6 Best Yoga Poses For Gardeners

This short sequence can help offset some of the soreness and stiffness associated with tending to garden beds.

September 22, 2015
gardener stretching
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There's almost nothing as gratifying as growing your own organic food in your backyard—that's about as local as it gets! And though gardening helps us get out and exercise while providing fresh, healthy produce, and/or beautiful flowers for pollinators, the constant pulling, pushing, and lifting motions involved with it can leave us feeling a bit stiff and out of alignment. For relief, we turned to senior-certified Iyengar yoga instructor Rebecca Lerner, codirector of the Center for Well Being in Lemont, Pennsylvania, to suggest some poses everyday gardeners could practice to rejuvenate after a day of weeding, mulching, hoeing, digging, and pruning. 

Related: The Acupressure Point Every Gardener Needs To Know

You can practice any or all of these poses in your garden and even use garden staples and trees in your yard to assist in a better stretch. 

reclining hand-to-big-toe
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Reclining Hand-To-Big-Toe Pose (Supta Padangusthasana)

PHOTOGRAPH BY BETH BISCHOFF

Lie down on your back, legs extended. Lift your right knee in toward your chest, and place a yoga strap (we suggest one like this) around the ball of the right foot. With the ends of the strap in both hands, begin to straight the knee and extend the leg upward with a slight bend in the knee. Hold the position for 30 seconds or less if that is not comfortable. Repeat and switch to the other leg.

upward salute
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Upward Salute (Urdhva Hastasana)

PHOTOGRAPH BY MITCH MANDEL

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.

downward dog
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Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

PHOTOGRAPH BY HILMAR HILMAR

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.

 

camel pose
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Modified Camel Pose (Ustrasana)

PHOTOGRAPH BY THOMAS MACDONALD

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.

garland pose
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Garland Pose (Malasana)

PHOTOGRAPH BY BETH BISCHOFF

Stand with your feet somewhat wider than your hips, heals pointing slightly inward. Come into a squat. If your heals don't touch the ground, widen your feet a little more, or simply work on stretching the heals downward. Bring your arms into Prayer Position, and press your elbows against the inside of your knees. Reach your chest upward, and keep the neck neutral. Hold for a few breaths. To come out of the pose, bend forward, place your hands on the ground, and stand up.

wide legged forward bend
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Wide Legged Forward Bend (Prasarita Padottanasana)

PHOTOGRAPH BY HILMAR HILMAR

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.

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