Can a dentist be a yogi?
I practice hot yoga three days per week. I have reaped the rewards. The word “yoga” means “to join” or “to yoke.” What gets joined is the body, mind and the spirit. First comes the body, then the mind, and then the spirit.
Physical, mental and emotional benefits. Harmony! Balance!
When the owner of my hot yoga studio, a yogini, came to see me, she was in acute pain.
She had been reluctant to see a dentist for years because she found it difficult to keep her mouth open for cleanings or x-rays.
But pain is the greatest motivator, and she could no longer avoid the inevitable. She was skeptical, but when I explained that the jaw followed the same principles of muscle physiology that governs the body, she agreed to having an occlusal splint made.
The occlusal splint, as most dentists know, quiets the major muscles of the face – like a perfectly executed Yoga posture.
Jess wore the splint.
When I showed up for my next Yoga class, she greeted me at the entrance with a huge smile on her face. She demonstrated that she was able to freely move her jaw painlessly, in all directions.
I pride myself in reading people’s emotions. That’s a skill dentists get good at over time.
I can read pain, I can read fear and I can read frustration. That is how Jess presented that first day.
On this day, I was reading pure joy...as if she were being let out of prison. As a matter of fact during our class she admitted to always feeling reluctant about going to the dentist because of the jaw pain.
I told her many people suffer from facial pain and headaches due to TMJ dysfunction – and even those who don’t have the acute symptoms, get relief of subclinical symptoms they never knew they had.
Just like Yoga.
Mild constant chronic pain can effect us mentally and emotionally. We tend to adapt to not feeling well. Since I began doing Yoga I have become pain free, I have more energy, and yes I am happier—the union of the body, mind and spirit.
People walk around with subclinical pain. They accept it as being normal and make life choices based on not feeling well. It’s amazing how pain relief can affect the mind.
So many people walk around with chronic pain, and accept it as part of their life.
Taking care of the body goes way beyond the cosmetic…it’s life changing in many ways.
With all of the emphasis these days on cosmetic dentistry…I still feel better about getting a yogini back to the mats than doing a big cosmetic case.