Yoga Therapy Techniques
Improve your practice by prioritizing your health
Caitlin Parsons, RDH, C-IAYT
In an industry filled with stress, it is important for dental practitioners to take care of themselves. When we prioritize our own health as professionals, we create a positive ripple effect throughout the office, improving patient care. After spending half of my career as a dental hygienist in pain, extremely stressed, and depleted, I began to implement yoga therapy into my life. I not only became calmer and more focused, but I became a better clinician. My patient and team communication improved, and I had more energy and enjoyment in my practice. For hygienists interested in maximizing their health, I recommend these steps:
1. Mindful stretching at work: Sitting for an extended period isn't good for our bodies. To stay healthy and prevent pain, it's crucial to implement daily stretching. Focus on stretches that move the spine in all directions (side to side, front to back, and gentle rotation), mobilize the joints, and release tension in the muscles. This will improve circulation, reduce pain, and promote healing.
2. Reduce stress with breathing: Yogic breathing practices target our nervous system, reducing stress and anxiety, bringing us into a more relaxed and focused state. For example, Box Breathing is a simple exercise practiced by US Navy Seals. Try this: sit up tall and breathe in for a count of 4, pause for 4, exhale for 4, then pause after the exhale for 4. Repeat this at least 5 times or until you feel calmer.
3. Create better habits: In addition to sitting, poor posture and ergonomics are also detrimental to our health. Yoga offers tools for greater self-awareness. The more aware we are of our body, the easier it is to change the way we sit and move, creating better habits. Focus on one area of your posture throughout the day by setting reminders in your phone or leaving notes at your workspace until it becomes a habit.
About the Author
Caitlin Parsons, RDH, C-IAYT, is an experienced dental hygienist, a chronic pain survivor, and a certified yoga therapist. Parsons is the founder of Caitlin Parsons Yoga Therapy, a yoga therapy and wellness company that offers programs for dental professionals.