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A lot of people give me either goofy smiles of bewilderment or blank stares of "huh?" when I mention combining my passion for Yoga with my passion for horses. Both fulfill me so much, and I feel my life has been transformed in an ever-changing way by both of these passions.
Yoga is a science that teaches us how to find our Soul, or some would say, our Self-realization. True horsemanship does the same thing. Both are transformative practices. Both are experiential practices. I like to tell my students, 'you cannot escape yoga, it will grab you, it will transform you, whether you came to your yoga practice with that goal or not." A true horseman will tell you, "the only way to learn to ride and to learn your horse is to spend time in the saddle and with your horse." Just as the only way to know yoga is to experience it and do your practice every day.
A yoga practice and a Yoga Teacher Training Course that incorporates an equine partner offers a concrete experience for the student to put theory into practice. In a YTT course we learn not just 20 different asanas, various pranayama techniques, mudras and mantras, we also have the opportunity to "live" the yoga life for those 3 precious weeks. In this time period, we get to practice in our daily life yogic principals of yamas, niyamas, and of all the 8 limbs of Yoga according to Patanjali. With the equine component, students can practice their meditation and mantra chanting in the company of their horse. They can experience first hand the exchange and sharing of energetic vibrations of sound and magnetism between themselves and their horse. Practicing yoga asanas beside your horse, sometimes even on top of your horse, is a unique experience that expands the heart and soul.
Chakras are present in both humans and horses, actually all animals. We can practice deepening our awareness of the energy emanating from the chakras by meditating with our horse and focussing on the chakra's color, energy, specific organ, sound, image, and meaning.
Horses are finely tuned to emotions; those on the surface and those hidden deep in our psyche. In many instances, people have experienced deeply-felt emotions in the presence of horses. A yoga practice shows us how to channel the energy of these emotions into a positive transformation of oneself. An equine partner eases this journey.
A YTT course with horses offers a wider range of experiences to its students to truly experience a yogic life and to expand their level of self-knowledge.