Trips to the dentist aren’t fun for anyone, but for many they can be sources of extreme anxiety and stress. Yogis are experienced with using asana and meditation to calm themselves down on a yoga mat, but how do you take the teachings of Kundalini Yoga off the mat and into the dentist’s chair?
Here are five simple tips for stress reduction during a visit to the dentist.
1. Listen to Relaxing Music
This is my number one strategy for managing anxiety and pain in the dental chair. Take noise canceling headphones and plug them into your ipod. Create a playlist ahead of time filled with relaxing music. My favorites for the dentist’s chair? Ashana’s The Illuminated Path or Snatam Kaur’s Liberation’s Door. The added bonus of listening to music is it drowns out the sound of the nasty drill.
2. Practice Segmented Breathing
Keeping your breathing steady tricks your body into relaxing even in an environment your mind may be saying is stressful. Although having your mouth open limits your pranayama options, you can easily keep your breathing segmented, that is divided into equal parts. Try inhaling for four seconds and exhaling for four seconds through the nose. After a few minutes, you will feel much more relaxed.
3. Use Conscious Relaxation of the Body
I sometimes listen to my own CD “Journey into Stillness” when I need to consciously relax my body in the dentist’s chair. Following along with my guided meditations, I remember to relax deeply in both body and mind.
4. Take Essential Oils with You
Often times during a procedure you’re left alone to let novocaine take effect or allow the doctor to pop in to see another patient. That’s a great time to pull out a bottle of essential oils and allow aromatherapy to trigger stress reductions chemicals to release from your brain.
Mudras activate energy meridians in the body and stimulate nerve endings in a positive way. Even a simple mudra like Gyan Mudra (touching the tips of your forefingers and your thumbs together) can relax you and calm your mind. You’ll be able to relax and go with the flow in a tangible way, and its more productive that griping an arm rest.
These are just 5 ways to use yoga and meditation to reduce stress on a trip to the dentist. What are you ways? Comment below!