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I have to tell you...Yoga for Equestrians is so much fun!
And it is so much fun because the core essence of great riding is where animal + man become one powerful and unstoppable unit.
This is the exact heart of Yoga: Union.
Union of Body, Mind and Soul, and in this case it is the union and merger of two bodies, two minds, and two souls. This is ultimate merger.
It is the yoga of relationship.
And if you can learn the yoga of relationship, there is nothing you cannot master in life, as everything in life is built on relationship - the relationship of marriage, the relationship of child-parent, the relationship to money, the relationship to career, the relationship to Spirit, the relationship to Mother Earth, the relationship to our health and wellness, etc.
So if you are even thinking of taking up riding, in my humble opinion, you are best served to find a great yoga class and a yoga teacher who understands the strength and commitment required to become an excellent equestrian.
The number one benefit of yoga for equestrians for me is obviously about relationship, but from a purely practical sense, yoga is about two important qualities:
If you are not in balance (mind, body and soul balance) or you are not flexible enough to move with the horse's rhythms, then as a team, you will both suffer.
Since as an equestrian rider, you are first and foremost a team member - one in-divisible unit of energy and power - you need to be in complete harmony with your animal partner. Yoga for equestrians provide the tools required to create the synchronicity required such that no one's toes get stepped on so to speak.
Great riding is like an elegant ballroom dance of requiring strength of body, flexibility of mind and courage of soul.
I found myself in the equestrian world as I started seeing horses for energy work as an animal healer, and very quickly realized that an out of shape, inflexible and unbalanced rider is transmitting imbalances to the horse, causing all sorts of postural, structural and health issues.
So I had to back up a step and work not only with healing the horse, but with healing the rider, because if I worked with only one part of the team, I found that we were spinning our wheels in frustration and no one was moving forward.
So although I cannot go through all the yoga for equestrian exercises I would normally teach in class, I can show you one that I believe is the most important for good equestrian posture, a flexible spine and a calm breath rate. That exercise is called spinal flex.
As you can see from the above picture, you begin by sitting cross-legged on the floor with your hand holding your ankles. You can add another dimension of visualization to this and see yourself sitting on your horse, holding the reins in a comfortable, relaxed and tall posture.
Begin to inhale deeply as you flex your spine forward as in the first photo, and then as you exhale powerfully, flex your spine backwards as in the second image. Continue powerful breathing as you inhale and exhale flexing your spine.
Continue for at least 3 minutes. This can easily be done as a warm up exercise when you first mount your horse and can give you both a sense of connection and grounding as you feel each other's breath and postural balance.
Horses are prey animals and so for them to be in optimal performance, they need to feel safe, secure, protected and calmed by you.
This yoga for equestrians exercise set is based on the Teachings of Yogi Bhajan.
To start, come sitting in cross-legged position. Extend the arms out to the sides with the fingers stretched and tensed like a lion's claw. Alternately cross the wrists overhead and then return them out to the sides and parallel to the floor. Move powerfully and rhythmically, coordinating the movement to breath-of-fire.
Continue in this way for 3 minutes and then rest quietly for a few minutes, focusing on deep breathing. You will feel energized and radiant - ready for a harmonic and synchronistic ride after this.
I have a wonderfully busy schedule, but I absolutely love working with groups and teaching is really the ultimate gift for me. As you can tell I'm a little nuts in writing all this content for the website, but I believe it is such a valuable teaching vehicle that I just keep plugging away.
And although the internet is a wonderful vessel to connect to many individuals, there is nothing in my mind that replaces hands-on, face-to-face workshop time for really learning and embracing the teachings.
If you would like me to join you and your riding school for a workshop on yoga for equestrians, please contact me so we can set something up. It is always a pleasure to work with a new group of souls as I share my passion of yoga with you and the animals.
The workshop is very powerful and experiential. It includes teachings on yoga postures, breath, mantra, meditation, relaxation and most importantly the art of learning to listen and connect to the soul of another being, in this case your horse.
You will find this workshop to be transformative on many levels, as the yoga of relationship weaves its way into every aspect of life mastery.
I hope to meet you all soon as you create a deep and lasting relationship with yoga and your horse.
Yours in Wellness,
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