Yoga with the dentist

So I’ve finally had my troublesome tooth taken out. It’s been grumbling for a long time and I consulted with various experts to see if it could be saved… Turns out not. So facing one of my greatest fears, I went for an extraction. The last time I had a tooth out it was agonising, an everyday benign form of torture. It ended up with the dentist yanking on the tooth with one hand while the other hand was pressed hard against my forehead… and all this without anaesthetic! Then a hospital visit to finish the job with the help of some serious painkilling drugs!

So it’s hard to put past behind us and confront the present as a fresh experience, without all the fears and expectations based on previous experiences. So much yoga teaches me in theory, but practising this in the dentist’s chair is quite another thing. I talked it through with the dentist who was calm and reassuring — before he got down to business. I’m sure he thought it was a bit weird that I asked to take my shoes off in the chair (somehow I feel more at ease these days without shoes) and during the experience I closed my eyes focusing on even breaths. Practical pranayama. Slow inhale, slow exhale.

And it was over before I knew it. Things are rarely as bad as you fear.

I went home with a comprehensive sheet of dos and don’ts. Rest at home, no work, no hot liquids, no strenuous activity or heaving lifting, advice for cleansing the extraction site. It all sounds rather dramatic — I only had a tooth out, not a limb amputated. But I’m taking the time to look after myself. And in truth, I do feel rather knocked about: I’m low on energy, not able to eat very well, and my body is aching from holding tension. It’s a day for well-cooled herbal teas, small snacks of soft food (it’s delivery day for my weekly veg box and I predict the Nutribullet will be called to action!) and later some gentle stretching out.

Back to work — and teaching — tomorrow.

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