Merging the power of yoga with dental hygiene for the ultimate tooth brushing exercise!
It can be very powerful to bring two habits together as it brings twice the likely hood you will do one or both, especially when they each make the other more practical and of longer duration / better quality.
This is a quick practice I love to implement to help me both with balance (physical and mental) foot, ankle, knee, and core strength while also getting me to brush my teeth with more conscious effort and time.
I really hope you enjoy this practice and give it a try yourself!
Before we get into the practice I want to mention that this is not a full oral hygiene plan, rather a overview of the Dental Hygiene Yoga set that I strive to do daily. I will have another upcoming post / video specifically on the Ultimate Oral Hygiene Routine!!
For this practice you will want some space to practice, a mirror, loose fitting clothes / less is better, a tooth brush + water / tooth paste / tooth soap and some floss or a water flosser /pick.
Lets get into it! 🙂
To start we will moisten our toothbrushes and add the tooth soap/paste and get ready to move into tree pose on one side while brushing the teeth on the upper part of our mouth for about 60+ seconds.
Benefits of Tree Tooth Brushing Pose
Tree Pose stretches the thighs, groins, torso, and shoulders. It builds strength in the ankles and calves, and tones the abdominal muscles all while cleaning and strengthening the teeth. The pose also helps to remedy flat feet and is therapeutic for sciatica.
Most notably, though, Tree Tooth Brushing Pose improves your sense of balance and coordination. Regular practice will improve your focus and your ability to concentrate in all areas of your life, particularly during those times when you might normally feel “off-balance.” This pose has a positive impact on the grace and ease with which you approach all circumstances, even outside of your yoga class. It teaches the benefits of a meditative state of mind, and is a gentle reminder that you can bring calm focus and clear-headedness to all situations, not just when you are practicing a seated meditation.
- Begin standing in Mountain Pose (Tadasana), with your arms at your sides and your tooth brush in your dominant hand. Distribute your weight evenly across both feet, grounding down equally through your inner ankles, outer ankles, big toes, and baby toes.
- Shift your weight to your left foot. Bend your right knee, then reach down and clasp your right inner ankle. Use your hand to draw your right foot alongside your inner left thigh. Do not rest your foot against your knee, only above or below it. Adjust your position so the center of your pelvis is directly over your left foot. Then, adjust your hips so your right hip and left hip are aligned.
- Rest your hands on your hips and lengthen your tailbone toward the floor. Then slowly bring the toothbrush to your mouth with your dominant hand and start to brush the upper palate. Your other hand can rest on your heart center or be used as a balance if needed.
- Fix your gaze gently on one unmoving point in front of you.
- Draw down through your left foot. Press your right foot into your left thigh, while pressing your thigh equally against your foot.
- Inhale as you extend your free arm overhead, reaching your fingertips to the sky. Rotate your palm inward. If your shoulders are more flexible, you can roll your shoulder blades back to open your chest.
- Hold for up to one minute while thourally brushing the upper portion of your teeth. To release the pose, step back into Mountain Pose. Repeat for the same amount of time on the opposite side.
Modifications & Variations
Practicing Tree tooth brushing Pose can be a great way to gain balance, grace, and poise while helping keep those teeth white and cavity free — for beginners and advanced students. Try these simple changes to adapt the pose to your current abilities:
- If you are unable to bring your foot to your thigh, rest your foot alongside your calf muscle or the ankle of your standing leg, instead. Rest the toes of your raised foot on the floor if you need extra assistance balancing.
- If you are very unsteady, try practicing the pose with your back against a wall for extra support. Alternatively, you can place a chair next to the standing-leg side of your body and rest your hand on the back of the chair for extra support.
- For a greater challenge close your eyes. Practice balancing without using the outside world for reference.
In order to fully gain the meditative benefits of Tree Tooth Brushing Pose, it’s important to stay grounded and calm in the pose, while still maintaining alignment. Here are a couple of tips to help you stand up as tall as a tree:
- Take your time. As with any balancing pose, it’s often easier to come into the pose slowly and with awareness. If you enter the pose quickly, you are more likely to lose your balance, which makes it more difficult to re-gain your balance once it’s been lost.
- Mountain Pose (Tadasana) provides the structural foundation for Tree Pose.
- Work the pose from the ground up. Balance your weight entirely across your standing foot — across the inner and outer ankles, big toe and baby toe. Then, bring your awareness to the shin, calf, and thigh of your standing leg. Find alignment in your hips, tailbone, pelvis, and belly; and then in your collarbones, shoulder blades, arms, and neck. Extend the pose through the crown of your head. When you are ready, you can then raise your arms overhead.
- Never rest the foot of your raised leg directly on your knee or at the side of your knee joint!
- To help with balancing, bring your awareness to the center line of your body — the vertical line that runs directly through the center of your head, neck, and torso.
- brush slowly and deliberately slightly angling toward the gum line using both small circles and up and down strokes. (more on this in the next video on the Ultimate Oral Hygiene Routine)
- Although regular practice of Tree Tooth Brushing Pose will tone the abdominal muscles, weaker abdominal muscles can make it difficult to balance. Add extra core-strengthening work into your practice to help with balancing (and with the rest of your standing poses!). Some examples of core-toning poses are Boat Pose (Navasana) and Plank Pose (Kumbhakasana).
Repeat the Tree Tooth Brushing Pose on the other foot while brushing your lower palate. If desired try switching your hands to developed more dexterity and skill with your less dominant hand. About 30 seconds through the pose switch back to your dominant hand to make sure you do a great job brushing the bottom teeth.
Some other options if you are very comfortable with tree pose includes carefully moving your foot into half lotus, this is only recommended if you are familiar with half lotus and proficient with tree Tooth Brushing pose.
Be sure to move through the same steps as show above for getting into Tree Pose.
With the half lotus variation slowly bring your foot all the way up into half lotus, pushing the knee outward to the side to help open up the hips. You may wish to stand beside a table or against the wall to get used to the balance.
You have two options from here, grasping the foot directly in front of you or taking a bind behind the back if you are quite flexible.
Once you are done with 60+ seconds of tree tooth brushing pose on each foot taking care of both the upper and lower palate / teeth you are ready for chair tongue brushing pose.
In this Oral Hygiene practice we will utilize chair pose while we brush our tongue and the roof of our mouth, aka Chair Tongue Brushing Pose. You may take 15 – 60 seconds to do so increasing the time as you practice.
Benefits of Chair Tongue Brushing Pose
Chair tongue brushing pose strengthens the thighs and ankles, while toning the shoulders, butt, hips, back while cleaning the mouth and helping with bad breath. It stretches the Achilles tendons and shins, and is known to be therapeutic for flat feet and keeping those you love close to you. Chair tongue brushing pose also stretches the shoulders and opens the chest while reliving a foul mouth. It tones your digestive organs and heart. Holding this pose for several breaths increases the heart rate, stimulating the circulatory and metabolic systems. It builds a lot of heat in the body, and fast!
Practicing Chair tongue brushing pose builds endurance and stamina, while toning the nervous system.
- Begin in Mountain Pose (Tadasana). Stand with your feet together, with your big toes touching and your brush in your dominant hand. Beginners can stand with their feet hip-distance apart.
- Inhale and raise your less dominant arm above your head, perpendicular to the floor, using your dominant hand start to brush your tongue and all over the inside of your mouth.
- Exhale as you bend your knees, bringing your thighs as parallel to the floor as they can get. Your knees will project out slightly over your feet and your torso will form approximately a right angle over your thighs.
- Draw your shoulder blades into your upper back ribs as you reach your elbows back towards your ears. Do not puff your ribcage forward. Draw your tailbone down to the floor, keeping your lower back long.
- Bring your hips down even lower and lift through your heart. There will be a slight bend in your upper back.
- Shift your weight into your heels. Enough weight — approximately 80 percent — should be transferred to your heels so that you could lift your toes off the mat if you wanted to.
- Keep your breath smooth, even, and deep. If your breath becomes shallow or strained, back off a bit in the pose until breathing becomes easier. Try not to gargle too much…
- Spread your shoulder blades apart. Spin your pinky fingers toward each other so your palms face each other, rotating your arms outward through your thumbs.
- Gaze directly forward. For a deeper pose, tilt your head slightly and gaze at a point between your hands.
- Hold for 15 seconds or up to one minute. Then, inhale as you straighten your legs, lifting through your arms. Exhale and release back to mountain pose.
Modifications & Variations
Chair tongue brushing pose can be an excellent full-body strengthener when practiced correctly. It can take some time to build up enough strength to hold the pose for more than a breath or two. Take it slowly and be careful not to over-stress your knees or shoulders. To deepen or lighten the pose, try these simple changes to find a variation that works best for you:
- If you’re having trouble balancing, stand with your feet hip-distance apart. Work toward standing with your feet together and thighs firmly pressing each other.
- Women who are pregnant should stand with their feet as far apart as necessary for balance.
- If you have more shoulder flexibility, press your palms together overhead.
- If your arms are not yet strong enough to maintain an overhead hold, extend your arm forward at shoulder-height instead. Reach directly forward through your fingertips. Practice this way until you can straighten your arms and extend each of them overhead in sequence.
- It can be challenging to bring weight into the heels at first. To help learn this weight distribution, practice the pose near a wall. Stand with your back a few inches away from the wall. As you bend into the pose, your tailbone should be only slightly supported by the wall.
- For a deeper challenge, lift onto the balls of your feet with your knees bent. Extend your arms straight forward and sit your butt even lower toward your heels.
- To increase your thigh strength and body awareness in the pose, squeeze a yoga block between your upper thighs.
Chair tongue brushing pose can build a lot of strength and stamina throughout the body when it’s done with correct alignment as well as help with foul breath. Keep the following information in mind when practicing this pose:
- Maintain a slight arch in your back.
- Squeeze your thighs as close together as possible.
- Bring your thighs as parallel to the floor as possible.
- Draw your chest back and up, instead of reaching your torso forward.
- Keep your weight in your heels. Shifting the weight forward can over-stress your knees and fatigue you quickly.
- Don’t be afraid to add extra tooth soap / paste to your brush before you begin
- Remember to breathe smoothly and evenly throughout the pose! Your heart rate will increase, but if your breath becomes strained, ease up until you can breathe deeply again.
Once you have brushed your tongue and roof of your mouth in Chair Tongue Brushing Pose it is time to get your dental floss or your water flosser for the last few poses.
I personally simply stand on one foot with my opposite foot out about 1.5 – 2 feet to practice doing manuals (balancing on one truck or side of the board) on a skateboard aka “Manual Flossing Pose”.
When in Manual Flossing Pose I spread my toes, pull the arch up on my foot and keep my head to the sky engaging my buttocks and core while also bringing my shoulder blades back and my shoulders relaxed.
Some other more True Dental Hygiene Yoga variations include Standing Flossing Leg Raise, Hand to Big Toe Water Flossing Pose as well as Eagle Flossing Pose.
Benefits of Standing Hand to Big Toe Flossing Pose
Hand to Big Toe Flossing Pose strengthens and stretches the legs and ankles while removing any debris from between the teeth. It deeply stretches the hamstrings (the back thigh muscles), while gently opening the hips, shoulders, and arms and protecting against cavities. This pose challenges and improves your sense of balance, which in turn develops greater concentration and focus.
- Begin standing in Mountain Pose (Tadasana) with your feet together and arms at your sides. Breathe deeply and draw your awareness to the present moment. Let your mind be calm.
- Shift your weight to your left foot. Very slowly, draw your right knee up toward your chest. Bring your right arm to the inside of your right thigh. Then loop your index and middle fingers around your right foot’s big toe. Use your left hand (and vice versa) to use your water flosser… If you are using dental floss stretch your leg straight forward (Standing Flossing Leg Raise Pose) and use both hands to floss first your upper and then when you switch legs your lower teeth.
- Straighten your spine. Strongly engage your abdominal muscles and the muscles of your left leg. Straighten your left leg, but do not lock your knee.
- On an exhalation, extend your right leg forward. Straighten your right leg as much as possible.
- Keep both hips squared forward and keep your spine straight. Do not scrunch your neck or shoulders; keep them soft and relaxed.
- Drop your right hip slightly so it is in line with your left hip. Bring your awareness to your midline — the line that runs directly down the center of your body.
- Hold for 5-20 breaths or as long as it takes to floss your upper palate. To release, draw your knee back into your chest, then slowly lower your foot to the floor. Come back to Mountain Pose. Then repeat on the opposite side for the same amount of time flossing your lower palate.
Modifications & Variations
Both Standing Flossing Leg Raise, Hand to Big Toe Water Flossing Pose is a deep stretch when practiced in correct alignment. If you have tight hamstrings, this pose may seem impossible and unrealistic! But with patience and dedication, your flexibility will improve. Just remember to take it slowly and never force the pose. Try these simple changes to find a variation of the pose that works for you:
- If you cannot reach the toes of your raised leg, practice Standing Knee Hug until you have gained more flexibility.
- If you cannot straighten your lifted leg while keeping your spine straight, try using a strap instead of your fingers. Wrap a yoga strap around the ball of your foot. Hold the strap in your same-side hand and then straighten your leg.
- To support the lifted leg as you gain strength and flexibility, rest your raised foot along the top edge of a chair, table, or ballet barre. You can also press the raised foot against a wall.
- To deepen the pose, fold your torso forward toward your lifted leg.
- For a greater challenge, try holding up your extended leg without your hand
Come into the full version of the pose.
- Release the clasp on your toes and rest both hands on your hips.
- Keep lifting your extended leg.
- Hold for up to 10 breaths, then slowly release your foot to the floor.
- For a deeper hip and thigh stretch, perform Standing Hand to Big Toe Pose B (Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana B) by reaching your extended leg out to the side while still holding your big toe.
Standing Hand to Big Toe Pose will challenge your muscles and your mind! Keep the following information in mind when practicing this pose:
- It’s more important to keep your spine straight and your shoulders relaxed than it is to straighten your lifted leg. You can keep your lifted leg bent, or use a strap if you need to, but be sure your spine stays tall and upright throughout the pose.
- Be sure to use a strap and make any other adjustments you need to ensure that you’re not pushing yourself too hard in this pose. Be patient. You will gain flexibility in time.
- Keep the knee and foot of your standing leg facing directly forward.
- Focus on the stretch, not on the lift! It doesn’t matter how high your leg goes if you don’t have correct alignment. Work toward maintaining an equal balance of energy and effort in both legs.
- Take it slowly and don’t be afraid to fall! If you do fall, simply get back into the pose and try again.
Another option while flossing / water flossing is Eagle Flossing Pose
Benefits of Eagle Flossing Pose
Eagle Flossing Pose stretches the shoulders and upper back while strengthening the thighs, hips, ankles, calves while removing any debris from between the teeth. It builds balance, calm focus, and concentration and helps diminish the chance of cavities between the teeth.
This pose is therapeutic for those with lower back pain and sciatica as well as painful gums. Because it opens the back lungs, it also increases breathing capacity and is invigorating for those with asthma. The dynamic balancing aspect of the pose helps to protect your knees against future injury, as well.
- Begin standing in Mountain Pose (Tadasana), with your arms at your sides.
- Bend your knees. Balance on your right foot and cross your left thigh over your right. Fix your gaze at a point in front of you. Hook the top of your left foot behind your right calf. Balance for one breath.
- Beginners can omit the foot hook and cross the leg over the top of the standing leg, instead, resting the toes gently on the floor.
- Extend your arms straight in front of your body and begin to floss or use the water flosser to spray the water between your teeth.
- Square your hips and chest to the front wall. Draw your belly in and up.
- Gaze forward at a stationary object while you floss / water floss. Breathe smoothly and evenly.
- Hold for up to one minute, focusing on your breath and keeping your gaze fixed and soft. Gently unwind your arms and legs and return to mountain pose. Repeat on the opposite side.
Modifications & Variations
Eagle Flossing Pose can be a great way to gain balance and strength. It might take some time to balance while flossing / water flossing. Be sure to move at your own pace and never force your body into the pose! Try these simple changes to find a variation of the pose that works best for you:
- If you can’t yet hook your top foot behind your standing-leg calf, rest the big toe of your raised foot on the floor to help with balance. You can also rest your top-leg foot on a yoga block.
- Beginners and those having trouble balancing can practice this pose against a wall. Stand with your back to the wall, so the wall supports your back torso as you practice the pose.
Eagle Flossing Pose will create grace, poise, strength and great teeth when it’s practiced with correct alignment. Keep the following information in mind when performing this pose:
- Squeeze your thighs and arms together tightly. The more compact you can make your body, the more balance you will gain.
- Work to keep your hands engaged consciously flossing / water flossing.
- If you’re having trouble crossing your legs or wrapping your foot, sink your hips even lower in the pose.
- To sit deeper, squeeze your thighs together even more. Keep your inner thighs firmly pressing throughout the pose.
- Practice just the arms of the pose (generally referred to as “Eagle Arms”) throughout the day to counterbalance the shoulder and neck strain from sitting in front of a computer or driving!
– Extend your arms straight in front of your body. Drop your left arm under your right.
– Bend your elbows, and then raise your forearms perpendicular to the floor. Wrap your arms and hands, and press your palms together (or as close as you can get them). Lift your elbows and reach your fingertips toward the ceiling. Keep your shoulder blades pressing down your back, toward your waist.
– If your palms don’t touch yet, press the backs of your hands together, instead, or hold onto a strap
I really hope you enjoy this Yoga for Dental Hygiene also dubbed Oral Hygiene Yoga!!
It can really be a powerful practice and one that can improve your balance strength and coordination in many ways!!
Have fun with it, try different poses and mix it up!
Let me know what you think!
Wishing you Much