Salt Flat Tree Pose, CC Flickr upload by donireewalker
8 ways that yoga is like gardening
It’s warming up in Melbourne, where I live, and I’ve been spending more time in my garden.
Mostly, I’ve been weeding. It’s amazing how, left for the Winter, those little buggers flourish into entire ecosystems.
Gardening, especially the weeding part, reminds me so much of yoga.
Just think of the similarities:
- There’s a lot of squatting.
- Often, you hold a position way past your comfort, and you learn stuff about yourself there.
- If you don’t use your core, you are screwed.
- It takes time. Often more time than you expect.
- It takes patience.
- There are daily changes, but they are often so small you don’t notice them. It’s by looking back & comparing that you see the real progress.
- Both yoga and gardening require focus, but a soft focus, the kind that gets you into the ‘zone’.
- Like bad habits(which we call samskaras in yoga), you can pull weeds out by tugging at the leafy bits, but those root systems stay underground and just come right back up once the circumstances suit them again.
I often think that our instant gratification culture hasn’t done us any favours. We’ve forgotten that the important stuff takes time, gotten disconnected from the cycles of nature and ourselves.
For the last few years, I’ve been going through one of those cycles: dusk (endings), darkness (mourning), dawn (new beginnings) and daylight.
It took more than a day though. The process, based in my yoga practice, was a lot like gardening that way.
I had to pull up a LOT of weeds. And, just when I thought they were gone, I’d find a hidden root system flourishing away in some recess of my mind.
I squatted a lot, because it made me feel physically strong, and that physical strength gave me emotional strength. Also, it seems to be the prescribed position for pulling up weeds. What is UP with that?
For a long time, it looked like nothing was happening.
But it was.
So much awesome (and scary) change.
Just like a garden, those changes never stop.
I’ve discovered that, since change and growth are going to happen no matter what, it’s REALLY USEFUL to have a system for dealing with them.
For flourishing, whether it’s dark in your life or sunny.
These are the things that really help me:
- Eating well
- Getting enough rest
- Getting support from the right people
- Asking the right questions (this is a biggie – it’s basically about identifying the weeds and pulling them out)
- Understanding the cycles of change and finding language to express what I’m going through
In fact, these things help me, and my yoga students, so much that I’ve put together a course to share them!
Light Up Your Life, is a brand new 4 week e-course that I’m offering in 2013 to help you have your best year ever by cutting through the emotional B.S., getting strong & comfortable with your body, and learning the art of radical self-acceptance. I hope you will join me if these sounds like things you need to have the best year of your life!
Yoga gave Nadine Fawell a safe way to feel her body. She grew up in an abusive home and this made her quite certain that being able to feel her body would be dangerous. And then there was the over-analyzing. Man, when you get stuck in your own head, it’s amazing the sh*t you can come up with… Through yoga, she’s channeled this unfortunate tendency into something useful: Svadhyaya, or self-reflection-without-judgement. It’s helped her reframe her relationship with the world.
There’s something really powerful about yoga. It can remind us that we are ONE, body mind and soul, not just a bunch of different bits for different occasions. Nadine is passionate about sharing this transformative experience: empowering others to find their inner strength and sovereignty. Sometimes, people call her a yoga shaman. She likes that, it means she’s done her job properly.
You can find out more about her, and her signature Light Up Your Life Program at her website Yoga with Nadine.
Or Nadine Falwell on Facebook: