This past summer, I noticed thumb pain during my yoga practice and while gardening (my other job). Even with good alignment, poses like up-dog and wheel were starting to get painful. Being a type-A leaning human, my first instinct was to maintain status quo and see if it cleared up on its own. Being a yoga teacher, I knew better than to ignore it. It is one thing to have discomfort in your practice and another thing entirely to have actual pain. Discomfort is a warning to proceed mindfully while pain is a bright red stop sign.
Optimism in hand, I went to see an orthopedic hand specialist. I was sure he would tell me about a minor inflammation that would resolve with rest. Boy was I wrong! At 44, I was diagnosed with arthritis in my thumbs…early onset, no direct cause, perhaps hereditary. Gasp! Those words were swirling in my head when he said: “Your days of doing this (gesturing a plank pose) are over.” The swirling thoughts were drowned out by my stubborn inner child, who immediately threw a psychic temper tantrum. My inner child is a force to be reckoned with. She possesses all the tenaciousness and iron will of a 2 year old and does not like to be told what to do (my boyfriend can attest to this).