While not everyone in America is a dedicated yogi, most want to be. I’m a relatively new yogi, just a few years in and this year has been my more dedicated year—practicing on a weekly or multi-weekly basis. Practicing has been an amazing experience that I wish I had picked up years earlier. However, the cool thing about yoga/meditation is that it encourages a “be here now” mindset (so worry not past me, you did your best.)
Yoga has changed the way I experience the world. Truly. I’ve always been a very calm and quiet person. Yoga has built on that by creating in me a quiet mind. I have an even deeper level of patience, particularly when it comes to long-term planning. I see things more clearly, deal with situations more calmly, and experience moments more genuinely. I worry far less and don't feel the need to control every situation I’m presented with.
So how does all of that zen translate to the garden? How does it not. At the nucleus of every garden endeavor is patience. After patience comes humility. After humility comes endurance, and finally acceptance. All of these things can be better achieved with a mind that is quiet, accepting, ready, and aware.
Instead of a state of despair when the seeds don’t sprout for the 90th attempt at sowing, I take it as an opportunity to learn, adjust, and adapt. That’s a much nicer state than panicking as the summer solstice approaches and winter starts winking at me. I look not at what’s happening in the garden this very second, but what it’s doing as a whole. Now, later, next year. I started our garden with the most challenging of plans I could have possible devised. I started everything from seed and worked a garden bed up from a plot that hadn’t been touched in several years. Riddled with crab grass and gravel, I had my work cut out for me. This challenge, has been incredibly intriguing. I’m finding myself addicted to the daily “WTF is that” and in love with my very childlike and zen state of mind. (FYI, I didn’t curse as a child.) You can’t garden without the ability to shrug shit off. The whole process is stacked against you. If your seeds sprout, great. Move ‘em outside? Probably going to get one of the many issues off of the long list of plant ailments, such as: transplant shock, rot, invasive pests, waterlog, stem snap from the wind, drought, or just crap out for no explainable reason. And it’s not a “oh just get past this one thing and everything will be fine” kind of deal. No, no, my dear, it goes on all season, right up until you pull of the last rewarding piece of produce. So yeah, you want to garden? Yoga first. Get your mind right. Get your bod right. And you’ll find that is insanely rewarding, and addicting, and beautiful.
In addition to the mental serenity it grants, it’s also very physically rewarding. Going into my third decade here on planet earth, I gotta say, I look and feel far better than I did in my early twenties. I’m busting into this new decade like a fit and ready bad-ass. I’ve been vegetarian since I was about 10 years old, so it’s a natural fit that yoga would accompany my already plant-based lifestyle.
The next time you’re out in the garden, pissed off as hell at the aphids chewing up your leaves, take a deep breath, focus into something beautiful, and look back again. I bet you’ll see those aphids a lot differently than before.