I took my first yoga class 10 years ago at a tiny gym called Body Bizz. I can’t remember which pose it was, but I will never forget the serenity I felt as my body released the pose and every muscle in my body relaxed. I have been devoted to yoga ever since.
Besides helping me gain more flexibility, balance, and strength; Yoga has given me the ability to quiet my mind. I am the true definition of a worry wart. I have also been called a passionate person, which has its perks, but when angry I have a hard time letting it go. I am one of those who “wears their heart on their sleeve” causing me to be sometimes overly sensitive and not so good at hiding it. The only two things that have ever made me just stop and be is yoga and gardening.
An article I found in Yoga Journal written by Kelle Walsh explains it perfectly how yoga and gardening are interconnected.
“Planting a seed, nurturing its growth, and experiencing its beautiful expression in full bloom is not unlike the yogic process of setting an intention, nurturing one’s practice, and, finally, experiencing the Self as an individual expression of the creative life force. ‘Gardening, like yoga, pulls us into that relationship of being connected to all things,” says Veronica D’Orazio, a yoga teacher in Seattle and the author of Gardener’s Yoga. “People garden for that timeless connection.'” (“Yoga Practice Outdoors” by Kelle Walsh)
I can recall many times being in the garden weeding then suddenly stopping to watch a bird or closing my eyes listening as the wind blows across my face. I become present. I am here in the now, which is the same feeling I experience on the yoga mat.
A few years later I would discover an even more amazing experience…practicing yoga in the garden. The house we rented before we bought our current home had a beautiful garden and a large deck where I placed containers. On a cool Fall morning, free of mosquitoes, I decided to bring my practice outdoors for a change of venue. Usually I listen to music, but nature was my music that day. I had never felt more in-tuned with the universe. Yoga and the garden seemed to be the perfect combination.
Unfortunately my new house does not have a deck and it’s also not the garden I want it to be just yet. When I’m in my back yard, all I can usually think about is what needs to be done. Not exactly a great space for relaxing. However, I have had the opportunity to practice outdoors at the Reflections Yoga Retreats I’ve attended in Beulah. The connection I felt before was present once again.
Recently I have found another way yoga and gardening should be linked together. Every true gardener is familiar with the aches and pains gardening will bring you after a day of digging, weeding, and lifting mulch, compost, fertilizer, etc. We tend to get in the zone and extremely focused on what we are trying to accomplish in one day. If I am really intent on getting an area weed-free by dark I will hold off eating lunch until my blood sugar is really low and I’m shaking nearing starvation. I have also been known to stay in the same position (leaning over pulling weeds) for long periods of time. This ends up hurting my back, hands, and legs all that night and the next day.
Years ago I began to have issues with my sciatica from hauling large amounts of soil around campus while working at the college. The pain was almost unbearable. I turned to yoga and did many “bridge” poses to help alleviate the pain. I began to stretch more often after working all day. It made a tremendous difference.
After coming across an article published in Organic Gardening about yoga poses for the gardener I realized that I needed to not only stretch after working, but that I need to take breaks while working. So the other day I actually stopped weeding for a few minutes every hour or so to stretch my legs. Being the overly achieving gardener I am I just took on another chore, cutting back my perennials, but it mostly requires standing. 🙂
Eventually I hope to have a deck where I will have my own yoga area including a fountain. This will also be where I will meditate, which is also another great way to still the mind. Meditating outside is absolutely wonderful and I think everyone should give it a try.
I did some searching on the internet about yoga and gardening and found a couple great books I can’t wait to read! Below is their front covers:
The second book isn’t really about yoga, but still looks really interesting.
I think every gardener should practice yoga. For one, our bodies are screaming for it! Also, the love of being connected with nature is already present within us, so feeling that connection through yoga is something I think every gardener would enjoy.