Gardener’s Yoga

gardener’s yoga: Bend & Stretch, Dig & Grow written by Veronica D’Orazio and illustrated by Tim Foss, needs a convenient and prominent spot among those things that are part and parcel of your daily routine. It should become as important as your favorite tools, landscape design, and garden books. gardener’s yoga can help put yoga and its benefits into your daily routine.

Although I enthusiastically incorporate weekly massage into my life, a simplified yoga practice is comparatively new for me. I struggled with yoga classes several decades back but found them intense and the movements hard to incorporate into any form of daily to-do list. Then, two years ago, my masseuse began teaching yoga classes that integrated simple traditional poses with breathing exercises and stretches, which agree with me.

gardener’s yoga does much the same and shows us how to relax and stretch the muscles that gardeners use most. Twenty-one vinyasa style poses are illustrated and matched with the seven body parts that most often become uncomfortable and sometimes painful in a gardener’s life:

  1. back,
  2. knees,
  3. hips,
  4. legs,
  5. shoulders,
  6. neck, and
  7. chest.

This book also presents great ideas about integrating small bits and pieces of yoga into your garden labors. I visualize doing most of these poses while in the garden. D’Orazio effectively organizes garden work into three parts, each containing seven distinct postures:

  1. Breaking ground (beginning – warm up),
  2. Planting seeds (during – midway break), and
  3. Harvest time (ending work – restore and unwind).

For those who would rather do all or part of their yoga practice indoors, D’Orazio offers some appealing mix and match ideas for bringing the garden into the house:

  1. Choose a clutter-free place with no distractions;
  2. Light candles to foster a tranquil environment;
  3. Position cut herbs (rosemary, lavender) in a small container for fragrance;
  4. Use fresh garden flowers for focus and meditation; or
  5. Sparingly use your favorite essential oils or flower fragrances for a refreshing environment.

Veronica D’Orazio, a certified yoga instructor and floral designer, knows of what she writes. She previously kept her yoga practice distinct from gardening and was among many gardeners who “forget their bodies” while working outdoors. An episode of severe back pain changed this dichotomony and led to writing this book.

Tim Foss complements D’Orazio’s writing by imparting a mostly watercolor floral backdrop to his technically correct yoga pose illustrations. He also gardens and practices yoga.

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