My students with wrist or shoulder issues enjoy flowing through child's pose, with their lower legs remaining intact with the mat at all times and switch to fists in modified plank and upward f. dog, instead of down dog or through dolphin pose, remaining with their forearms in tact with the mat at all times throughout their flow.
When my wrists bother me, I do Dolphin variations of Downward Dog and Plank instead. No strain on the wrists that way!
I have my students modify DD by placing a towel or a rolled up mat under the heels of the hands, this can reduce the angle of the wrist and thereby reduce the strain. This usually works for mild to moderate cases of carpel tunnel, but doesnt work for students who have had CT surgery or have sever cases of CT.
I have one creative student who bought a gel filled wrist support, like the kind you put under your wrists at your keyboard and that has worked wonders for her.
Be aware though it does change the work load on the shoulders so be aware of your shoulders as you do this.
I too would greatly benefit from suggestions on alternative poses to upward and downward dog, I find myself skipping that part of the class sequence and i am sure i am not getting the full benefits.
Hear Hear Joyce! I would love to see a podcast as well.
I'd love to see Yoga Journal publish (or podcast) an entire core-strengthening practice sequence for people with carpal tunnel and other hand/wrist problems.