Episode 13: Guided Meditation – Letting Go of 2020

Are you ready to purge 2020? Listen to this guided meditation to reflect on this challenging year so you can let it go and usher in your aspirations for 2021!

Subscribe to the Yoga for Dentists YouTube Channel if you prefer a visual experience.

Listen on your favorite podcast listening app or listen here!

Hang out with like-minded dental professionals on Facebook or Instagram @yogafordentists

Click here to receive a FREE End of Workday Meditation!

Consider subscribing to this website (it’s free) and share it with your dental friends. Helping other dentists live better lives is a great way to give back to the dental community!

Do You Know What Actually Relaxes You?

It might sound obvious, but many people aren’t very discerning or creative about how they spend their downtime, especially dentists.

People often think they’re resting when they’re really not. For example, maybe you count scrolling through Twitter for a couple of hours as relaxation. That might be restful to some people, but for many, it’s more stressful than anything.⁠

Or maybe you force yourself to do things that you’ve heard are supposed to be relaxing like napping, or taking a bubble bath—but you actually find them unhelpful or boring.

Relaxation isn’t one-size-fits-all.⁠
To figure out what rest means to you, you might want to reframe how you think about it.⁠

Relaxation is not an activity—it’s the outcome of an activity.⁠

And which activities lead to relaxation will depend on you. ⁠

Explore hobbies, different types of physical activity, various means of socializing, self-care practices, and more. Remember, there is more to life than dentistry!⁠

Then pay attention. Ask yourself, “How do I feel after doing this? Do I feel grounded? Do I feel stable? Do I feel at ease?” If so, maybe that’s something that can be on your list as a way to rest from the world. And if not, maybe you need to try something else.⁠

If you find that your go-to relaxation activities aren’t actually relaxing and you’re not sure what else to try, you might have to go back to the drawing board and start experimenting. That’s okay. Start small. Like, so small that you think it’s absurd.⁠

Literally sit for 30 seconds.⁠
Do one deep-breathing exercise a day.⁠
Go from there.⁠

Come back and let me know what you discover.

Be well friend.

Listen to this message here:

Join us in the Facebook group or on Instagram.
Click here to receive a FREE End of Workday Meditation!

Consider subscribing to this website (it’s free) and share it with your dental friends. Helping other dentists live better lives is a great way to give back to the dental community!

Restorative Lower Back Release

Yesterday, I slept terribly and then ended up waking up with a stiff lower back. I knew that yoga would help my back but decided to take a more restorative approach to my practice as my body and mind were telling me to “be gentle”.

So today, my offering is the three poses I did to honor what my body and mind were needing.


I set my bolster lengthwise in the center of the mat. My yoga blanket is folded and draped near the top to offer some additional support to my head and neck.

My initial pose was to place my hip points at the end of the bolster and then lay on top of the bolster. This allows the legs to drop down, providing a gently stretch of the lower back thanks to gravity, and the legs to splay open. And I simply laid there for several slow breaths, feeling my back get a nice gentle stretch.

Then I lifted my torso away from the bolster and held that pose for several breathes. Breathing into my lower back, feeling the counter pose to the stretch. Remember, my back was stiff, so I was just trying to loosening things up in the most gentle way.

Since I provided flexion and extension of the lower back, it was time for a gentle twist.

Sitting up, I bent my legs and placed the side of my hip on the edge of the bolster. Then I slowly lowered myself down onto the bolster with an arm on either side and my face turned towards my legs. And I stayed here for about 5-7 minutes, breathing into my lower back.

Pushing myself up, I unwound my body and then did the same set up for the other side.

Give yourself permission to honor your body where it is at on any given day.

Let me see your restorative poses by tagging me on Instagram @yogafordentist or posting in our private Facebook Group – Yoga for Dentists!

Natarajasana (Dancer Pose)

A lot of you are Peloton people (or some other spin cycle) so today I wanted to offer you a “yogic’ twist on the typical quad stretch that is suggested after a ride.

Natarajasana, or Dancer Pose, is a balancing pose that teaches concentration. This version of the pose opens your front body, shoulders, and hip of the bent leg. It also strengthens leg and ankle muscles of the standing leg while improving your sense of balance and flexibility.

Do this directly after cycling, a run, or your evening walk. You don’t even need a mat for this pose.In the first picture, you see the typical quad stretch after a cycling class. The arm holding the foot is internally rotated which is what our arms typically do in dentistry all day. So I recommend externally rotating your arm for this pose to give your shoulder a nice stretch too.

Dancer Pose (Natarajasana)

Try it:

  • With one hand on your bike for initial stabilization, bend your knee and reach back to grab the inside of your foot.
  • Align your bent knee with your standing leg as best as you can.
  • Lift the hand that’s touching the bike up towards the sky while focusing on a steady object in front of you to cultivate your sense of balance.
  • Engage the quad of the standing leg and stabilize your lower core.

If this is challenging enough, take a few breaths here, then lower your top arm, gently release your leg, and do the other side.

If you want to go further:

  • Press your foot into your hand, engaging your leg muscles and using this power to lift the knee up behind you while stretching through the hip flexors.
  • Continue to press the foot into the hand as you lengthen your spine, slowly tipping forward, reach your lifted foot up behind you as your overhead arm reaches forward.
  • Take a few breaths here, then return to the upright position, lower your top arm and release your leg.
  • Repeat on the other side.

This posture cultivates feelings of strength and power as you stand strong and balanced. Embrace any wobbling in the standing foot and ankle. Your muscles are learning to balance and support you which will, over time, lead to a stronger leg and foot.

Let me see your post peloton Dancer Pose by tagging me on Instagram @yogafordentist or posting in our private Facebook Group – Yoga for Dentists!

Using Yoga Props & Matsyasana (Fish Pose)

If you’ve been here a while, you know that I love yoga props. Maybe you get the sense that props are helpful but you’re not sure how to use them or maybe you consider their use “cheating”. Well I’m here to tell you that yoga props do not make your practice less than, just like not using them doesn’t make your yoga practice better than. In fact, ideally there should be no such thing as comparison or competition in yoga. There is however, a focus on awareness. Learn to be aware of what you might benefit from and explore those observations. 

Yoga props are  tools that support you in your body, and in your yoga practice by offering a loving way to meet your body and your practice honestly and openly. Some days, dentistry beats you up and you won’t be able to access a yoga pose or range of motion that you normally can.  Or maybe you do have the range of motion but you’d like to take a more restorative approach to your yoga practice by giving your body and mind some additional support. Props are great for that!

Today, my offering is a pose that will give your upper back some love. Matsyasana or Fish pose is a reclining back-bend. There are many variations of this pose and in the traditional version of Matsyasana, you don’t use props and the neck is placed in extreme extension as you bend the neck back and place the top of the head on the floor. I do not practice this nor do I teach this expression of this pose. In my opinion, it is difficult for most people to do safely, especially dental professionals with their neck imbalances.

But variations of this pose are great for providing a much needed release for dentistry-weary necks and shoulders. Supported Fish Pose expands the chest providing the counter pose to how we normally go through our day – you know, hunched. It can also relieve neck and shoulder tension.

In general the pose is most comfortable when your chin is even with or slightly lower than your forehead. If your head is tilting back, this pose may feel like a good stretch initially but can get uncomfortable fairly quickly. You can remedy this by placing a folded blanket under your head and neck to elevate them. Explore the different variations of this pose to see which is most comfortable in your body. 

Fish Pose (Matsyasana)

Try it with a Yoga Blanket:

If you don’t have yoga props yet, find a blanket or beach towel and work with this variation. Fold it in half, and then roll the folded side over one or two times – depending on what feels good under your body. You may have to fold your blanket a few different ways to figure out what works for you.

Lie on the blanket placing the blanket roll along the lower edges of your shoulder blades. Your head can rest on the unfolded part of the blanket or on the floor, which ever feels better for your neck. Let your feet fall open as you relax. Notice your chest opening as you focus on your breath while in this pose. This also might feel good for your shoulders. Enjoy for as long as you’d like. When you’re done, simply roll over to one side and push yourself up to a seated position.


Try it with Yoga Blocks:

Place one block on its highest height under your head, so that the head is supported without having to hyperextend your neck. Place a second block on the medium height in between or supporting your shoulder blades. Make sure the block under your shoulder blades isn’t touching your ribs below your shoulder blades. This block supports your upper back so that the chest gently expands. Relax your arms towards the floor and externally rotate your shoulders by having your palms face up. In this position, you can also let your feet fall open, as if you were taking Savasana (final resting pose).


Try it with Yoga Blocks and Bolster (and maybe a Blanket):

Place one block on its medium height and a second block on the lowest height. Stack the bolster over the blocks so that it is on an angle. Sit in front of your bolster so that the edge of the bolster is touching the top of your hips. Then lean back onto your props so that your back shoulders and head are supported by the bolster.

Now settle your torso down onto your bolster, letting your arms rest at about a 45-degree angle and turning your palms upward. In this position, you can also let your feet fall open, as if you were taking Savasana (final resting pose). Relax and breathe deeply for at least a minute. You can stay in this pose as long as it’s comfortable, even as long as 10-15 minutes. Most of us spend so much time in the opposite position—bent over a patient or keyboard—that there’s probably little chance of overdoing this version of Fish Pose.

In general the pose is most comfortable when your chin is even with or slightly lower than your forehead. If your head is tilting back, this pose may feel like a good stretch initially but can get uncomfortable fairly quickly. You can remedy this by placing a folded blanket under your head and neck to elevate them. Explore the different variations of this pose to see which is most comfortable in your body. 


Recommended Props:

Let me see your Fish Pose by tagging me on Instagram @yogafordentist or posting in our private Facebook Group – Yoga for Dentists!


“There is a buoyancy that lifts our heart and mood when we practice backbends like Fish Pose.”

Josie Dovidio, DDS
Listen to the episode here:
Click here to receive a FREE End of Workday Meditation!

Consider subscribing to this website (it’s free) and share it with your dental friends. Helping other dentists live better lives is a great way to give back to the dental community!

Episode 11: Exercise Consistency & Getting Hit by a Truck

Dr. Alan Mead, co-host of the Dental Hacks and Peaceful Practice podcasts, talks about his weight loss journey during the pandemic and managing lifestyle diseases. We discuss the physical and mental effects of exercise streaks and how to make time to exercise during the workweek. Dr. Mead also recounts getting hit by a truck while exercising, an event that broke his back in two places!

Connect with Dr. Alan Mead:
Facebook and Instagram
Podcast: The Dental Hacks Podcast or The Peaceful Practice

Watch the interview here:

Subscribe to the Yoga for Dentists YouTube Channel.

Listen on your favorite podcast listening app or listen here!

Hang out with like-minded dental professionals on Facebook or Instagram @yogafordentists

Click here to receive a FREE End of Workday Meditation!

Consider subscribing to this website (it’s free) and share it with your dental friends. Helping other dentists live better lives is a great way to give back to the dental community!

Falling Asleep While Meditating?

When I first started meditating regularly, I had a meditation teacher guiding me. The first several times, her soothing voice would lull me to sleep. Of course, when this happens, you are technically sleeping, not meditating.

My teacher explained that falling asleep was not uncommon for people new at the practice of meditation. In this era of hustle and productivity, our minds are full of activity and our bodies run ragged all day long. The only time we stop is when it’s time to sleep. So naturally, when we first start meditating, our brain draws the conclusion that since we are still, it must be time to sleep. It was only with consistent practice that I managed to complete a meditation session fully awake and present.

Dr. Josie Dovidio meditating while sitting on a yoga bolster.

So today, I want to encourage you to stick with it.

Many of you in the Facebook group or on Instagram say, “I just can’t sit still to meditate. I can’t do it!” Or “I fall asleep when I meditate.” I hear you.

So I offer you this:

Try being still just one minute today. 
Set a timer on your phone. 
Close your eyes. 
Breathe. 
One minute. 
I promise you can do this. 

Even if your mind stays busy the whole time, do it. You are training your brain to know the difference between busy and stillness – and that stillness does not mean sleep.

Then do it daily. Think of it as exercise for your brain. Yoga for the mind, if you will.

Then let me know how it went for you in the comments!

Be well friend.

Click here to receive a FREE End of Workday Meditation!

Consider subscribing to this website (it’s free) and share it with your dental friends. Helping other dentists live better lives is a great way to give back to the dental community!

Supported Savasana (Resting Pose)

It’s Giving Tuesday and the National Day of Courage.
Do you have the courage to give yourself some self-care today?

You owe yourself one hour a day of self maintenance. It can include reading, writing, yoga, exercise, dancing, meditation, painting, or whatever, but you owe it to yourself. One hour, 1/24 of your day. That’s less than 5%. It matters, it really does. Especially if you’re hoping for longevity in your career. Make it count.

Dr. Josie Dovidio in supported savasana. To see which yoga props she recommends, click here.

In the spirit of giving, my offering to you is this delicious yoga prop supported version of Savasana:

  • Lay down with a bolster under your knees, a rolled towel under your ankles, and a rolled blanket to support the curvature of your neck
  • Support for your neck is key here to really tap into the parasympathetic response (rest & digest)
  • Get the most out of the pose by adding the weight of a sandbag or pillow on top of your belly. This is my meditation pillow which has some weight to it.
  • Rest in Savasana anywhere from 5-25 minutes.
  • Feel your body fully supported and landing onto the earth.

Give your body permission to relax and be at ease. You deserve it!

Then let me know how you treated yourself in the comments!

Be well friend.

Click here to receive a FREE End of Workday Meditation!

Consider subscribing to this website (it’s free) and share it with your dental friends. Helping other dentists live better lives is a great way to give back to the dental community!

Episode 9: Guided Meditation – Sharing Gratitude

This heartwarming guided meditation is the perfect way to kick off the holiday season. Focus on the people in your life who you are grateful for and feel the love and support they give you all year long. Of course, sharing gratitude is great any time of year, especially when you need a reminder of how much you are loved.

Subscribe to the Yoga for Dentists YouTube Channel if you prefer a visual experience.

Listen on your favorite podcast listening app or listen here!

Hang out with like-minded dental professionals on Facebook or Instagram @yogafordentists

Click here to receive a FREE End of Workday Meditation!

Consider subscribing to this website (it’s free) and share it with your dental friends. Helping other dentists live better lives is a great way to give back to the dental community!

Anjaneyasana (Low Lunge)

The practice of yoga gives you messages that are very difficult to ignore. Through my physical yoga and mindfulness practices, I realized that I had a low grade gnawing pain in my right hip joint. In my mind’s eye, I saw that the inflammation occurring in between the acetabulum and head of my femur.

I attribute this to years of using my right foot on the rheostat. Whether I did a procedure sitting or standing, I preferred my right foot as I felt more secure with it controlling the rheostat. That is after all how I was trained.

Over time, this led to an imbalance in my hip as my right leg was more active than my left. After some focused time trying to rebalance the musculature, my hip settled down. Now it only occasionally flares up which serves as a reminder that I need to spend focused time giving my hips some love.

Upon reflection, I have learned that there is an edge that each of us must confront between growing, which is an adventure, and holding onto security. Some security is necessary. But too much dampens growth, creates an imbalance and dulls life by keeping newness out.

One of the remarkable things about yoga is that it invites you into self exploration, while building both  physical and psychological strength. This gives an entirely different kind of security – the security of knowing that you can respond to whatever challenges life may bring by simply responding with love and attention.

Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana)

Simple but wildly effective, Low Lunge targets the iliacus and psoas muscles to create length and flexibility in these powerhouse hip flexors. In this pose, the hip muscles can stretch and release accumulated stress.

Try it:
  1. Find your version of Downward Facing Dog (this can vary from day to day).
  2. Step your left foot forward between your hands, stacking your left ankle under your left knee.
  3. Release your back knee to the floor
  4. Engage your core to lift your torso away from your front leg.
  5. Gently lengthen spine by drawing your tailbone toward the earth and the crown of your head toward the sky.
  6. Reach your arms overhead, palms facing each other, as you soften the weight of your hips toward the earth.
  7. Breathe and hold for several breaths.
  8. Place your hands back on the ground on either side of your front foot.
  9. Curl the toes of your back foot under and lift your back knee off the floor.
  10. Press into your hands as you draw your hips up and back, bringing your front foot backup meet your back foot.
  11. Return to downward facing dog and breathe.
  12. Repeat these steps in the other side.

**if your knees are sensitive, place a blanket or towel under your knee

Let me see your Low Lunge by tagging me on Instagram @yogafordentist or posting in our private Facebook Group – Yoga for Dentists!