Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Yogic Mowing

With summer just around the corner, and following the wet spring we experienced this year (I read that in Southern Ontario it rained 17 out of the last 20 days in May!), one is naturally drawn to take notice of the lush greenery which surrounds us.
Early in the morning though it may be, I’ve been especially enjoying my commute to work since June arrived. As I drive the rolling hills and gentle bends of the highway softly lit by the morning sun, I’m struck by the artful appearance of the green pastures, and forests. From a hilltop, the patchwork of still lush hayfields and newly sprouting green crop fields blanketed with a thin layer of morning fog have the appearance of a monotone mosaic, of varying shades of green.
Photo by Simon Howden
Perhaps what I am most excited by at this time of year are the lawns*. In June, everyone’s lawn looks beautiful; the spring rain has been kind to its roots, and homeowners are eager and determined that this year, they will have a yard that is the envy of the neighbourhood. For most people, the enjoyment of mowing the lawn has worn off by Canada Day. Not for me.
“Well Dean, you’re just saying that because of the brand new orange lawn tractor that’s sitting in your garage. It’s not so much fun when you have to push the mower,” you say. Although I do enjoy mowing with the new machine, it’s not the driving of the tractor that makes me love mowing. In fact, for the past 3 to 4 years in which my interest in lawn mowing has been elevated, I’ve been a pusher (a pusher of lawn mowers, that is, not of drugs).  As far as I’m concerned, lawn maintenance is a somewhat yogic experience.
As I traverse the lawn from one end to the other, mowing long narrow strips, the whirring of the blades lulls me into a reflective state. I’m often lost in my thoughts. Once I arrive at the opposite end of the lawn and turn around to tackle the next strip of untamed grass, I am rewarded with the sense of satisfaction that comes with seeing the strip of uniform height, freshly cut grass, alongside the wild untamed blades, which I will conquer next. Reaching the end of the row also gives me an opportunity to observe how I can improve my mowing from row to row. Just as in Yoga, it’s about being aware of your machine (your body), and making the necessary adjustments, in order to achieve a perfectly straight cut (a perfectly balanced body), all the while understanding that perfection will not likely be achieved, but that in consciously striving for perfection, you are well on your way to achieving yogic balance.
You might think I’m crazy. I recounted my theory of yogic mowing to a friend who detests mowing the lawn. He was skeptical. I have since heard it through the grapevine that he is has come to enjoy the chore of lawn maintenance a little more since approaching the task in a yogic frame of mind. Hey, if I can help just one person unlock even a little bit of the joy of lawn mowing, I can sleep well at night. Okay, I’ll admit I wasn’t losing any sleep over it, but I’m glad my friend is enjoying his chores a little more.
Happy mowing!
*I’ve even considered that it would be cool to start a blog that consists solely of photos of nice lawns that I’ve driven or walked past, but alas, I do not own a camera.


  1. Thanks for reminding me to take the time to savour the simple things in life. There is beauty all around us just waiting to be appreciated. Thanks again Dean!

  2. I am one that finds solstice in pushing a lawn mower through it's paces, I would strive to improve upon each row of fondly mowed greenery, my goal was to duplicate the beautiful criss/cross pattern of a finely manicured golf green, try as I might, I never got it perfect, I was however satisfied non the less.
    There is something very gratifying about a freshly mowed lawn, with it's uniform patterns and fresh aroma and all of that thinking,contemplation and resolution that took place therein.
    For me, mowing my lawn is not so much work as it is therapy,
    I look forward to my next session, as long as it doesn't rain.

  3. I bought a new (reconditioned) lawn mower on Sunday and it is self-propelled. It was dragging me across the backyard before I realized there are slower gears. It hadn't been done in ages and wasn't the prettiest lawn on the street when it was finished but it certainly was no longer the ugliest. Making progress, enjoying the fresh cut smell.