Maintaining the health of your back and neck muscles are vital for a long and successful practice. Building good habits as a dental student is important in creating a good foundation for the years of practice to come. To help keep a healthy posture, I enjoy doing yoga after a long day in clinic. Here are seven simple yoga stretches to relieve tension and strengthen the muscles that keep your spine in proper alignment.
With your elbows close to your body, gently lift with your back and core.
The staple of all yoga poses is the downward dog. Press away from the floor with your hands and press your hips back. The goal is to have a straight spine and create an upside-down V. Don’t worry about trying to get your heel to touch the floor.
Extended triangle pose
Start with your feet about 4 feet apart, extend your arms and lean to one side, keeping your arms aligned and palms facing forward.
Start by sitting on your lower legs with your feet touching. Fold over to rest your head on the ground. Extend your arms out straight, pressing into your palms and relaxing your shoulders away from your neck.
Cat and cow pose
These two poses go together for a more complete stretch. For both poses, start on your hands and knees. Arch your back upward for the cat pose and downward with your head lifted for the cow pose.
This is a more advanced pose. Start by bending your legs towards your buttocks. Grab the outside of your ankles, one side at a time, and slowly lift your chest and legs.
With proper technique and practice, these poses will go a long way to helping you build a healthier lifestyle in and out of the clinic.
~Aimee Duong, Texas A&M ’21