As seen in Natural Awakenings Magazine August 2016

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Gardening is Like Yoga!

Gardening helps keep people active and improves their sense of well being. The art of gardening has also been linked with reduced rates of depression, better balance and less stress and anxiety. Sounds a lot like the benefits of yoga! I recently visited a tranquil lavender garden in Doylestown, Pa with a group of garden enthusiasts. Thanks to Noble Garden Tours, Highlands(ask for Kirsty), we were all treated to a delicious day of learning all things lavender at the Lavender Peace Farm on the banks of Galena Lake in beautiful Bucks county. Here’s what we learned:

1. Gardening, like yoga, keeps you in the present moment and allows you the opportunity to appreciate the movement of time. Gardening also allows you to contemplate all it takes to create a beautiful garden or a purposeful life, alongside the seasons of our lives that bring about growth, both inward and outward.

2. Lavender, gardening and yoga are all informing therapies for natural healing. When faced with heartbreak, illness or uncertainty, many people retreat outside to lose themselves and their issues in the garden by digging, weeding and pruning. Gardening is therapeutic. Lavender has been recommended for ages as a stress buster. In the Middle Ages, monks gathered medicinal plants in healing gardens to source their infirmaries. A yoga practice supports healing by embracing stillness, peace and a broadened perception of what life can be. It’s all connected.

3. Lavender is not just for sweet smelling sachets, dried arrangements or calming yoga eye pillows. Fresh or dried, this herb is known to delight in savory dishes like salads and stews or sprinkled on meat and fish. The key, we learned in the lavender fields, is to let the dash of lavender in your dishes keep you coming back for more. We were grateful for the opportunity to taste this theory in lavender ice cream, lavender scones and lavender breads after our tour. Less left us wanting more for sure!

4. Lavender is harvested in its high season of June and July. Lavender thrives in well drained sandy soil and requires lots of sunshine. Munstead is a popular type of lavender that produces deep blue flowers on a compact plant while hybrid Hidcote Giant grows up to 40 inches tall with impressive purple spikes. Herb gardens have a long history of combining practicality with beauty. You can pick your own at Peace Valley Lavender Farm for a song and a sight to behold. Learn more at PeaceValleyLavender.com.

A recent study published in the Journal of Urban Forestry and Urban Greening(2016) found that gardening benefitted all people equally, regardless of gender or age. The key component of enjoying the garden was the depth of the relationship with the garden. People who got the most from their garden felt a real resonance with their garden. They reported a deep connection and commitment to cultivating their gardens based on their interest in all things living and growing(minus the weeds!). So plant what you love, visit a gorgeous garden, breathe deeply wherever you land and try something new this summer. Namaste

DonnaLyn Giegerich MBA CIC RYT is an integrated business thoughtleader, conference keynoter and executive coach. In the summer, she hosts Yoga On The Lake in the great outdoors and is currently a Rutgers Master Gardener Intern. Learn more at www.donnalyn.org or FB/YogaOnTheLakeSummerSeries