Yoga has been a part of my life for years, and as a result I’ve tried a lot of different styles and techniques. But if you’re like me, you’re constantly looking for new things to try out to keep your practice fresh and interesting. So, here are a few of my favorite yoga poses that you can do in the garden or in front of a cozy fire.
Yoga is a type of exercise that when practiced regularly can reduce stress, improve flexibility, and help improve sleep quality. However, there are many yoga poses that are not specifically designed for gardeners, and can be dangerous for gardeners. Some gardeners may also be interested in yoga for weight loss and other health benefits, and some may even want to move beyond yoga and into meditation.
Yoga is a popular fitness trend these days, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only one that’s been around for centuries. You don’t have to practice it to know you’ve come across something that’s been around for a long time. The ancient practice of yoga is much more than just a modern workout. It also offers many health benefits.
Gardening is something I look forward to every spring: planting new flowers and shrubs and watching the greens and colors emerge from their slumber to celebrate the sunshine and warm weather. But gardening always has a downside: Back and knee pain afterwards.
So when I first weeded and removed winter growth this year, it occurred to me that I knew a really good way to avoid that pain. Yeah, yoga.
Reconciling carpet with real life
How often do we actually remember the alignment exercises we do on the yoga mat and transfer them to real life situations? This is clearly one of those times when it’s good to remember everything you learn.
As I pulled away the old vines and cut the grass, I became aware of how I was moving my body to reach down, around, and forward, and I realized it was rounding my back and not supporting my knees and core at all.
Not surprisingly, I had to do some yoga afterward. So I thought, why not do yoga while I garden? After revisiting my body movements, I discovered that there are a few yoga poses that are really good for my back, knees and neck while pulling weeds, not my muscles.
Here are some poses to try the next time you’re in the garden.
1. Bend forward on spread legs (Prasarita Padottanasana)
Place the feet shoulder-width apart and keep the abdomen in uddiyana bandha. Lengthen your spine, keep your shoulder blades tight, lean forward at the hips and keep your knees flexible to protect your knees and back.
This position is ideal for creating stability while pruning or weeding for a few minutes at a time, but a straight back is essential here to avoid pain.
2. Front half fold (Ardha Uttanasana)
In this position, keep your feet hip-width apart. And as in Prasarita Padottanasana, straighten the spine, keep the shoulder blades together, bend forward at the hips and keep the knees soft to protect the knees and back.
This posture is recommended only for short periods of time – no longer than 30 seconds. If you want to linger longer, take Prasarita Padottanasana.
3. Crouch (Malasana)
This is an excellent pose for releasing tension in the lower back, and also an excellent counter pose to Prasarita Padottanasana and Ardha Uttanasana. However, if you have problems with your knees, it is better to avoid this position.
To perform this exercise while gardening, position your feet so that the heels do not touch the ground. By keeping your spine straight and your shoulder blades back, you prevent pain when you’re in a bad posture – just like you learned in yoga class!
4. Heroic pose (Virasana)
As with Malasana, avoid this pose if you have problems with your knees. If you have sensitive knees, an old blanket or a folded yoga mat also provides good support for your knees.
Message: If you have to bend over in this posture to cut the weeds, make sure you keep your back straight – again, uddiyana bandha is very helpful.
5. Sideways lying posture (Uttaita Parsvakonasana)
This exercise is ideal for stretching the legs, back and sides of the body and for stretching the arms while staying low. The key is to place your bottom hand on the inside of your leg to not only prevent your bent knee from collapsing, but also to provide more stability as you reach forward to pick the stubborn dandelion.
6. Laying down the crescent moon (Ardha Chandrasana)
Do you need to bend down to pick weeds, but prefer not to step on a bed of Pachysandra? Practice balance, make sure you stretch properly and avoid crushing the flowers.
Start by spreading the hips and bending the feet forward in Uttanasana, then bring both arms slightly forward. Lift one leg parallel to the ground, then grab a blade of grass with your hand on the same side. Try opening your thigh sideways for an expressive pose.
Then bring your arms back, lower your top leg and roll into a standing position.
The more you are aware of your yoga practice off the mat, the better you will be able to take care of your body with proper posture and alignment in any situation. All you have to do is remember your practice.
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