As I mentioned in a prior post, I do Bikram Yoga. Not just any Yoga mind you, but Bikram Yoga.
For the uninitiated Bikram Yoga is carried out in a room heated to 105F degrees and 40% humidity. There are various reasons for the heat including, protection of the muscles for deeper stretching, thinning of the blood to clear the circulatory system and to increase the heart rate for a better cardiovascular workout.
Every class is the same. We spend ninety minutes performing twenty six postures and two breathing exercises. There are no advanced classes…all classes are for beginners, hence we get to practice forever.
Generally, sixty three year old males don’t bend very well. I was never able to touch my toes. It can be very intimidating doing Yoga with twenty-something year old women who can bend themselves into pretzels, but I heard about the medical benefits of Yoga and I wanted that. So I practice Yoga.
One of my teachers, Leo, gets very philosophical in his lively repartee.
One morning as I tried to do a backward bend called Supta Virasana or the fixed firm pose, I felt as if my back would snap.
Leo said something that really helped. He said you will do this pose over a thousand times and during those thousand attempts it will be 99% effort and 1% technique.
Then he said, one day, after so much practice it will reverse…1% effort and 99% technique.
Many months later I was doing the fixed firm when I went back as far as I could, and without pain, I fell right into the posture, just as Leo promised.
All practice is like that. I remember placing my first implant, doing my first filling in dental school, giving my first injection. The real question is why we have so much trouble practicing the soft skills of presentation.
Communication skills, interviewing skills, trust-building and storytelling are all skills that can be learned when we apply consistent effort. The mythology of every culture tells stories of people who worked hard to master knowledge and skills.
Science has shown the law of 10,000 hours that has been written about by Malcolm Gladwell in his popular book The Outliers.
Dentistry is a practice like any other. Through time there is no skill we cannot master. Most dentists understand this for the technical but give up way too soon with the behavioral.