A body in motion is art, whether in the lyric expression of a ballerina, the speed of an Olympic runner, or the swing of a golf master. Or….the motion of a gardener? Not so much. At least we don’t think of it this way as we are after an end result not a glamorous process. Gardeners are like the crew of a stage production, the sometimes unsung heroes, yet our work is what makes the show go on. Yet from dancer to gardener, motion is great until something goes wrong to affect performance. Like injuries. Then it’s art needing A.R.T. And maybe a few other things.
I’m guessing many of you might have made resolutions for better health for the New Year, to take better care of yourselves, maybe in part so you can work more comfortably in the garden, to move in general with more ease and range. Every once in awhile I like to give a shout-out to some great folks who are doing great things to help us get and stay well.
First: The doctors at Dr. Mark Kemenosh and Associates–a first-class group of healers who practice a form of chiropractic care called “Active Release Technique.” I had a rough going with some carpal tunnel syndrome that started in March of last year; it bothered me in the garden and at the design table. Very uncomfortable and certainly limited my ability to stay to task. I’d says at this point it’s gone, due mostly to the A.R.T.. In addition to the treatments, I learned how to change my weeding technique: changing hands as much as possible; I also bought a tool with two ends–one like a v-shaped fork and one like a short spade. This loosens the weed in the soil so there isn’t so much pulling and twisting on the weed itself, taking strain off my right wrist. Made a huge difference. All the docs there–a total of five–have a unique understanding of the body in motion. They listen extremely well and flat-out have the most positive attitudes, the most enthusiasm of any group of medical professionals I have ever known. I would say its a professionalism and work ethic that could be a model for any other practice. Your body will appreciate a treatment. They have several offices in our area so care is very convenient.
Second: Yoga practice. I enjoy a Hatha practice called Hot Yoga. I’ve practiced this for over sixteen years and it has been a life-changing experience for me. Yoga can improve your flexibility, increase muscle tone and strength, improve circulation, sleep better, increase energy levels, reduce injuries, detoxify organs, improve posture, improve anxiety and depression, release endorphins to improve mood. (From doyogawithme.com). Sounds great, right? The Hot Yoga method uses a series of 26 postures done in the same pattern each time. The asterisk: you have to like it H-O-T. A 105 degree hot. And humid. Like an August day in Southern New Jersey. I like hot and it feels especially good in the winter. The benefit in the heat–for me–is that it helps me tolerate the heat of the summer when I’m outdoors for a long period of time. This yoga practice is a moving mediation; it is challenging enough to keep your mind still so you can focus and then feel the benefits of calm long after the practice is over. Even though I have arthritis, consistent practice helps me enjoy a high quality of life, as pain free as it’s possible to be, and without medication –and to continue to be able to do the physical work of the garden. I practice at Kathleen and Patrick Van Haute’s Hot Yoga Maple Shade studio. All the instructors are wonderful and especially patient with beginners. If you go on a Tuesday night, you will have a class with the first yogi I ever practiced with, Joel Pier, nearly seventeen years ago. Try it–more than once.
This is to wish you the healthiest 2017. Growing beautiful is growing strong and in wellness.