Have you ever wondered who the garden fairies are that keep the grounds of Kelowna Yoga House looking so tidy and beautiful? That would be Tammy Thomas and the gardening committee! Tammy started taking yoga thirteen years ago at Rutland YMCA with Doug Bauer (a devoted KYH board member) as her teacher and has been attending the Kelowna Yoga House the past twelve years. She has been the leader of the gardening committee for the past five years, currently with Catherine Norris and Maureen Lisle. Tammy says she enjoys giving back to the Kelowna Yoga House because she receives so much from the centre and its welcoming atmosphere, filled with friendly people and nice conversation. She finds the patience and compassion of the teachers at Kelowna Yoga House is reflected in the nonjudgmental atmosphere of the students.
Gardening is Tammy’s passion and her profession and this is something she can offer back to the yoga community. She notes the similarities between yoga and gardening in that digging your hands in the soil connects you to nature and allows you to feel grounded and peaceful. Roots growing in the soil are a metaphor for the yoga postures which allow you to feel connected to others and your own self. When she works in the garden with Catherine and Maureen, she remarks that everyone is so happy to be helping and working in the garden together. For the past nineteen years, Tammy has owned a business called Personalized Garden Care which includes a crew of four women who creatively work with plants, soil, trees, shrubs and mulching projects.
Tammy feels that yoga benefits her in so many ways. She has severe osteoarthritis in both knees, an ankle, big toe, thumbs and wrists. Yoga keeps her joints lubricated and creates space in the joints so that blood can flow more freely. When the blood cannot get to a joint, there is pain. She says that she limps through the doors of Kelowna Yoga House after work and when she comes down the stairs at the end of class, she is pain free and energized. Knee replacement surgery had been a consideration last fall because of pain severity but was declined after consultation with a rheumatologist. The specialist said that her mobility was too good to make her a candidate for surgery and to stick to her yoga practice.
Tammy’s yoga includes her home practice with sun salutations and inversions three times a week as well as evening yoga classes three to five times a week at Kelowna Yoga House. She also attends the Monday night meditation group and likes to meditate at home a couple of times a week for fifteen minutes. She finds it easier to meditate with the group. Although meditating is hard work, it’s like a breath of fresh air when you drop your worries. She finds that yoga and meditation keep her mind and thoughts fresh. She remembers the advice of Ajahn Sona, head monk at Birken Forest Monastery, to picture your mind like a dome with Michelangelo painting windows and a beautiful blue sky. I picture the sun in the beautiful blue sky shining on the flower garden and wonderful people at the Kelowna Yoga House.
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