Equestrian Yoga applies yoga asana and breathing exercises to the practice of horseback riding. Specific yoga postures practiced both on and off the horse help the rider to develop the core strength, flexibility and balance necessary to support his/her weight on the horse with more comfort and control. In addition, yogic breathing exercises help the rider to become more relaxed and calm on the horse, which in turn helps the horse to feel more settled. Since the horse is sensitive to every subtle physical, mental, or emotional imbalance in the rider, developing mindful awareness of one’s body and energy can greatly improve the trust and communication between rider and horse. Through the practice of Equestrian Yoga, riders learn to tune in to themselves and to their horse in the same way that the horse is tuned in to them, achieving true “union” with their horse.
What to expect
During an Equestrian Yoga class, you will practice hatha yoga postures that help build strength and flexibility in the core, back, shoulders and hips--those key muscles and joints activated while riding. As you practice, you will feel your stiffness ease and your mind become more centered. You will learn to use your breath as an aid for settling nerves and staying in sync with your horse. You may also practice some postures and breathing exercises while mounted, staying mindful of how you are communicating with your horse through your body. Over time, practicing Equestrian Yoga will not only keep you in better shape for riding, but will help you develop more inner calm and confidence and a better connection with your horse.
Equestrian Yoga has emerged in the last twenty years, as awareness of yoga has exploded in the West, infiltrating many other athletic and sporting traditions. Equestrians such as Danny Chapparo have discovered that yoga has many physical, mental and emotional benefits that are very applicable to horseback riding. Equestrian Yoga classes, workshops and retreats can be found throughout the world.