These yoga poses can provide welcome relief for gardeners who may have overdone it a bit in the garden!
Besides yoga, gardening is probably my favorite thing in the world! Spending time outdoors in the fresh air and sunshine, digging in the dirt, watching plants grow and thrive and provide vegetables and fruit for my dinner table is just about the most rewarding thing ever. But boy, can it make me sore!
Fortunately, yoga can provide some relief from the stiffness and soreness that all of the intensive garden activities like carrying heavy watering cans, lifting, crouching, and weed-pulling can cause.
These poses are great to do every day, and will help ease tight muscles, and stretch areas left sore by hours of weeding, mulching, digging, and other gardening activities.
Upward salute (urdhva hastasana)
Stand up straight, arms overhead, palms facing forward. Keeping your arms extended, gently bend to the right on an exhalation, inhale to center, and then exhale to the left.
What it Does: This one stretches tight muscles between and around the ribs, which can often get misaligned due to repetitive bending and lifting activities such as weeding and digging.
Downward facing dog (adho mukha svanasana)
This classic yoga pose will help open your shoulders and chest and the backs of your legs while strengthening your upper body. For people with stiffer joints, try using a bench for support.
To assume the pose, bend at the waist so your hands are flat on the ground or on a support. Your hands should be 6 to 12 inches apart. Keep your knees bent, about hip-width apart, and let your heels lift off the ground. Slowly start to straighten your knees—but don’t lock them. Gently begin to move your upper body in toward your thighs until your ears are in line with your upper arms. Keep your hips up (don’t let them sag) and at the same time push strongly into your hands. Lift your sit bones toward the sky so that your body makes an inverted V.
What it Does: Downward-Facing Dog is an excellent basic yoga pose for everyone, but gardeners especially can benefit from the full-body stretch, plus the strengthening effects in the upper back and shoulders, which are used intensively when gardening.
Modified camel pose (ustrasana)
This backbend can be a bit tricky for a tight-backed beginner, but a gardener can experience a beneficial stretch by performing just the first stage of the pose. Kneel in the grass, keeping your back straight, making sure your knees are directly beneath your hips. Keep your hips, knees, shoulders, and ears all in line. Then place the palms of your hands on the small of your back or just below your buttocks. As you inhale, inflate your chest and feel your breastbone rise, floating the ribcage up and off the waist.
What it Does: This pose stretches out the abdominal and chest region, which often get tight due to the repeated lifting and twisting motions used in digging and carrying heavy objects, and releases tight muscles in the shoulders, neck, and upper back.
Wide legged forward bend (prasarita padottanasana)
Spread your legs wide, feet parallel. Bend at the hips, and bring hands to the ground, blocks, or seat of a chair without rounding the back. Hold the pose for 30 seconds.
What it Does: This is a wonderful stretch for the leg and hamstrings – mine are always aching after hours of crouching next to garden beds weeding, mulching, and planting!
Begin on your hands and knees, with your shoulders directly over your wrists and hips over your knees. Inhale and slowly arch your back (cat), lifting your chest away from your belly and extending your tailbone upward. As you exhale, round your back (cow), gently contracting your belly.
What it Does: This classic stretch is wonderful for stretching both the back and front of the body, and realigning your spine. It’s my go-to for back pain of any kind, and also provides a nice stretch for the shoulders as well as some gentle toning benefits for the tummy.
Find more yoga poses for gardeners at RodalesOrganicLife.com…