Deb’s Top Exercises from Pilates and Yoga to Prepare for your Gardening Journey

A special Yoga and Pilates Movement for Gardeners is scheduled for May 20th, 1:30-3 pm at Float Yoga in Lititz. The class will cover the movements discussed in this article (and more) and allow time for questions. To register, visit Float-yoga.com. Questions? Contact Deb at 717-471-6868 or through thedancingfrog.com.

Warm-up Exercises to Move the Spine in 6 Directions

 Cat and Dog 

Start in tabletop position with shoulders over the wrists and hips over the knees.

Inhale and lift head and tail, allowing the front of the torso to stretch open.

Exhale round tail and head toward each other stretching the back.

Move back and forth smoothly 8-10 breaths, creating an undulating movement from head to tail.

 Knee Sways 

Lie on your back with feet and knees together. Arms wide for support.

Inhale and bring knees to one side, keeping feet and knees together.

The knees do not need to touch the floor. Exhale and return to center.

Feel a gentle stretch in the low back and outer hip.

Continue for 8-10 breaths alternating sides; notice how each vertebra rolls off and back on to the floor.

 Mermaid Variation  

Sit with knees bent. A cushion under the hips.

Knees at hip level. Right arm to ear, left arm to floor.

Keeping shoulders square.

Exhale and side bend to the left. Inhale back to center.

Reverse sides continuing for 8-10 breaths, feel the side of the body stretch from ear to hip.

Strengthening Exercises

 Swan (Cobra) Prep 

Lie facedown, elbows bent near side.

Press tops of feet and hipbones gently into the floor.

Inhale, elongate the spine and lift the head and shoulders.

Exhale, lower torso. Do not strain or push strongly with the hands.

Notice an engagement of the upper back muscles and the back of the legs.

Complete 3-5 breaths.


Lie on back, knees bent, heels in line with the sitting bones.

Arms alongside body. Palms facing down.

Exhale, press down with the feet and lift the pelvis up. Bear the weight of the body on the feet, arms, upper back and back of head. (Keep weight off the neck).

Take 2-3 breathes while holding the pose. Exhale, release body back to the floor. Do the whole series 2-3 times.

To complete, bring the knees toward the chest.

 Side Kick 

Lying on side, stack hips and shoulders.

Bring feet slightly ahead of the hips.

Lift the top leg a few inches off the bottom leg

Inhale, kick top leg forward.

Exhale, kick leg back.

Be aware of keeping the leg at the same level forward and back.

Complete 8-10 breaths each side.

 Kneeling Plank 

Starting in tabletop, walk the hands forward 12-18 inches.

The abdominal muscles should be engaged. There should be no strain in the lower back.

Keep the head through tail in a straight line.

Inhale and exhale, holding the pose.

Work up to holding for 10 breaths.

 Tree Pose 

Standing on both feet, shift weight onto right foot.

Place left heel at ankle or calf. Gently push the standing leg towards the lifted heel or foot. Shoulders and hips stay square. Arms to side or overhead.

Hold for 3-5 breaths each side.

Reset at the End of a Long Day

 Down Dog at the Wall 

Place the hands on a wall at hip height.

Walk back until your back is straight, forming a line parallel to the floor and a right angle at the hip joint.

Soften your knees. Fine tune the stretch for your body with a focus on lengthening the hips away from the hands.

Hold for 5 breaths.

 Kneeling Lunge with Twist 

Step one leg forward, keeping the knee over the ankle.

Bring both hips forward, keeping the spine long.

Hold for 2-3 breaths

Keeping the spine long, rotate the front ribs towards the inside of front leg.

Hold for 2-3 breaths

Repeat on the other side.

 Legs Up the Wall 

Using the wall for support, place heels on the wall and hips close to the wall.

Allow the knees to soften. Hold for up to 5 minutes.

 Child’s Pose 

From tabletop, walk the knees wider than the hips.

Two big toes touching.

Shift the hips back towards the heels. Arms reaching forward.

Avoid if there is any pain in the knee joint.

Hold for 5-8 breaths.





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