11.06.2013

yoga and horses

Notice I didn't title this post "yoga ON horses" altho apparently that is trending. Not remotely why I started putting my thoughts to the keyboard. Besides the occasional yoga for riding books, there is a whole plethora of equine related yoga happening out there on (and off) horseback. Who knew?

I recently started practicing yoga consistently, on a mat. After only six months I've barely scratched the surface, and yet yoga has already helped me be true to myself. 

It helped me find the inner strength to make an agonizing career change, and cleared my head so I could get out of my way while riding Koda.

I am happier, just ask my husband. I am more balanced, just ask my horse. I am more at peace, just ask my heart. 

Yoga has made me physically and mentally stronger. Have I lost a ton of weight? Nope. If that is what you seek, you are missing the point of yoga. I can say the same exact thing about horseback riding, it makes me physically and mentally stronger.

When I talk to others about yoga or horseback riding, I typically find one of three things (in order of frequency):

1) Resistance "can't do it because of _________ " 

I assure you, you can do yoga. It's not about twisting into a pretzel. It's about connecting your mind with your body. You can do that in a chair if needed, or in the presence of a horse. 

Barring major physical exceptions, you can also ride a horse. You just haven't met the right horse, or person to help you find the right one.

Find a quality instructor for yoga or horseback riding. It's worth the time. 

2) Glazed Response

The conversation ends before it begins. These people just don't get it. If you've read this far, be thankful you are not one of them. I am.

3) Wishful Thinking

How many times have you heard "I've always wanted to...or wish I could..."? I try to inspire these folks. It might just be the catalyst for them to take that last step. There is only one person stopping them...

So who out there practices? Do tell. Doesn't have to be formal yoga, could just be whatever practice brings you to a mindful place. Could be running, something that used to be my reconnect. Could be the woods, which still is for me. I only wish I had regular access to woods...perhaps I should reread number 3 above.

What do you do to connect with your inner self? I know the horse lover in you does, even if you think it's weird to talk about.

I'm not going to go all yogasana on you, nor will I be taking my physical yoga practice on horseback. What I really meant to say in a nut shell, is yoga is a lot like horseback riding ~ soulfully rewarding.

my yogi

14 comments:

The Dancing Donkey said...

My walk int the woods every day.

I would like to try yoga one of these days. It's the time factor for me. Maybe I need to get the donkeys to do it with me, that would save time:)

fernvalley01 said...

never tried it to be honest but maybe some day

aurora said...

It is hard to dedicate the time. I've never tried yoga around our horses, but both our cat & dog absolutely love it when I do yoga around them, they try it too :)

I think getting started is the hardest part. Yoga has sooo many health benefits, it is worth it!

tailsfromprovence.com said...

I've started going to a 90 minute yoga class (in French!!) once a week in the hopes that it will kick-start my butt into voluntarily practising yoga at home. Why? Because I KNOW that yoga helps me to stay supple and to stop my back from seizing up yet somehow I find it difficult to set aside the 30 minutes /day I need to do it.
Yes, 30 minutes per day ... that's all it takes. Yet I find it so difficult to do it; there is always an excuse... I have to blog/read blogs... it's too cold... it's too hot... I'll just have a cuppa tea and then I'll do it... I need to check my facebook page... etc etc etc
I honestly can't say it helps me mentally yet I know it helps me physically, but despite that I still struggle to do it regularly.

May I (tentatively) suggest an equestrian yoga support group?
Or does one exist already?

aurora said...

I am still taking & learning from yoga classes, and was doing pretty good with home practice when I could do it outside by the pond. Once it got cold and I would have to do it inside...it hasn't happened.

I don't know if there is an online equestrian yoga group (s)? Good question! Might be something similar on Facebook (altho not the same IMO)? I did find multiple equestrian yoga blogs.

tailsfromprovence.com said...

I found this on YouTUbe.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZveGs7Udaw
Funny enough, he doesn't do anything I don't already do. Yay! I'm on the right track!!

aurora said...

Thanks for the link! I'm not a big YouTube user & forget to check for info on it. I watched, and also incorporate all but his version of dancer pose into different practices. Looks like a good one to explore.

If others check this video out, especially new folks, know the deep hip stretching (floor lunge & pigeon) that he does near the beginning are typically done near the end of yoga...make sure you are warm enough before doing those poses!!! Everyone has a different theory, and mine comes from being a retired fitness instructor of 25 years = warm up before deep stretching.

Grey Horse Matters said...

I've always meant to try it but haven't taken the plunge yet. I know it would help physically and mentally. I don't know if I'm right in thinking this but aren't there a lot of different types of yoga?

aurora said...

Yes, there are different types of yoga. I practice Hatha based Yoga, it's the most common.

What I've learned is a person can benefit from doing the foundation moves. Everybody starts with them and continues doing them. There are different levels of difficulty to all yoga moves, which lends itself to everyone.

Grey Horse Matters said...

Thanks for the info, I'm going to look into it.

tailsfromprovence.com said...

(I swear I'm not turning into a stalker)
I've nominated you for a Sunshine Award. Pop over to http://tailsfromprovence.com/2013/11/15/sunshine-award/ to see what it's all about.
Martine

aurora said...

That is wonderful Grey Horse!! Feel free to ask me if I can help answer any questions/concerns. I am considering starting some type of an yoga type blog for horse lovers....not from the teaching perspective perse, but from the sharing side. Just not sure yet....? Yoga has given me sooo much. I would like to give back, encourage and connect with others. Maybe I'll just pick a day, and share on here??

Martine, I LOVE that you visit my blog ~ I would be lonely otherwise! It's far from stalking lol. Thanks so much for the award, I'll check it out!!

C-ingspots said...

I must have missed this post earlier...my doctor has recommended that I try yoga for a while, but I've just never checked into it. Call me lazy, but I really, really do need to do something physical because I feel my muscles losing strength and overall stamina every single day. Especially the last couple of weeks for some reason. I need to get with a plan before I'm too far gone. :)

aurora said...

As you know, the hardest part is starting. The second hardest part is finding a venue that feels comfortable. Something that you want to go back to/do again, so that it's not just another thing on your list that you have to do.

Yoga gives me SO much more then the effort it takes to commit to doing it. I mix it up and practice at a couple different studios (with different approaches) and at home - so I have options. It doesn't have to be a rigid schedule. One of things yoga teaches (in addition to physically moving) is forgiveness, of yourself, or what you can/can't do ~ it's really great in more then one way! You should try it, you just might like it :)