Why equestrians should do yoga - 3 balancing poses you should do
As equestrians, we are very used to devoting much of our time to our horses. But how often do we devote any time to ourselves or for ourselves? Our horses, and everyone else in our lives who rely on us benefit when we are at our best, mentally and physically. When we feel good, we treat everyone around us better just for the simple fact that we feel better. This is where yoga comes into play.
I truly believe that yoga helps you do everything better – including riding. Yoga creates better awareness and improves your connection with your horse.
As a certified yoga teacher, one of the most important things that I hoped all of my students would take away from my yoga classes was that mastering tree pose or any yoga pose probably wasn't going to change their life. But learning how to keep their breath steady and easy no matter the circumstance will absolutely change their life. So many times, I have seen students become so consumed with how they look or feel in a pose that they forget to breathe. Our breath is our life force. Without it we cannot get through life - also how we view our horses. ;)
I will not go into the details and alignment of each of the poses. I simply want to provide a few balancing poses that will aide in flexibility, focus, strength, and balance, which are not only great for our bodies but also comforting to our horses.
Although Mountain Pose is not usually considered a balancing pose, it is a great place to start if yoga is new to you. Mountain Pose is a foundation pose in almost every style of yoga. The benefits of Mountain Pose range from stretching and strengthening to energizing and destressing.
Tree // Balance Pose
This is one of the best and probably my favorite beginner yoga poses. If you only did one yoga pose ever, this would be the one I suggest.
Tree pose is all about balance and staying grounded.
If you struggle with tightness through your hips and groin which is so common with most people, especially riders, then this hip opener is even extremely beneficial.
This is a great opportunity to get close and hug your horse. Use your horse to help you stay grounded and find your balance.
Dancer pose is one of my personal favorite balancing poses. And it isn't because I can do it perfectly or look super graceful. It's because I love a challenge and, even on a good day, I find this pose challenging. Many people find this pose intimidating, but don't let it scare you. All of our bodies are different and only you know your limitations. Do what feels good in your body. This pose helps open up the front of your hips, quads, and lower back.
If you’re just starting out, you may want to use this opportunity to connect to your horse and find some stability.
Warrior III is a challenging pose. It gives stretches through the hips, back and leg muscles, strengthens the back. It also aids in digestion and improves coordination and balance.
Previous blog post in the yoga series: Why Equestrians Should Do Yoga
Next yoga blog post: Strengthening Poses for Equestrians
As always, listen to your body. If you are just starting a new exercise routine, including yoga, you may want to consult your physician.