A Flower Hatha – Yoga Practice Inspired by Plants

A few years ago, while attending a yoga, music, and arts festival in Colorado, I happened upon a miniature note of wisdom that said “honor the healing power of nature.” I have had a passion for the outdoors since I was a child but this discovery has since taken me on a journey of healing in nature everywhere I go.

Yoga and nature seem to go hand in hand in their ability to nourish our bodies and our minds. We plant seeds of intention for growth both in the garden and on the yoga mat. Plants have also been used for more obvious inspiration of yoga poses like Lotus or Bird of Paradise.

In honor of plants and yoga, I have cultivated a hatha yoga sequence inspired by a walk at Kauai Seascapes Plant Nursery​. ​There is a beautiful collection of tropical roses at the nursery that stopped me in my tracks for a mindful moment. In yogic philosophy, breath is the vessel that brings forth prana (life-force energy). What better place to begin a yoga practice inspired by plants than near fragrant, blooming roses?

Tropical Roses

Pranayama: Nadi Shodhana (alternate nostril breathing)

This breathwork is used to purify the mind and body. Practicing Nadi Shodhana can help enhance focus, balance hormones, and reduce stress and anxiety.

Set up:

  • Choose a comfortable seated position
  • Take a deep inhale
  • Take a deep exhale
  • The left hand can rest on the lap
  • Bring the right hand to Vishnu mudra
    • Fold the index and middle fingers inward toward the palm
    • Extend the ring and pinky finger long

Practice:

  • Cover the right nostril with the thumb
  • Inhale through the left nostril
  • Hold at the top of the breath
  • Cover left nostril with pinky and ring finger
  • Exhale out through the right nostril
  • Hold at the bottom of the breath
  • Keep hand position the same
  • Inhale through the right nostril
  • Hold at the top of the breath

Mountain

Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

  • Stand with feet at hip-width distance
  • Keep a slight bend in the knees
  • Engage the core and tuck the low ribs in
  • Release arms by the sides with palms facing forward or option to take extended mountain with arms above the head

Bromeliad



Standing Backbend (Anuvittasana)

  • From mountain pose
  • Lift fingertips toward the sky or cactus arms out to the sides
  • Relax shoulders away from the ears
  • Lift through the heart and extend into standing backbend
  • Be mindful not to compress the low back
  • Return to Mountain Bose

Desert Rose (Adenium)

Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I)

From Mountain Pose

  • Step left foot back a few feet
  • Angle foot to a 45 degree angle with toes pointing away from body
  • Bend into the right leg
  • Straighten into the left leg
  • Even up the hips toward center
  • Extend hands toward the sky

Bottlebrush Tree

Toppling Tree Pose (Baddha Dekasana)

From Warrior I

  • Clasp hands below the low back and relax shoulders from ears
  • Plant the weight into front foot and take a slight bend in standing knee
  • Lift off the back leg and engage through hamstring
  • Flex toes toward the ground
  • Release back to Warrior I
  • Repeat on the other side

Agave or Dracaena

Five Pointed Star (Utthita Tadasana)

  • From mountain pose
  • Step feet out wide with heels in and toes out
  • Extend arms up and out wide

Pele’s Hair

Forward Fold (Uttanasana)

From Mountain Pose

  • Bend at the knees slightly
  • Fold forward bringing the torso toward the thighs
  • Keep the sit bones tilting up toward the sky

Bird’s Nest Fern


Easy Seated Pose for Meditation (Sukhasana)

  • Sit with legs crossed comfortably
  • It may help to have the support of a cushion or block under the hips
  • Close eyes or bring gaze toward the ground

“Gardening, like yoga, pulls us into that relationship of being connected to all things,” says Veronica D’Orazio, a yoga teacher in Seattle and the author of Gardener’s Yoga. “People garden for that timeless connection.” From plants, we can learn to simultaneously root into the earth and bloom into the ethers–we learn to be grounded, yet liberated. Plants teach us to adapt our stance when the wind blows and the seasons change. We may find ways to blossom in times of light and also in the depths of the darkness. Most of all, the profound lessons of plants and yoga are learned from simply being connected to the fruit of the present moment, whether in the dirt or on yoga mat.

This article was written by Abigail, Kauai Seascapes employee and Yoga Enthusiast.


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