Just a little Farmhouse Zen...

Need a little zen? Grab a big pot and boil together the ordinary, the quirky, the simple, and the sweet. Reduce to a simmer and add a sprinkling of yoga and a dash of country charm. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Tree Pose and My Potted Herbs

I know that Spring is not officially here, but it's happening all over my kitchen table. Just as I did last year, I began growing my herbs indoors in container pots. I always start small - just a few herbs I use frequently - and then see where it takes me.

After spending years with plastic flowers and a lone shamrock plant, I discovered herb gardening quite on my own and I have to say that I don't really have a method or plan. I tend to toss things about and see what takes. I prefer what I like to call "natural" gardening - if it takes root, great, but if not...well, it wasn't really meant to be. This works for me, in part, because I don't really have the time for fussy gardening that requires a lot of attention, but mostly because I'm just wired this way. I mean, if you over think it, gardening is pretty overwhelming - I get really confused about things like acid-based soil compounds and temperature zones. For me, I simply try to balance sunlight, water, dirt, and a genuine love for what I'm doing while I'm doing it. The beauty of my "method" is that I am always amazed when something actually grows!

One of my favorite yoga poses is Tree Pose. As a teacher, I love to observe students as they approach this pose. Why? Because tree pose is about growth - and we don't all grow in the same way - and growth is about balance. And although the process of finding the right balance for each of us is different, the elements are generally the same: inner awareness (sunlight), energy (water), a strong sense of who we really are (dirt), and a genuine love for what we're doing while we're doing it. And since growth is such a balancing act, much like standing on one foot in Tree Pose, we're always a little amazed when it happens.

My basil has sprouted and my rosemary already smells wonderful. I even have a little bud on the one flower I planted! (I'm not much for planting flowers, but I purchased some heavenly soap from Pangea Organics - www.pangeaorganics.com. Each container is 100% biodegradable and contains seeds. Plant the container and the seeds will bloom!) Other pots are covered in plastic and percolating in my kitchen window. I check them constantly, waiting to see the first signs of little seedlings popping up through the soil.

Will my sage be strong this year? Will my mint be consumed by bugs once again? Will I be able to stay in Tree Pose for a full 10 breaths? Who knows! Growth doesn't come with a guarantee or timeline. It requires patience and strength. Sometimes, it even feels a little uncomfortable...like grit under your fingernails after potting plants. But with a little sunlight, water, dirt, and a genuine love for what I'm doing while I'm doing it it just might happen!

Tree Pose (Vrksasana):

Standing in Mountain Pose (Tadasana) with both feet firmly planted in the floor, inhale deeply and exhale slowly.

Maintaining a steady breath and a steady gaze, bend the left knee and lift the left foot off the floor. (Stretch the toes of the right foot into the floor and lengthen the right leg for balance.

Open the left knee away from your body placing the bottom of the left foot against the inside of the right leg. Don't sink into the right hip or allow the hip to twist open.

Inhale and lift the hands out to the side. If you feel steady, grow higher, breathing and lifting the hands all the way over head. If you feel strong, exhale and bring the palms together above the head.

Continue to hold the pose, inhaling and exhaling 5 to 10 times. Release slowly and repeat on the other leg.

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