Wednesday, June 01, 2011

the yoga of gardening (with dogs)

digging holes is a good kind of yoga. i am conscious of my foot as it drives the blade of the shovel into the soft surface dirt. i scoop earth, i plant seeds. i bury my fears. i hope for the best. i redirect the dogs as they help me with my digging.

some roots pull back; this plant would like to stay. i close my eyes and plant my feet. i imagine that i too send roots into the center of the earth. i breathe in and tug. now release is effortless.

i rake the clippings. i switch sides, and think about not thinking. i look for the rhythm of removal. i breathe in and out. 

i practice patience as i scoop up the leaves.
i practice patience as i scoop up the leaves.
i practice patience as i scoop up the leaves, gathering in a kind of chair pose, i suppose.  

the dog steals a vine. he looks at me. 
happy downward dog. 
stop scooping. 
stop scooping and play.

there is the asana practice as i cut the lawn with our push mower. i synchronize my breath with each push of the mower. i stabilize my core and bring the mower back into my heart. i keep the lawn trim with a moving lunge of warrior poses. lawn warrior poses.

the dog drops her ball at the end of each freshly mowed lawn lane. we play a game of mow the lawn and fetch the ball. she wants to play on the lawn. this is what the lawn is for. playing. the vinyasa of lawn yoga is slow. i love the dog who loves her ball. i love the dog who loves me when i mow the lawn. she slows down my task, she draws out the meditation. remember to breath, stabilize, lunge, and contract. remember to stop and play.

i weed out unwanted plants, remembering that in someone else’s garden, in something else’s eco-system, this plant is not a weed. but now and here, this plant is choking the life out of everything else. i clear away that which is unproductive or unhealthy or unwelcome. i guard against diseased attachments. i make sure the soil is amended.

the yoga of gardening (with dogs) is, i suspect, an ancient practice.

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