Yoga off Your Mat – The Chakras as a Path to the Garden | Source Yoga
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Yoga off Your Mat – The Chakras as a Path to the Garden

Image credit: Anna Thurston

March 2021

I always delight when I hear about Source Yoga community members taking their yoga off their mat. It’s really why we are doing this, isn’t it? Not to have a “better” Warrior 2, not really to be more flexible, not to be a perfect meditator, but to let the teachings of yoga infuse our life and make a real difference day to day. We practice to keep learning – about ourselves, about the nature of life, about the world around us. 

Recently, student Anna Thurston, Master Gardener, shared with us something she had created, tying the 7 Chakras (Energetic centers within our body) to her time in the garden. Read about her exploration below!

Do you have some way your practice has come alive in your life? A story, a piece of artwork, some meditative knitting? Some healthful recipes that you have been loving? A favorite meditation spot, a favorite mindful walk you have been taking?

Share them with us, we would love to share an image or some of your stories on our social media pages. Please send your idea/images to us at [email protected] We would love to see how you are caring for yourself and bringing your yoga off the mat. 

With Care, 

Erin Joosse

 

Enjoy what Anna has put together in her garden! 

 

The Chakras as a Path to the Garden

An exploration of beneficial garden activities
while looking through a chakra-layered lens.

Chakra energies are a subtle form of interaction with the surrounding world.  Most yogic traditions refer to seven chakra nodes along the spinal column of the human body.  Each node radiates energy coursing through our bodies in response to what is going on in and around us.  This garden meditation considers how the chakras might metaphorically guide how we manage our energy and landscape resources while increasing our awareness of how Nature’s systems sustain us in seasonal and annual cycles.  Those resources are both external (like water and fertilizer), and internal, (sensing our gardens while applying the heart, soul and muscular efforts needed to maintain them).

In addition to the bounty that any garden offers, freedom… from weeding and unnecessary work,
as well as after-hours discomfort, are motivators toward chakra-minded garden efforts.  Especially as we age, we’re likely motivated towards maximizing growth while preserving body strength, balance and coordination.  How might we give to a process that provides food, flowers, shade and shelter?  Landscapes offer gifts that sooth souls, heal hearts, all while increasing the aesthetic and function of our outdoor rooms, plus the value of our real estate.  How might we participate in the building of a beautiful and useful garden without creating bodily regrets, or possibly garden over/under growth?  How might we further our work with the various flows of Nature?  The following chart explores the chakra metaphors of garden activities.

Chakra (associated color) Bodily location and related outlook(1) Garden Possibilities
1. Muldahara (red) Feet, legs, root of the spine
Embodies the right to exist
Building organic soils, the most important invitation for growth
2. Svadhishthana (orange) Sacral region of the pelvis and loins
Creative potential lives here
Garden planning and observing niches; right plants, right places
3. Manipura (yellow) Navel chakra, Solar Plexus
Personal expression flourishes here
Supporting Nature’s energies; adapting limits – creating assets
4. Anahata (green) Heart chakra
The axis of lower and upper chakras
Developing a discipline of timely effort; inviting reciprocity
5. Vishuddha (blue) Throat chakra
The voice of our spirit and personality
Blooms, fruits, birds and bugs;   all are songs of Nature’s services
6. Ajna or Agya (indigo) Third Eye – Brow – A brain node that strengthens with conscious uses Resting in seasonal sights, sounds, fragrances; interactions with self, others and with Nature
7. Sahasrara (white) Crown of the head
How we create community
How our gardens contribute to the world around us

Metaphorically, the first chakra in the garden is where rooting happens.  First chakra health (whether soul- or soil-building) is elemental to all the chakra work that follows.  We cannot build a great garden, no matter how good our plans are, if we have not first considered the necessary and supportive interactions between plants with soil, available sun, and water in each, and every, corner of our landscape.  Soil building requires a cyclical commitment of time and physical effort, but the return from these efforts becomes increasingly evident and easier in a “grounded” garden.  It’s a discipline that, like others, frequently, gets easier each time we do it while gaining strength and skill.  By layering organic composts and then mulches onto the soil (as does Nature) we encourage existing biota within the rootzone to feed and protect plantings, the same way gut biotics help us digest the foods that we have eaten.

Faith engages the second chakra element of any garden.  How amazing to see how a simple seed transform into a towering tree or other fruiting growth form.  If the second chakra were blocked by fear or indecision, imagine seedlings if they were afraid of growing, or came up willy-nilly…  We can transform our fears into faith by building on the strength of the first chakra.  Like an emerging toddler, let us invite exploration through curiosity and observation that informs or garden planning.  When we observe (or learn from what others have observed), we place plants where they will have the room to become what they are meant to be.  We avoid placing plants and/or lawns where the meeting of their needs will always be a challenge.  We want our plants to flourish and be what they have evolved to be.

Third chakra gardening is found by understanding and then emulating Nature.  When we work with what is given, our acceptance of perceived constraints translates into assets.  The muddy hollow where water was collecting becomes a water feature that hosts lush-leaf plantings and draws the birds in.  The exposed slope becomes a place where sun or windswept plantings provide a kaleidoscope of seasonal colors.  Maybe there are spots to invite the growing of breakfast lunch and dinner…  A landscape always offers opportunities for us to observe and accommodate Nature’s given variations.  Time needed for one’s garden is another consideration to plan around, creating only the amount of effort that we have available.

The heart (chakra) of any garden is what we end up doing in the rooms that we’ve created.  This might look like how we have framed (or concealed) the views that draw us out there.  One room I’ve always loved regardless of the time of day or season of the year, is a view into my neighbor’s forest garden.  When children are in my garden, they too feel beckoned to explore, but clearly see the edges of their play space.  There’s usually something special in every “outdoor room” that grounds my reason to go into the garden, and/or stay there, whether art or a comforting sitting place for friends and family.

When a garden sings in every season we gain understanding of the sixth, throat chakra.  This is when we find ourselves just standing spellbound in the garden, meditating on buds and leaves in every season.  Even in the seeming dead of winter, we can witness buds building, maybe a few intrepid flowers, all juxtaposed upon a backdrop of color and texture that is heightened by the chilly weather.  Spring or fall do not need to be a garden’s only show-times.  Let us begin again at the second chakra of our co-creation.

The seventh garden chakra comes home when we manifest Nature’s wisdom both in our efforts and beyond the boundaries of our gardens.  Although our personal landscapes have edges, the environment still thrives beyond them.  How does our garden reflect both our spirit and our affection for the planet with all the beings that dwell upon it?  Where we arrive at our own door and make way for Nature in the garden, we foster the benefits of it’s unending and supportive cycling of water, sun and soil-building nutrients.  Life is sated less with the biggest, bestest or showiest, but more by the community that lives with and around us.

 

Plants and plantscapes are a passion I’ve lived with forever. Training in horticulture and design support my affinity for all of Nature (as noted with a capital ‘N’).  This affords an ability to see rooms in a garden where you might not have thought one was possible.  I look forward to exploring opportunities that support client objectives in an old/new world that is asking each of us to make healthy life choices.  May we all be well in a very dynamic era…

 Anna Thurston

 

To learn more about Anna’s magic in the garden and her garden consulting, email her: [email protected]

 

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