At a stretch

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Photography: Dr Celso Cardona

Yoga is much more than just exercise for Dr Celso Cardona of Maven Dental in Sydney’s Inner West suburb of Burwood. 

“Many years ago, I signed up for a 10-day silent meditation retreat. When you meditate for nine hours a day, it can really hurt your body so I decided to do some yoga. I thought it was just stretching and rolling around on the floor but it was so much more. Over time, I began to appreciate the complexity and how deep you can go. I also realised yoga is not competitive, except with yourself. That made me love it very quickly.

“Yoga is amazing for your body. It’s the only form of exercise I’ve done for the past seven years. It’s also a great relaxation tool and a life philosophy. Yoga is considered to have eight different aspects that affect your life, body and mind. Movement is one part but there’s also meditation, breath work and tenets that are similar to the Christian Ten Commandments. Things such as kindness, truthfulness, non-stealing and contentment are all parts of yoga.

“Dentistry can be a stressful job and yoga is a great way to decompress after a busy day. My job also has me interacting with people constantly, but yoga is quiet. I visit a yoga studio with other people but there’s little talk and no social activity. It allows you to be alone with your thoughts.

“A lot of dentists suffer from bad backs and necks, but yoga has kept me pain-free. If I’m dealing with a long procedure, say six or seven hours, I’ll take a break, go to my room and do some yoga to centre myself and relax my body.

“Yoga is a form of exercise that is mindful. You must remain very present and pay attention to everything you’re doing. Sports such as running and soccer allow you to disconnect and think of other things. With yoga, you need to stay mentally engaged with the process.

“I’ve undertaken more than 500 hours of training in India, France and Australia to become a yoga teacher. I don’t teach because I simply don’t have time. Anyway, I love yoga too much to make it into a business. Learning how to teach allowed me to go deeper into the process and made me even more committed.

“I like the quietness of yoga. We live in such a noisy world, it’s difficult to find any quiet time. I have a team of 25 people across two different practices and it’s nice to have an opportunity to turn off the phone. That’s something I really like.” 

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