Tractor yoga for the soul

YOGA: Greenethorpe farmer Chris Wills is encouraging local farmers to try yoga to reduce stress from working on the land. Photo: Elouise Hawkey
YOGA: Greenethorpe farmer Chris Wills is encouraging local farmers to try yoga to reduce stress from working on the land. Photo: Elouise Hawkey

Sixth generation farmer Chris Wills says he was ready to find yoga, even though he didn’t know it at the time.

In fact when Chris was sent to his first ever yoga class by his partner, he described himself as “kicking and screaming”.

But the mixed farmer from Greenthorpe now swears by the meditation practice, saying it has allowed him to become more aware of things and be committed to what is important.

He even practices yoga in his tractor. The first yoga class that Chris was sent to was run by Cowra’s Ken Hutchison and was aimed at male farmers.

“I was encouraged to go to keep flexible, to have another interest away from the farm and to have tools to manage stressful situations,” Chris said.

“After the first class I could notice a difference (I only do what my body will allow) and over time was curious about the physical and mental changes that took place when doing yoga so decided to look into it a bit more. 

“I studied beginning yoga teaching with lovely Madi Simmons of Nevertire with a group of people from around the western area. During that time I found that I could adapt both the physical side of yoga (the poses), the breathing that is essential to yoga and the meditation to fit within my daily life on the farm and in the cab of the tractor.”

Chris has been farming in the Greenethorpe area for the past 28 years and said yoga has given him a different focus.

“And it has allowed me to become aware of the things I can let go and be committed to what is important at that particular time rather than being consumed by a never-ending workplace,” he said.

Chris said it has also helped him physically.

“I am more flexible within the limitations of my body's history and aware of what my body is telling me,” he said.

“Mentally I give myself permission to be 'still' and more aware of accepting things that are beyond my control.”

“I do encourage people to have a try because it has been so positive for me and I want other people to feel good,” Chris said.