Downward-facing Dog Variations to Avoid Wrist Strain in Dental Professionals

Downward-Facing Dog with a chair is a pose that can be done in between dental patients, at lunchtime or even at home. Working with a chair, as opposed to the traditional version on the floor, is great for keeping pressure off of the hands and keeping your wrists in a more neutral position. And what dental professional isn’t concerned about that?

This pose is wonderful for activating the triceps, stabilizing shoulder blade muscles and lengthening your spine, especially after a long dental procedure. Going deeper into the pose will also give you a nice hamstring stretch which should feel great after prolonged sitting or pressing on a rheostat.

Because these variations are more approachable than a traditional Downward-Facing Dog on a yoga mat, it is especially suitable for someone who is new to yoga or still building strength to do the traditional pose. Using a chair for this pose is especially helpful for dentists or dental hygienists who have wrist pain or stiff shoulders.

Before coming into the pose, find a chair without wheels or prop your chair against the wall so it doesn’t move.

Dr. Josie Dovidio in Downward Dog Pose utilizing a chair for an easy variation you can do while at work.

Place your hands on top of the chair back and slowly walk backward as you bend at the hips. Keep your feet hip distance apart and parallel to each other.

Bend your knees slightly and bend from your hips so that your back and arms are straight. Press into the chair back with your open palms to activate your triceps.

Energetically draw your hips back behind you in order to lengthen your spine. Drop your head so that your arms are alongside your ears. Stay for 3-5 breaths.

If you’d like to go a little deeper, try straightening your legs for a bit of a hamstring stretch.

Bend at the hips and place the area just above your elbows on the top of the chair back. Slowly walk backward as you bend at the hips. Keep your feet hip distance apart and parallel to each other.

Bend your knees slightly and bend from your hips so that your back and arms are straight. Bend your arms so that your finger tips touch your shoulders and breathe into the triceps.

Energetically draw your hips back behind you in order to lengthen your spine. Drop your head so that your arms are along side your ears. Stay for 3-5 breaths.

Again, if you’re up to go a little deeper, try straightening your legs for a bit of a hamstring stretch.

Place your hands on the chair seat and slowly walk backward as you bend at the hips. Keep your feet hip distance apart and parallel to each other.

Bend your knees slightly and bend from your hips so that your back and arms are straight. Press into the top of the chair with your open palms to activate your triceps.

Energetically draw your hips back behind you in order to lengthen your spine. Drop your head so that your arms are along side your ears. Stay for 3-5 breaths

If you’re up to go a little deeper, try straightening your legs for a bit of a hamstring stretch.


To come out of the pose:

Bend your knees and slowly walk forward toward the chair as you bend at your elbows. When you are a foot or so from the chair, bend both knees, press into your feet evenly and come up to standing.


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Published by Yoga for Dentists

Dr. Josie Dovidio is a long-time dentist and certified yoga teacher who took a sabbatical from clinical dentistry to address health issues related to prolonged stress. She now helps dental professionals "undo" what dentistry does to the body, mind and soul through her Yoga for Dentists community on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube Channel and Podcast.

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