the dramatic angle of the arms you seek.
So remember, use your abs and thighs to keep your hips at shoulder height, push forward to shift weight onto your hands, and lift your chest. When you become adept, refine the pose further by straightening your arms and pulling your feet as close to your hips as possible, letting your hips rise. Most of all, keep practicing!
Barbara Benagh, YJ's 2001 Asana columnist, founded the Yoga Studio in Boston in 1981 and teaches seminars nationwide. Currently, Barbara is writing a yoga workbook for asthmatics and can be reached at www.yogastudio.org.
And here`s more:
baka = crane
Step by Step
Squat down from Tadasana with your inner feet a few inches apart. If it isn't possible to keep your heels on the floor, support them on a thickly folded blanket. Separate your knees wider than your hips and lean the torso forward, between the inner thighs. Stretch your arms forward, then bend your elbows, place your hands on the floor and the backs of the upper arms against the shins.
Snuggle your inner thighs against the sides of your torso, and your shins into your armpits, and slide the upper arms down as low onto the shins as possible. Lift up onto the balls of your feet and lean forward even more, taking the weight of your torso onto the backs of the upper arms. In Bakasana you consciously attempt to contract your front torso and round your back completely. To help yourself do this, keep your tailbone as close to your heels as possible.
With an exhalation, lean forward even more onto the backs of your upper arms, to the point where the balls of your feet leave the floor. Now your torso and legs are balanced on the backs of your upper arms. As a beginner at this pose, you might want to stop here, perched securely on the bent arms.
But if you are ready to go further, squeeze the legs against the arms, press the inner hands firmly to the floor and (with an inhalation) straighten the elbows. Seen from the side the arms are angled slightly forward relative to the floor. The inner knees should be glued to the outer arms, high up near the armpits. Keep the head in a neutral position with your eyes looking at the floor, or lift the head slightly, without compressing the back of the neck, and look forward.
Stay in the pose anywhere from 20 seconds to 1 minute. To release, exhale and slowly lower your feet to the floor, back into a squat.
Strengthens arms and wrists
Stretches the upper back
Strengthens the abdominal muscles
Opens the groins
Tones the abdominal organs
Contraindications and Cautions
Carpal tunnel syndrome
Beginners tend to move into this pose by lifting their buttocks high away from their heels. In Bakasana try to keep yourself tucked tight, with the heels and buttocks close together. When you are ready to take the feet off the floor, push the upper arms against the shins and draw your inner groins deep into the pelvis to help you with the lift.
The most accessible variation of Bakasana is a twist: Parsva Bakasana (pronounced PARSH-vah, parsva = side or flank).
Squat as described above, but keep your knees together. Exhale and turn your torso to the right, bracing the left elbow to the outside of the right knee. Work the arm along the knee, until the knee is firm against the upper arm, near the armpit. Set the hands on the floor, lean to the right, and lift the feet off the floor on an exhalation, balancing with the outer left arm pressed against the outer right leg. Straighten the arms as much as possible, though no doubt for most students the elbows will remain slightly bent. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, exhale back to the squat, and repeat to the left for the same length of time.
Modifications and Props
Some students have a difficult time lifting into Bakasana from the floor. It's often helpful to prepare for this pose squatting on a block or other height, so that your feet are a few inches off the floor.
A partner can help you learn to balance in Bakasana, especially if you are reluctant to lean forward and take your feet off the floor. Squat in the ready position, hands on the floor, up on the balls of your feet. Have the partner stand in front of you. As you lean forward he/she will support your shoulders with his/her hands, to prevent you from toppling forward onto your face or head. Stay for a few breaths, getting a taste for the balanced position, yet secure in the hands of your partner.
Adho Mukha Svanasana
Adho Mukha Svanasana
Deepen The Pose
The full pose sometimes causes varying degrees of pain in the wrists. Instead of spreading the fingers on the floor, curl them slightly. This should take some of the pressure off the wrists.
Thank you, Yoga Journal! :-D