YogaCowGirl shares her eclectic and grounded mix of yoga, music, chanting, farming and husbandry through her artistic wordsmithing on her blog and on her CDs. Just witnessing her productivity and clarity will help you find your own. Here’s her reflection on effort and stillness as the yoga of husbandry. Enjoy!
For me, yoga practice has been a quest to pay attention. Yoga meditation helps me pay more attention to my relationships with others, to slow down and breathe rather than have knee jerk reactions to the words and actions of others. Hatha yoga helps me pay more attention to the body, to which muscles need loosening or strengthening, to where tension is creeping in, to the effects of food on my well-being. The study of yoga philosophy helps me learn more about the world around me and how science, philosophy and practice can improve life for me and others who connect with me.
As the owner of a 40 acre property, I pay attention to the land and its cycles as well. From year to year, we see the effects of global warming as trees bloom earlier every year, as wet summers beset our typically Mediterranean (dry summer) climate, and as winter storms grow increasingly violent. Paying attention to all these macro environmental changes, in fact, provides this yogi’s call to action to steward the land. If I care deeply for the land, then I must do the most I can possibly do to stop aggravating global climate change.
Sometimes stewardship means just leaving the land alone. Last year, we put a conservation easement (http://www.trlc.org) on 19 acres of forest to ensure that future generations would leave the land, its trees, and the stream running through it — alone. Our job now is to simply pay attention to the forest, assist in a few ways (like removing invasive weeds), and allow it to thrive.
Sometimes stewardship needs to get more active. In order to be as responsible a world citizen as possible, I decided to go completely organic on the entire property, including the remaining farm acreage. We passed our third organic certification inspection (http://www.tilth.org) this year, and happily added every flower, shrub and tree growing here to our certification list of plants that we are allowed to label “organic” when we sell them.
Being organic means I have to pay much more attention to my crops and plants than the typical farmer does. I cannot pre-spray for anticipated pests or weeds, like big agricultural operations do. I must hand pull every weed and use non-toxic soap on pest infected plants. I also use predatory insects that eat pests and then leave the site to integrate into the land. Predators can only be applied at the moment a pest is attacking a plant or they won’t have anything to eat. I rotate crops to “fool” pests into thinking their food source has left the area and to distribute the feeding needs of various crops.
This attention paid to plants develops my love for them and for witnessing their life cycle. Keeping the property free of harmful chemicals has invigorated our bird, bee, and insect population. We feel that the property is becoming an oasis for life through our actions of stewardship and attention.
Isn’t that what every yogi wants, to be an oasis of life, of calm, of peace on this planet so that we may help bring others to drink from our waters of self and be calmed and invigorated?