Instead of Ah…..say Ommmmmmm……

From the Yoga of Dentistry – unknown author

My annual dental cleaning was this morning, and while reclining in the dental chair, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the language of teaching yoga and the eight elements of a Kripalu yoga class.

After warmly greeting me, the dental hygienist proceeded to ask if there were any changes from my last visit, explain what would happen this morning, and ask if I would like to get a full set of negatives taken. (This is a yearly discussion,and I usually say “no thank you”.)

Centering (which can include Pranayama)
Following an invitation to sit in the dental chair, I settled into the recliner, took off my glasses, relaxed my hands on my belly, and breathed a natural, comfortable breath.

Pranayama (breathing techniques)
I maintained my natural, comfortable breath throughout the session, interrupting it only for some bursts of laughter. (Believe me, as a kid I never laughed while at the dentist‘s office!) 

Pratapana (warm ups)
My mouth underwent a few warm ups of scraping and rinsing, scraping and rinsing, in preparation for the actual cleaning. Each movement was explained by the hygienist with a “water” or “turn your head towards me” or “rinse” or “applying air” – always using succinct and direct language.

Asana Inquiry (the poses)
The Cleaning Pose was rather easy to do because the warms ups prepared my mouth for what was to come next.

After hearing that my mouth was in excellent condition (yippee!), I had several moments to relax while the hygienist went off to find the dentist and bring him back for his portion of the check up.

Having known my dentist for 25 years (as the father of one of our older son’s friends), and having had him care for my teeth for that same time frame, this end-of-visit conversation is always peppered with catching up and sharing news.

A quick thanks to the hygienist, with a chat about next year’s appointment, and then off I went with my dental goodie bag. 

It seems to me that the intense immersion of 12 days at Kripalu has worn off on me in ways I would hardly have anticipated! This is the first time ever that the idea of yoga popped into my head while at the dentist! 


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