As you may agree with me, Dentistry can be a very busy, stressful and challenging profession. It can take its toll on the body both physically and emotionally if we are not careful. If we do not take preventative steps to maintain our health and well-being, it can negatively impact our daily productivity at work and at home. It takes a little effort, consistency, and a good support system to implement effective health habits, but a long, productive, and successful career and lifestyle is the greatest reward anyone can aim to achieve. If you think yoga is just for flexible people and may not be for you, I urge you to reconsider. Here are my top three reasons why you should start doing some yoga as soon as you can.
1. Yoga is adaptable.
It is adaptable to any body and can be done in private, in between clients, or at home. You can adapt the practice to your own comfort level. There are many poses that can be done sitting or standing, even without a mat. There are some fantastic movements that are perfect for all levels and especially the dental body. There is no reason anybody can’t do some form of yoga that suits them. It is best to find a trained yoga teacher who is also knowledgeable in your field of work, someone who will know your areas of strength, weaknesses and help you to find a program best suited to your body.
2. Yoga opens the “heart centre”.
Sitting in a forward bent position with elevated arms for prolonged periods closes and constricts the chest, shoulders and neck muscles. Studies are also recently correlating excessive forward posture with depression, stress and anxiety. “Closed Heart Syndrome” is the name being used for this postural pattern in the body that is identified by a sunken chest, heart and shallow breathing patterns, and being linked to emotional states such as helplessness, hopelessness, and self-protective withdrawal. Dental professionals are particularly at risk. Yoga is a great preventive tool as many poses are aimed at opening the “heart-centre”- the chest, upper back, and shoulders. There is greater evidence showing a two-way circle of improving posture and mood with yoga.
3. Yoga energizes.
We all know how the fatigue hits after a long hard day of patient-care. As we leave the office and begin our commutes home, the aches and pains and fatigue really starts to set in. We are exhausted before we even get home to make dinner, take care of the kids, do the chores and finally collapse on the couch or bed for the night. What if I told you that as little as a 10-minute morning routine and a 10-minute evening routine would significantly reduce pain, stress and increase your daily energy? Well, it sure does. Just a few dedicated moments of yoga every day can get you back in tune with your body to increase it’s strength, stamina, and durability. Focused breathing oxygenates the body and brain, intelligent movement lubricates the deep fascia, muscles and joints, and a few moments of quiet meditation can cultivate clarity of the mind. Another major benefit of this is that it can improve the quality of sleep. Yoga energizes all systems of the body and can change your life for the better, especially the dental professional.