Calling all green thumbs! Do you think about lifting techniques when you garden? Protecting your spine is critical in every season of your life. Yoga can be very useful for gardening.

Dawn Cox, physical therapist, created a fabulous resource highlighting proper body mechanics to use while shopping at your local gardening supply store.

Warm up with yoga before gardening

Proper body mechanics don’t end at the store. Before you begin weeding, planting, or watering, spend 5–10 minutes on a gentle yoga warm-up.

Move the spine in all directions: Cat/Cow, Child’s Pose, Thread the Needle, and Sphinx. Spend time in the pose that your body needs the most. Be sure to warm up your hands and forearms by circling the wrists in both directions.

Dustienne Miller in cat pose

Cat pose gives you a stretch into spinal flexion.

Dustienne Miller in cow pose

Cow pose offers a stretch into spinal extension.

Thread the Needle

Thread the Needle pose will prepare the spine for rotation movements like weeding.

Sphinx pose

Sphinx offers a gentle backbend to offset the forward flexion often involved in gardening.

Take a break from gardening

Take frequent breaks while weeding and practice standing chest openers:

  • Option 1: Start in Mountain Pose. Clasp your hands together behind your back. Gently lift your hands towards the sky. Stay here for 5 breaths.
  • Option 2: Place your hands at the small of your low back. Lift your breast bone up towards the sky, trying to bend from the upper back. Return to Mountain Pose then repeat 8 times.
  • Option 3: Head rolls: Inhale, bring your right ear towards your right shoulder. Exhale here. Inhale, bring your chin towards your chest. Exhale here. Inhale, bring your left ear towards your left shoulder. Exhale here. Go from side to side 4 times.
  • Option 4: Shoulder rolls: Inhale, bring your shoulders forward and up towards your ears. Exhale, bring your shoulders back and down. Repeat 8 times.

Once you finish your work for the day, treat yourself to 5–10 minutes in Restorative Fish pose. Your thoracic spine will extend, your chest wall will release, and your body will thank you for taking such great care of it.

Restorative fish pose is a good way to relax after gardening

Restorative fish pose is a good way to relax after gardening.

Flower Garden” photo by Ai Amo, Flickr