Why Bonsai is good for you

Apr 13, 2015, 19:27 IST



Remember Mr Miyagi from Karate Kid who patiently explained the art of bonsai as he lovingly tended to his trees? And like everything the wise old Mr Miyagi did, bonsai creation too is an art that holds a lot of benefits for the mind and body. The tradition of growing these tiny, delicate trees in trays dates back more than 1,000 years. Bonsai trees can live for several years, and so a Bonsai creator forges a special relationship with the tree. Besides this, it is an art that requires a lot of patience as you need to learn to care for your tree by watering, fertilising and pruning it. Bonsai demands a lot of focus and dedication from you, making the art a great stress-reliever. And of course, plants help air quality, so there’s a health benefit, too.

Urvashi Thacker is a Bonsai expert and curator and has been nurturing this passion for over three decades. She provided a platform for Bonsai enthusiasts by starting a Bonsai club called India Friendship Bonsai Society. She is the author of 'Living with Bonsai', which has detailed information on planting, pruning, styling and taking care of bonsai. She also has a gallery called Galleria Verdant, which has over 200 unique bonsais which are around 40-50 years old. She tells us why she loves this art and how we can all benefit from it.


"The ever increasing pace of urbanization, in Mumbai, as in other cities, the world over, and the pressing needs of a rising population, leaves one craving for open spaces and green patches. Few can afford the luxury of a terrace garden or even  a small patch of greenery in front of their homes. Therefore, in order to retain a connection with nature, ‘bonsai’ or miniature trees are the best substitutes.

"Bonsai, an immensely gratifying pastime, is also the highest form of horticulture. Raising and nurturing Bonsai is akin to nurturing a child from infancy to maturity, within the family.  It is at one time–intensive meditation and on the other pure bliss to create artistic Bonsai. Grooming and styling the Bonsai, year after year, seducing it to perfection with love, care and appreciation can be a really satisfying emotional journey. Being engaged in a living art such as raising a Bonsai can make a deeply significant impact on one’s life.  I would like to share my own experience.

"On days when I am tired or restless, the most comforting thing for me to do is to work with Bonsai. Growing Bonsais rejuvenates, refreshes and recharges me. It makes me calmer and infuses positive energy. I mentioned about the art being meditative--when you are deeply engaged in the process of planting or pruning the bonsai, you concentrate completely. There is no iota of existence beyond what is on hand. By the time you finish, the mind is relaxed and happy. Bonsai–the living art always arches towards completion and perfection.  But it never truly is complete. Bonsai is a journey into oneself, reflective, intense and healing.  Learn, love and create."