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What do yoga and dentistry have in common? Practice!

Oct. 29, 2013

Yoga and dentistry combine surprisingly well to keep dental professionals limber and patients calm

Practicing dentistry since 1991 and yoga since 1998, Dr. David Hennington, a member of the Eco Dentistry Association (EDA), became certified as a yoga instructor and now teaches yoga classes at the Green Dentistry Conference. After a great response from conference attendees, and recognizing the benefits of his own yoga practice, Dr. Hennington created a webinar series. “Yoga Flow for the Dental Pro” is designed specifically for the dental professional. The webinar is now live and available on the EDA website. Special CE announcement: Yoga flow for the dental pro!

On a friend’s recommendation, Dr. Hennington began walking to a nearby yoga class with his wife in 1998. He sought physical activity, and his wife sought alleviation from some physical pain. Mrs. Hennington found relief and went on to become a certified yoga instructor, and she’s been teaching since 2004. Finding the physical activity he was looking for, Dr. Hennington continued to practice yoga as well. As a solo dental practitioner, he recognized the many physical and mental benefits that yoga provided.

“Dentistry in particular leads to musculoskeletal issues,” he said. “Yoga has helped me to avoid the onset of issues that were starting for me. I’m also able to stay calmer in stressful situations, and I have an increased awareness of the present moment.”

Dr. Hennington followed in his wife’s footsteps and became a certified yoga instructor. He has now been teaching for more than a year.

“In the dental community, we spend most of our day hunched over mouths, computers, etc.,” he said. “I’ve found that yoga really does help to counteract and balance those positions we put ourselves in, day in and day out.” Yoga in the news: How yoga changes your body, starting the day you begin

Dr. Hennington set out to share those benefits with the dental community. “I was already a member of the EDA and had gone to their conference,” he said. “I wanted to teach a class to dental professionals and thought it might be well received there.”

He was right. His yoga course was the highest rated course of the first Green Dentistry Conference.

“I think a lot of people are a little intimidated at the thought of trying a yoga class. At the conference though, everybody has something in common as dental professionals,” he said.

Apparently there are benefits in yoga for dental patients as well. Many people suffer from some level of anxiety associated with their regular dental office visit.

Dr. Hennington says, “For patients who are anxious about a particular part of a procedure, I’ll lead them through a simple breathing exercise to bring awareness to the present moment in the chair. It is definitely beneficial, no doubt about it."

“Yoga’s physical benefits can be used therapeutically or preventively to avoid the onset of common symptoms,” he added. He plans to continue teaching yoga classes at the Green Dentistry Conference, and “to find other ways of bringing an awareness of yoga’s many benefits to the dental community.”

The 2014 conference will again be held at Robert Redford’s eco-friendly Sundance Resort in Utah, October 16-18. Visit the EDA website to learn more.

Dr. Fred Pockrass, co-founder of the EDA, is a long-time yoga practitioner himself. He studied yoga and meditation in India for 10 years. He adds that, "The advantage of downloading Dr. Hennington’s webinar through the EDA is that you can take the sequence at your own pace, and re-watch the instructions in the privacy of your home. Dental professionals who complete the yoga webinar can earn one continuing education credit through the EDA."
Other articles by Lerin Madole:
Dental hygienist of 22 years starts company that provides care to U.S. National Guard
First-ever National Brush Day-November 1, 2013