Back home, my backyard is full of plants — falling ferns, cunning cacti, heavenly hydrangeas. You name it, it is probably there. Growing up, these flowers were the marker of sunshine, swimsuits, and, soon enough, a break from school. My mom, whose thumb is greener than most, preaches that the number one rule of gardening is to wait until May before planting. However, she and her garden are in warm-wintered Texas, so she is often the first to break her own rule, too excited by the promise of the new season and its flora to wait any longer. Sometimes it pays off, other times the frost comes and she has to mourn the loss of some sweet flower friends.
I’ve always been inspired by my mom’s plants and the patience she takes in tending them. She once counted and there were over 60 pots between our back and front yards. I’m telling y’all, she doesn’t mess around. This spring, I’ve decided to join her gardening games! However, I don’t have an actual garden in my New York City apartment, so I’ll be planting a symbolic garden, yoga-style.
The first plant I’ll pot is the Geranium of Gratitude. Winter can be difficult – our bodies follow the natural call to rest, to go inward. However, society still tells us to produce, produce, produce. If you’re anything like me, this opposition between instinct and expectation is taxing. Counting my blessings, especially my health, relationships, and the promise of sunshine, helps to shift my mindframe from the stillness of winter towards the abundance of the spring.
The second plant I’ll pot is the Chanting Chrysanthemum. I recently taught a workshop here at MindBodySoul Yoga wherein we learned and chanted the Gayatri Mantra together. For me, chanting is incredibly healing and is a great practice to implement as the seasons shift – the throat chakra, related to creativity, is stimulated by chanting. What is spring all about if not the blossoming of creation?
The third plant I’ll pot is the Sunflower Sangha. When feeling stuck in our purpose, the only question we need to ask ourselves is “What does the world need and how can I give it?” For me, at this moment, this process looks like: The world needs healing? Teach more yoga! The world needs to laugh? Say yes to playing in that Shakespeare comedy! So simple, but so powerful. By connecting to our sangha, or community, and using our skills to add to its wellbeing, we are able to answer our personal needs, as well as a need in the world.
What pots will you be planting? Whatever they may be, on or off the mat, I hope they flourish.
PS: Click here to hear the Gayatri Mantra.