Wellness

What I learned from trying yoga for the first time

Yoga pose

For me, ASDA’s Wellness Initiative came at a perfect time. The introduction of Wellness Challenges happened to coincided with my newfound desire to take better care of myself by eating well and exercising more regularly. I wanted to be as healthy as I could so that I could set a good example for my patients as a dentist.

The June Wellness Challenge encouraged participants to “take on a new physical challenge,” and the opportunity presented itself when I was invited to join two friends for a yoga class. I had always been interested in trying out yoga, so I excitedly joined them for the class, borrowed mat in hand.

Overall, my first yoga class was amazing: I struggled through several poses, but despite the difficulty, it was still such a fun and fulfilling experience. After that class, I immediately fell in love with yoga and not only bought a mat of my own, but also continued attending sessions. As I continued learning more about yoga, I also learned a lot about myself. The yoga classes I attended emphasized focusing on every breath, moving with purpose and practicing mindfulness as we went through our poses. Additionally, the technique and strength required for some of the poses provided me with a solid body-weight workout. Practicing the techniques helped build my strength, while the tranquility of extended resting poses, such as corpse pose, offered a respite to help me listen to my body through rest and reflection.

Practicing yoga has encouraged me to continue and build on the healthy habits I had started: exercising, eating well and overall self-care. Yet, the combination of strength training and guidance in mindfulness has also translated to applying the concept of mindfulness in other areas of my life. This summer, I had the opportunity to intern full-time for the federal government at the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington D.C. Here, I worked on developing oral health policy and dental public health programs. The introspective qualities that I developed through yoga helped me to effectively reflect on the past few days, re-center my focus and plan for what was next. In addition to bolstering my physical and emotional wellness, starting yoga has also helped me maintain a healthy work-life balance–a benefit that has only encouraged me to keep up with my new wellness habits.

I am proud to say that I was able to commit an hour every week to attend yoga class this summer. Going with my friends helped keep me accountable and together, we we were able to attend a variety of free classes and local yoga events held by non-profit organizations. After moving to Boston to start my first year of dental school, I’ve started to do yoga on my own. Recently, I have even been researching online and found a website that offers yoga training here. I would love to become a yoga teacher myself one day. My positive experience also inspired me to continue seeking new ways to stay active, and I’ve started to attend the Zumba classes offered at our school gym! I am so happy the ASDA June Wellness Challenge encouraged me to take on a new physical challenge and I couldn’t be more happy with the benefits that it has had on my self-care and wellness.

~ David Danesh, Harvard ’20

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September is Wellness Month! Dental school can be incredibly stressful. ASDA wants to ensure that all of our members have access to invaluable resources and an understanding of what to do when you’re not doing well.

Visit ASDAnet.org to find wellness activities at your chapter as well as webinars to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle while in dental school. Plus, check out our Instagram video contest and chapter step challenge.

#BeWellASDA

David Danesh

David Danesh, Harvard '20, is the ASDA editor-in-chief.

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