Dr. Cascioli discovered yoga while a dental student at the University of Toronto in 2012. Her instructor not only challenged her physically, but also imparted knowledge of anatomy and physiology that helped her with her
“We were in a long distance relationship at the time, and Danielle convinced me to try yoga at a local CorePower Yoga in Chicago because I was mending an injury from boxing,” Dr. Pavel said. “I slowly began to fall in love with the practice.”
The couple have both since earned their teaching certifications in yoga. Since offering classes as the Dental Yogis, they say that younger dentists have been more receptive to the practice.
“Anyone of any age or background can benefit from movement and self reflection, and there are many styles of yoga that are suitable for each individual. For example heated Vinyasa is a more physically demanding high intensity practice, and Yin Yoga is a more meditative, slow-paced practice,” Dr. Pavel said.
Dr. Danielle Cascioli and Dr. Cristian Pavel practice dentistry about 10 miles apart in downtown Chicago, but something much deeper connects them. The couple, who have been together since before dental school, share a love for yoga, and they want to introduce the benefits of the ancient discipline to their colleagues in the profession.
“As dentists, we most commonly express our souls through our art and service to our communities,” Dr. Pavel said. “Practicing yoga helps to highlight these expressions in order to bring more joy and awareness onto every aspect of our profession. Having a deeper connection with yourself also allows for much richer connections with your patients, and an overall richer life experience.”
Drs. Cascioli and Pavel teach yoga and offer life coaching to other dental professionals through a practice called the Dental Yogis. They’ve developed a program that uses the principles of yoga and its physical, mental and spiritual disciplines to provide students “the freedom to create a transformation map towards the life of your dreams.”
“The inspiration came from the tremendous impact that yoga had on our lives,” Dr. Cascioli said. “In dental school, yoga helped relieve our stress, increase our energy, and enhance our ergonomic postures. After school, yoga helped us become more confident as clinicians and helped us connect to our patients more deeply.”
The key for anyone interested in learning the ancient practices of yoga, they agree, is curiosity. By approaching it with an open mind and an understanding that there won’t likely be an instant transformation, a person will have a much better chance for experiencing its many benefits.
“Like anything else, there is a learning curve, but everything of great value requires time and patience,” Dr. Cascioli said. “We like to say that anything worthwhile is worth doing poorly at first. To make the transition easier, we have developed an online coaching app for clinicians who are interested in holistic health and wellness.”
The app can be found on their website: www.dentalyogis.com
Dr. Cascioli is part of the team that practices at the Dental Loft, a group with offices in La Grange and in the Loop district. Dr. Pavel practices alongside his father, Dr. Ilie Pavel, at the Smile First Family Dental Studio in Chicago. The couple both draw upon their experiences with yoga to impress upon patients that taking care of their bodies through exercise and good nutrition will naturally enhance their oral health as well.
“As we all know, the mouth is the gateway to our body, and one’s oral health is usually reflective of their overall health,” Dr. Pavel said. “I have been fortunate to see many improvements in patients. My favorite example is a patient diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes who, after only six months of diet and yoga, no longer required Metformin or any treatment because his blood sugar levels were restored to normal.”