Spending hours outside in the hot sun with your hands in the dirt? All that digging, planting, and weeding might mean that your shoulders, hips, and wrists need a little love.
That’s why we’ve created this series of six yoga poses for gardeners.
Move through this gentle, beginner-friendly sequence to unravel any lingering tension you might feel in your body or mind. You can practice via the pose descriptions below or via an on-demand recording from our virtual studio.
Hold each pose for 5-10 full breaths. As always, feel free to modify anything that doesn’t feel safe in your body today.
Most importantly, remember to be gentle with yourself — and don't take yourself (or your yoga practice) too seriously.
Uttanasana with Hands Clasped Behind Back
Unravel tense shoulders and gently stretch your hamstrings with this forward fold variation.
Start with your feet together. Fold forward and bend your knees as much as you need to to touch your chest to your thighs. Keep this contact as you reach behind you to clasp hands (or a strap) above your tailbone. Tuck your face against your legs below your knees. Keep your jaw soft. Hold 5-10 breaths.
Find a gentle self-massage for your wrists and fingers in this forward fold.
Release your arms and step your feet hip distance apart. Slide your hands under the soles of your feet, so the wrist creases align with your toes. Palms face up toward your feet. Bend your knees as much as you need to make this happen. Let your neck relax and your jaw get soft. Roll your weight slightly forward to deepen the stretch. Hold 5-10 breaths.
This deep yogi squat is great for grounding your energy and opening your hips.
Spread your feet as wide as your mat, turning your toes out and your heels in. Lower your hips into the variation of a squat that’s comfortable for your body today. You may want to sit on a block, or roll your mat up to pad your heels if they don’t touch the floor. Bring your palms to prayer if you’d like. Hold 5-10 breaths.
Virasana with Garudasana Arms
Hero Pose is a wonderful way to stretch your knees and ankles after long hours in the garden.
Sit on your knees and heels, or slide a block (or two!) under your hips to take pressure off your knees. If your knees are healthy and flexible, you may want to separate your feet and sit on the floor with your heels either side of your hips. If this is enough, stay here. To add the arm variation, grab a strap or towel in your right hand and reach it to the sky. Bend the elbow so your hand drops behind your neck. Reach your left hand down toward the floor and bend the elbow so that you can clasp the strap (or your fingers). Hold 5-10 breaths.
This grounding, comforting pose will slow your heart rate and settle your mind.
Sit on the floor and hug your knees to your chest, feet on the floor. Open your knees to either side and touch the soles of your feet together. Place your thumbs in the inner arches and fingers on the bony tops of your feet. Lengthen your spine and then fold forward with a tall spine. Hold 5-10 breaths.
Reclining Double Pigeon
Low back pain from hunching forward as you plant or weed? This pose has you covered.
Lie on your back and place your feet flat on the floor, hip distance apart. Your middle fingers should just barely touch the heel. Lift the right leg and place the right ankle on top of the left thigh, so the knee falls open to the right. Reach your right hand between your legs and lace fingers with the left on your shin or behind the hamstring. (You can also use a strap.) Flex both feet as you inhale, and use the exhale to draw your left knee in toward your chest. Keep your low back pressing down into the floor, and your face soft. Hold 5-10 breaths.
Guest post by studio BE Vice President Rachel Meyer
Rachel Meyer is an American writer and yoga teacher based in Switzerland. She draws from her roots in musical theater, theology, and the arts to teach a wholehearted, vigorous vinyasa. Rachel teaches at B.Yoga Basel and the Braswell Arts Center and serves as Vice President of Business Development (Europe) for studio BE. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, On Being, Yoga Journal, Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, Yoga International, Parents, HuffPost, and more. Prior to moving to Basel, Rachel taught for a decade in premier studios in San Francisco, CA; Portland, OR; and Boston, MA.
Learn more at www.rachelmeyeryoga.com or on social media @rachelmeyeryoga.
Feature photo by luismolinero/Adobe Stock