How’s Your Farmer?
By Ellen S. Gibson
These days, the farmer who grows the corn and tomatoes you bought at the local farm store is just as likely to be a woman as a man1. Wow! This statistic embodies a major shift in the historically male-dominated field of farming.
Recently, Maine AgrAbility released a poster entitled Yoga Stretches for Farmers. The poster features a male farmer in boots and jeans, showing yoga postures in the tractor seat and working around the farm. Our goal is to capture the interest of an audience new to yoga and familiar with farming: men. In our experience, women are more apt to be open to yoga, to practice it already, and be familiar with its benefits.
Importance of exercise
Farmers don’t plant a field until it’s been properly prepared. If they do, the results aren’t great. In the same way, they need to prepare their bodies for a day of hard physical work. Otherwise, the result is sore and aching muscles, repetitive joint injury, and potentially chronic pain. Exercise strengthens the muscles. The muscles support the joints, which is important for reducing and preventing arthritis. Of course, there are any number of low-impact exercises you can choose: walking, swimming, tai chi, weight lifting.
Yoga? You must be kidding.
Our poster features yoga on the farm, in the tractor seat. No studio. No stretchy pants. No headstands. The benefits are derived slowly and surely over time, with the combination of breathing and movement. The breathing calms the nervous system while the movement gently stretches and strengthens muscles.
Try to be open-minded, and meanwhile, regular daily exercise to prepare for a day on the farm is good hygiene for the body and mind.