This is a discreet way to reduce stress and anxiety while you’re working, or anytime! This technique is similar to Palming (see that video below) but requires less time and is less obvious when practiced in your dental office.
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Whenever you’re feeling anxious or depressed, you can tune into your breath to find some relief so you can get back to confidently performing your dental procedures. This is the perfect meditation to do during your clinical day when the wave of anxiety starts flooding in. Of course, you can do this any time you are feeling unsettled!
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Queen pose (reclining bound angle pose) is a great way to open tight hips, stretch your groin and get ready for a luxurious sleep. This is one of my favorite yoga poses!
Queen pose is also known as reclining bound angle pose. This is an excellent pose if you are having sleep issues or want to cultivate your dream world. It is also a wonderful hip opener. If you can, do this pose daily for at least 5 minutes and up to 20 minutes. Don’t be surprised if you end up so relaxed that you fall asleep.
Bring a blanket and 2 pillows to your mat. Fold your blanket so that it is about 3-4 inches high and 5-6 inches wide. Position the buttocks on the floor and lie down in a way that the long blanket supports the whole spine.
Bend the knees and splay them out to the sides, bringing the soles of the feet together. Place your cushions under the thighs so that the legs are higher than they would normally be without support.
If this pose feels too intense, you can also set yourself up with a bolster supported by yoga blocks. Place one yoga block on its tallest length and another one about 6 inches in front of it on its side. Then place your bolster on top of the blocks.
Position the buttocks on the floor up against the edge of the bolster and lie back. Again, use your cushions under the thighs so that your groin area feels a nice stretch without it being too intense.
In fact, on any given day, try either set up and see which one feels better in your body.
Once you’re settled in, practice a pranayama technique like Box Breathing. Pranayama is the yoga practice of breath control. In my experience, simple pranayama techniques are an easy way to start your meditation journey as it teaches you to sit quietly and focus on your breath while you learn to observe your thoughts as they pass by.
To come out of the pose, use your hands and bring your thighs together and then roll over to your side. Use your hands to prop yourself up.
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.
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.
Warrior II with a chair is great when you want to re-focus, need some confidence or want to stretch your hips and legs, especially after pressing on a rheostat for a while.
Using a chair with wheels is not ideal since it can be unstable, but virtually any chair will do. I suggest you try this at work and do it while a patient is getting numb or before you head out for lunch, and definitely at the end of the clinical day!
Start seated with your butt at the edge of the chair but toward the middle of the seat.
Pivot your torso so that you can sit on your right side.
Open your left hip to the left side so your left leg is straight, off the chair and behind you.
Angle your left foot in towards your midline so that your left ankle is behind your left toes.
Keep your right foot on the floor and your sit bones on the chair.
Place a yoga block (or lab box, if you’re at work) under your right foot if it doesn’t reach the floor.
If your bottom is lifting off the chair, place a yoga blanket or a pillow underneath your bum and settle into the pose. If you’re doing this while in the office, towels or a rolled up lab coat work well.
Stretch your arms out into a T with palms facing down.
Gaze over your right hand and hold the pose for 3-5 breaths.
Come back to center and perform the same steps on the left side.
Registered Dental Hygienist and Yoga Therapist Caitlin Parsons and I discuss the common musculoskeletal issues she sees in her dental clients, what yoga therapy is and why you should consider it as part of your “career longevity” toolbox!
Visit Caitlin’s website for a freeyoga therapy class for neck and shoulders and a free 5-day Change Your Posture, Change Your Life Challenge
Do you need to release tension in your neck? That’s a silly question to ask dental care providers. Of course you do! Do these simple yoga moves in between patients, with or without your PPE! Breathe through each movement to loosen up a tight neck during a busy day of dentistry. 🧘🏻♀️🙏🏻 🦷
If you’re new to meditation and not sure where to start, this episode is for you. This tutorial offers an easy breathing technique that anyone can do no matter what level of experience you have or wherever you find yourself. In other words, you don’t have to sit on a meditation pillow or lie down. And you don’t have to be in a zen garden wearing linen. You can just be sitting in your private office, in your car or even in the operatory while numbing a patient. 🧘🏻♀️🙏🏻 🦷
Prefer a visual experience? Watch here!
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