The wind was howling, the snow lay on the ground. I tried to imagine my garden. How did I ever do it? Dig, fertilize, plant, lug the wheelbarrow. The concept felt almost alien, even as February melted into March and I saw pansies starting to dot people’s yards. Then it happened. A beautiful Saturday. My frozen body put on the gloves, pulled out the wheelbarrow, tipped over the composter. I was in movement, and like riding a bicycle, my body knew what to do. Sort of. As I shoveled, gleefully spraying dirt all over my clothes and my cats, I felt something in my back. Riiiiight. I’m not 25 anymore. It isn’t exactly like riding a bike. There is a bit of re-learning – you no longer just bend over and haul the dirt.
First the breath. Remembering that my arms begin with my back. Sensing my dan-tien (the core) as I bend my knees. Enlisting the support of the thighs, exhaling. Ah, Feldenkrais in the garden: slower, easier, more pleasurable.
Before you dive into the dirt take a moment. Sense your feet connecting with the earth. Allow your knees to be soft as you pull out your tools. Engage your thighs as you begin to work. Take breaks. Exhale. You’ll get more done in less time, with less work, when you place your attention on yourself as well as your task. Your harvest will be vitality as well as a bounty of veggies. And when you need a break you can always just lie down and do a Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement lesson. Your body will thank you.