8 Best Yoga Poses For Gardeners

Easy poses to offset some of the soreness and stiffness associated with gardening.

June 6, 2017
yoga for gardeners
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There's almost nothing as gratifying as eating the fruits of your gardening labors—but fresh produce isn't the only reward to come out of working in the garden. Gardening is also a great way to stay fit and healthy by sneaking some exercise into your weekly routine. Of course, the downside is that 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 yoga instructor Rebecca Lerner, codirector of the Iyengar Yoga Institute of Central Pennsylvania in Lemont, PA, to suggest some poses everyday gardeners could practice to rejuvenate after a day of weeding, mulching, hoeing, digging, and pruning. Here are eight chosen specifically to soothe gardeners' sore spots. 

(Whether you're starting your first garden or switching to organic, Rodale’s Basic Organic Gardening has all the answers and advice you need—get your copy today!) 

yoga for gardeners
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Reclining hand-to-big-toe pose (supta padangusthasana)

Lie down on your back, legs extended. Lift your right knee in toward your chest, and place a yoga strap 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.

Related: 5 Surprising Ways Gardening Benefits Your Health

yoga for gardeners
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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.

yoga for gardeners
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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.

Related: The Extraordinary Health Benefits Of Barefoot Gardening

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.


yoga for gardeners
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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.

Related: 5 Yoga Poses That Can Improve Your Digestion

yoga for gardeners
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Garland pose (malasana)

Stand with your feet somewhat wider than your hips, heels pointing slightly inward. Come into a squat. If your heels don't touch the ground, widen your feet a little more, or simply work on stretching the heels 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.

yoga for gardeners
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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.

Related: 5 Stretches To Ease Your Lower Back Pain

yoga for gardeners
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Cat/cow (marjaiasana/bitilasana)

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.

yoga for gardeners
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Seated forward bend (paschimottanasana)

Sit up tall, or with your back straight against a wall, and stretch your legs in front of you with your feet together. Lean forward and reach for your shins, ankles, or feet, keeping your legs as straight as possible. You can use a band or belt to help you stretch. Hold for 30 seconds, then release.

Related: I Did Yoga Every Day For A Month And This Is What Happened