Farm Yoga

*This is another installment of ‘The Traveling Yogini’ series.  Written by the charming guest blogger, Erin Grotheer (my roommate and soul sister)…

Farm yoga 

I happen to be fortunate enough to be from a farm. You’re not from a farm? That’s ok too. We need all different kinds of spices in the spice rack if we want to make a different dish every night. I didn’t start doing yoga until I no longer lived on said farm. That’s a shame. I would have been even more of an insufferable hippie if I was a farm kid who did yoga. Shoes? Never!

When I go home now, to Girard, Kansas, my yoga practice helps me make sense of my pseudo-city/forever land love city dwelling existence. I love that I have lived in new, scary places. I’ve met people who wouldn’t have stumbled upon the 100 or so acres in Southeast Kansas called G-5 farms. There are fundamental wants that rage against each other in the planning parts of my being. As in, a city is bustling and vibrant and it compels me to reach outside of myself and grow. But at the same time, the space and air the country life affords you makes you feel strong and loved and grounded.

I can have both though. My yoga practice reminds of this. By shedding attachments to memories I can appreciate where I am at the moment. I will love the city I live in when I am in it. I will love the farm I am from when I am there. I will cherish the two equally. Simultaneously. Lately, I’ve been completely preoccupied with where I’ll be living next year. Five years. Twenty years. Attachments to my own expectations and anxiety for my own future.

So when I am lucky enough to find time to journey back to Girard, to G-5 farms, I incorporate my physical yoga practice into the visit. It’s never a full series, anything resembling a vinyasa flow by any means. Rather, it’s my 3 year-old nephew watching me do arm balances in the living room. Then, he puts his head to the floor and I lift his feet, him mimicking my side crow. Or, I sneak away to my sisters’ old bedroom (now mainly empty) and practice standing balancing poses. Right when I fully extend dancer and make a weird face is when my sister walks in, says “that looks cool”, and I fall over.

My most prized farm yoga moments are the ones backlit by the sun setting behind the railroad tracks running North/South just next to my parents’ land. Summers in Kansas have been brutal the last few years, leaving every former green living thing a crisp variety of tan. My dad puts the halter on some of his horses, one at a time, so that he can walk them around the yard, searching for green grass. My dad will sit on the ground, right next to his harvested corn field, with a horse lazily grazing the almost alive grass. A safe distance away, still within the shadows made by my calm companions, I do clumsy handstands in the crunching grass. I topple more than I’d like, not caring a bit.

My mother reminds me that these poses are complimentary to the body. That some people are naturally better at some poses by virtue of the way they are built. For instance, my mother and I have always sat in eagle pose. Whatever leg is on top will curl and curl around the other leg. On this last visit I pointed to my mom’s legs and told her she was doing eagle. She looked proud and said, “Well, huh. Ya know this is just how I sit comfortably. I’ve always done it this way.”

My farm yoga practice is not the most consistent. It’s not the most accurate. But I concentrate on every muscle, on the weight that is being me. I do that so perfectly at my parents’ farm because I am so comfortable there, so in love with where I come from. I actively work on bringing that comfort to the city with me.

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