You don’t need to have a green thumb or a lot of space to start your own garden. Sometimes all you need to do is think outside of the box. Artist Yuki Kawae proved that it is possible to scale down and create a miniature garden that still provides moments of quiet, stillness, peace, and joy. Kawae rakes and rearranges his zen garden often while sharing the meditative process on his Instagram videos.
So, what is a zen garden? Zen gardens—or Japanese rock gardens—are one of the most significant aspects of Japanese culture. These beautiful gardens strip nature to its bare, dry elements (mainly using sand and rocks) to help bring about the meaning of life and stimulate a meditative state.
Today, Japanese zen gardens can be found in temples, backyards at residential properties, desktop zen gardens in corporate offices, and anywhere else a bit of serenity may be needed. No matter the zen garden idea or size, the intention remains the same– to allow its viewers to sit back, relax, and clear their minds.
Kawae’s adaptation is a tabletop Japanese zen sand and rock garden that was inspired by a small fiddle-leaf plant. He would take care of this plant, watering it daily and watching it grow. He then realized the simple act of taking care of a houseplant alleviated his anxieties and overwhelming thoughts. This insight activated something in Kawae to craft his own DIY zen garden.
Kuwae took his meditation to Instagram, where he began to share his videos, and in turn, gained lots of popularity early in the pandemic. Quarantining at home has strengthened his approach to his art as a meditative and creative outlet. Over the past couple of years, finding the time and ability to disconnect from technology and manage hectic schedules is nearly unattainable for many. Surely, people sought out comfort and relaxation in watching his videos.
You too can join the massive amount of followers who accompany Kuwae in his ultra-calm practice where he demonstrates the amount of focus required to create the patterns in the sand. Sometimes the delicate carve linework looks like a wave while other times a winding road; either way, each piece is soothing. The sound of the tool scraping against the sand gives each video a relaxing touch of ASMR. Be mesmerized by watching some of the videos below.
Artist Yuki Kawae crafts his own DIY zen garden to relax and clear the mind.
Become mesmerized when you watch Kawae’s videos.
My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos via Yuki Kawae.
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