Today I posted a snippet on social media about 'Incentive Gardening'. I put these two words together and came up with this definition; 'to consciously combine gardening with another activity with the aim of reaping greater rewards'. The reason for this is that some people are distinctly nonplussed with their gardens but with an extra incentive could gain so much more from their outside spaces. I used an example of creating a place to practise yoga or meditation as a motivation to embark on a gardening project. A couple of lovely friends pointed out that they would like to know more about this. Below is my social media snippet and here goes with some thoughts about creating a yoga area in your garden.
To me yoga is about combining strength and flexibility in your body with peace and tranquillity in your mind. It's a practise that enables you to park the stresses of everyday life somewhere else for a short while and focus on your well-being, both physically and mentally. This is undoubtedly my own flawed description and I'm sure there are better ways of articulating both the theory and the benefits and rewards.
So what kind of outside space is conducive to get the most out of this practise in terms of urban living? The first thing that comes to mind is privacy. Personally I don't really want my neighbours to see me working on my 'down dog', but maybe I'm just shy. If you have any existing trees then that could be a good area to look at. Alternatively a pergola or hedging could add sufficient screening.
The next point I'd consider would be pollution, both airborne and noise-based. If you live near a road and you're just working on breathing from your diaphragm, a big waft of diesel from a passing van or a loud beep is going to be unpleasant, or distracting at the very least. Research has shown that many plants have extraordinary properties when it comes to absorbing noise and pollution.
I'd also have a think about the general ambience and comfort of the area. What do you want it to feel like under-foot? What colours and scents would you like to see and smell? Do you like to work in bright sunlight or in cool, calming shade? What time of day do you practise or does it vary?
Ultimately, I think it's about creating a place to nurture the body and soul that's right for you.
I hope this blog has been useful and given you some ideas. I deliberately haven't named any plants because with thousands to choose from, it comes down to your environment and personal preferences. However, please contact me if you'd like to talk in more detail.