Ever since I started working on a farm, I’ve been painfully aware that I don’t have enough core strength to spend the whole day bending over and lifting heavy equipment.
Planting, weeding, harvesting, and most of the other activities involved in food production can take a toll on your body, whether your working on a commercial farm or your community garden plot.
Two weeks ago, I decided to try yoga to help conquer my back pain. So I rented a few yoga DVDs and started following them after work each day. Even though I’ve only been practicing yoga for a short time, I’m already convinced that it’s necessary for my well-being as a farmer.
I’m more aware of my posture while working, I’m engaging my abdominal muscles more, and I’m not nearly as sore when I wake up in the mornings.
Here are three of my favorite yoga DVDs to build strength and flexibility for farming and gardening.
1. A.M. and P.M. Yoga –
This DVD has two 20-minute practices, one to wake you up in the morning and another to settle you down in the evening. It’s perfect for beginners like me, with slow, gentle poses that stretch muscles, release tension, and improve balance. I particularly like the P.M. practice after a day of work on the farm – it helps loosen up my tight hip flexors. A yoga mat is recommended.
2. Yoga for Back Care –
This 30-min DVD is another great one for beginners. It focuses on hip-opening postures to release tension and active poses to build back and abdominal muscles. The pace is slow and the instructions are easy to follow. This practice does require a few props though. You’ll need a chair and a yoga strap (a belt or a towel also work) in addition to a yoga mat (although I find that I can follow this DVD just fine on carpet). I can definitely feel this practice lengthening, loosening, and strengthening my spine.
Parts of this practice are too advanced for me right now, but I have a feeling that this DVD would be a good fit for people with more yoga experience. The first 30 minutes include a series of moderately paced poses that focus on building core strength. Your abs will be singing after this workout! The second 30 minutes are slower-paced and focus on restoring the abdomen and back. You’ll need a blanket and a yoga mat.
To help you decide which yoga DVDs would work for you, here’s a little more about me. I’m in great cardiovascular shape and I’m fairly flexible, but I have weak core muscles. I don’t have any formal yoga training, but I do have six months of one-on-one Pilates instruction under my belt.
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