Garden of Life

I often refer to gardening this time of year, as to me it is such a perfect illustration of our daily life and yoga practice.
I have a small garden at home that I started a few years ago. I am not the greatest gardener, so much of what I know has been learned through trial and error. I’ve added things to the garden that I didn’t have the right soil for, watered too much, watered too little, not enough sun, too much sun and so on. One time I selected beautiful flowers to plant one afternoon, only to find them gone the next morning. Snails.
Snails had completely devoured them all during the night.
And then there have been the flowers that bloom one year, don’t come back the next, but the following year show up again!
Flowers that I have expected to come back, but don’t.
I have had things bloom that I don’t even remember planting.
My point is that we plant a lot of seeds. In our garden, in our lives, and on the mat during practice. But they don’t always turn out the way we expect them to. Like my garden, some seeds that we plant do not have the proper nourishment to grow, or they take longer to bloom.
And sometimes, they do not at all.
But then there are the beautiful unexpected blossoms, from seeds we either forgot about or never realized we even planted.
Gardening takes patience. So does life and our asana practice on the mat.
When we begin to explore certain poses, they don’t always bloom right away. Some poses take much longer; with more deliberate tending to the foundation of them. While other poses that we never entertained the idea of before, we suddenly find ourselves expressing them in a beautiful and easeful way.
This is a perfect time of year to reflect upon the seeds we have planted over the years. To give thought to what might need more nourishment to grow, what might need more time, and what we might have wanted, but is not right for the soil we have.
Nature has a wisdom that in some ways escapes us. It knows proper timing and what is needed to grow just right. It knows how to grow again after devastating loss from drought, fire, or flood. The colored blankets of wildflowers over the hillsides tell us so.
Our bodies have this same wisdom. With proper care and patience, it knows how to grow and expand its movements in healthy ways. This is the purpose of asana practice – to create stability, flexibility, strength, and stamina to support the growth of the seeds we plant on the mat and in our life.
“Though I do not believe that a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed. Convince me that you have a seed, and I am prepared to expect wonders.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
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