Vinyasa flow or Ashtanga can be very hard if you are dealing with arthritis in your wrists. But yoga wouldn’t be yoga if there wasn’t yoga for arthritis in wrists, like there is yoga for arthritis in your lower and upper back as well. This series (click for video) is all about the wrists.
Most arm balances will be a problem as well if you are dealing with wrist pain. There is an option if you can bare weight on your wrists, but just can’t get them flat on the floor. Try rolling up a yoga mat and place the mat under your wrists, having your fingers on the floor. This way the pressure is mostly on your fingers.
In downward dog you also want to transfer your weight to your fingers. A lot of people complain about pain in their wrists, when they start out doing vinyasa flow or Ashtanga classes. The trick is to press your fingers (mainly thumb and index finger) so far in your yoga mat, you can actually lift up your wrists. Another option is always to go to dolphin pose, with your forearms on the floor, so your weight is in your forearms instead of on your wrists.
The same trick applies for arm balances. If you still have troubles with your wrists, even having a mat rolled up underneath, there are some arm balances you are actually doing on your underarms, like Ardha Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock pose). Your hands are involved – mainly your fingers – to keep balance, but the pressure is on your underarms and shoulders.
What is doable and not is something you have to find out for yourself. I hope this series works soothing.