Friday, November 18, 2011

Yoga for Equestrians

In school, we're required to take one physical activity course (PAC) so I chose Yoga. I thought it would be a good, slow kind of introduction into actually exercising. Ahaha. I was expecting something easy and relaxing... how wrong was I! But I actually am really enjoying this class and I think I would like to join one of the free classes at the gym next term.

It's pretty incredible watching how flexible and strong my teacher is. She can do the splits, completely fold over at the waist, do a headstand, and hold herself an inch from the ground with her arms for ages (think hold a push up for thirty seconds with your chest an inch above the ground). It's really tough, especially when you see a lot of guys really struggling to hold a position! It makes me feel a little bit better about myself :)

There's all sorts of things for horses + yoga
This is a picture from a cowgirl's retreat

 I have really tight hamstrings and old injuries meaning that my knees can't bend all the way, but all of these problems have improved over the past few weeks along with core strength. I hadn't worked a lot on two-point in a while but the other day I decided to do some sitting trot and two-point work and it felt so easy. No wonder that yoga has become so popular for equestrians!

In my Equine Science, we had a massage therapist come and show us what she does as well as some stretches for what she calls "horse yoga". Really, it was just some basic stretches for the horse, so not all that new and exciting, lol. But it makes you think about how much yoga is helping you, why could some stretches not help your horse? Two things that the massage therapist stressed - one was that the horse must already be warmed up prior to stretching and two that you must also be relaxed while doing the stretches so the horse doesn't feed off your tension.

Might be good book to read.

Yoga for equestrians has become increasing popular in recent years, with books, dvds, classes and retreats all focused around yoga for people who ride horses. I have to say that I am really enjoying my class and it's one of the classes that I look forward to every day. It lets me get rid of a little bit of tension by trying these difficult positions, plus I get to laugh at myself when I tie myself into a knot trying to do the Eagle position and then fall over because I'm stuck or I get to laugh at the "fire breathing" because it sounds like when my mom's dog has a reverse sneeze going on!

Recently I heard of several barns (not local unfortunately) that are hosting a weekly session of yoga at the barn for people that want to participate. How cool is that?! I'd be all over that in a second.

If you are interested in improving your core strength out of the saddle, I would highly recommend you try yoga!

1 comment:

  1. OMG I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to do one of those classes!!! Yoga is so great for anyone.