Gardening Asanas

Yoga Poses to Stay Pain-Free




Subbotina Anna/Shutterstock.com

Gardening is good for body and soul, but long hours and repetitive movements can negatively impact even the fittest body. While stiffness and pain patterns might manifest in the lower back, shoulders, legs and hands, performing a few yoga poses can lessen pain, increase flexibility, boost stamina and prevent injury.

“Every action needs a counter action for structural balance to be maintained. Repetitive movements can tighten fascia, restrict movement and compromise nerve impulses,” explains Asheville, North Carolina, yoga teacher and back care specialist Lillah Schwartz, author of Healing Our Backs with Yoga: An Essential Guide to Back Pain Relief. “What goes into spasm tends to remain in spasm,” observes Schwartz, who has helped many people overcome back pain and other chronic structural issues.

Practicing yoga before, during or after spending time outside also promotes mind-body awareness which helps us tune into our body’s natural rhythms and prevent physical problems in the first place. Here are some basics to consider when working in the garden.

Be Aware

Great agility and strong muscles cannot compensate for being in one position too long, over-reaching or fatigue. “Listen to your body’s messages such as, ‘It’s time for a rest,’ or, ‘That’s too heavy,’” recommends Schwartz. Remember to take regular breaks to rest, stretch and drink water.

Strike a Pose

Doing yoga regularly will condition the body, but incorporating asanas, or poses, while gardening can be both a fun and practical way to avoid overstressing certain muscle groups and keep the spine and hamstrings supple. Using props in the garden environment such as fences, a wall or a chair can provide convenient support.

Feel free to perform all poses before or after gardening, and all except numbers one and five in the garden.

photos by Michelle Van Sandt


1. Downward Facing Dog pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana) with feet placed against a support

2. Warrior 1 pose (Virabhadrasana I)

Yoga Poses

3. Straddle Forward Fold pose (Prasarita Padottanasana)

4. Standing Scissor Twist (Parivrtta Hasta Padasana) standing close to and bracing against a wall or fence

Yoga Poses

5. Locust pose (Salabhasana)

6. Squat Pull Spinal Traction (Ardha Malasana in traction)

Take a Breath

“Conscious breathing involves both the body and the mind. Long, slow inhalations and exhalations help us tune into our body,” says Schwartz. “Using long breaths when stretching in the garden can help muscles find relief.”

To reduce pain:

• Stop and breathe. Take slow, deep breaths with a pause (inhalation retention) between inhalation and exhalation.

• Don’t resist the pain or allow self-judgment.

• Wait for a release.

Enjoy Being Outside

Bringing mindfulness to garden work not only helps prevent injury, but helps make it a more enjoyable experience. Here are a few more tips.

• If rising early, begin time in the garden with a Warrior 1 pose while facing east.

• Be mindful of feeling the breeze when it brushes the skin and pause to breathe deeply.

• Notice the music of the birds or other pleasing sounds in the surrounding environment.

• Stop to drink some water and take pleasure in the garden’s beauty and bounty.


Marlaina Donato is a freelance writer, author and multimedia artist. Connect at MarlainaDonato.com.


This article appears in the April 2018 issue of Natural Awakenings.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Goat Yoga Adds a New Twist to an Ancient Practice

Philadelphia’s Water and Rock Studio, owned and operated by Japheth and Suzanne Brubaker since 2013, is currently the biggest provider of goat yoga in the area, receiving national media attention, recognition, awards and medals for what they do. “We love helping people and giving them an incredible experience,” says Suzanne.

Sharing is Caring at Philabundance

Philabundance, in operation since 1984, is the largest hunger relief organization in the Delaware Valley, with a mission to drive hunger from our communities today and end hunger forever. Philabundance serves 90,000 low-income people each week at risk of hunger, 30 percent of which are children and 16 percent are senior citizens. Other populations served include the working class, college students and single parents. Over the course of a year, Philabundance uses the services of approximately 16,000 volunteers to help their neighbors in need through a variety of volunteer opportunities.

Aromatherapy Workshop at Holistic Health Suite & Cafe

Holistic Health Suite & Café will host an aromatherapy workshop from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., September 15, to introduce participants to the basics of aromatherapy and using essential oils safely and effectively.

Healthy Hair Comes Naturally at SL8 Hair Lounge

SL8 Hair Lounge, a new full-service eco-friendly salon in the beautiful Chestnut Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia, offer the Wella Innocence color line for ingredient-conscious clients.

Meditate at The Common Room

he Common Room is opening a meditation lounge located downstairs from the gallery at 1509 North Front Street, in Philadelphia

Add your comment: