Yoga and Gardening.
Connecting to the earth, nurturing growth, creating beauty.
Digging, planting, weeding, hauling bags of soil, reaching, bending, mowing, raking, tying,. . . . . the unparalleled ecstasy and agony of gardening.
For many of us gardening is a pleasure. It can also be the cause of sore backs, creaky knees and stiff joints. If there is one common factor that results in gardening aches and pains it is Alignment – twisting, pulling and pushing, and bending all cause shifts in the body which can stress joints and strain muscles.
How can yoga help? Some gentle yoga poses can reduce or eliminate discomfort before, during and after your time in the garden.
Before you start working in the garden prepare your body:
- stretch your lower back (Apanasana) Knees towards chest, squeezing and rocking.
- create flexibility in your spine (Bitilasana) Cat-Cow pose
- stretch the inner thighs and open the hips. (Baddha Konasana) Tailer sit.
While gardening choose your stances carefully:
- when weeding try a wide leg forward bend (Prasarita Padottanasana) Remember to keep knees soft and back straight.
- when planting try a squat (Malasana) If your knees are good this is much better than leaning over. If your knees are cranky better to sit on a low stool.
- when heavy lifting, if you can’t delegate to a younger stronger person, face the load straight on, bend your knees and avoid the ‘lift and twist”
After you’re done, re-align and relax:
- gentle backbending to counteract all that forward bending.
- gentle forward bend to lengthen the spine (Yoga Mudra)
- realign the whole skeletal system with Legs Up the Wall (Viparata Karani)
And throughout your gardening session remember to breath slowly and deeply, smell the flowers, look around and enjoy the beauty you are creating..