Balance. Flexibility. Endurance. A strong center. Control of your body.
I need as much of that as I can get my hands on! It helps with our horsemanship and work with all animals, too. Actually, we’re lost without it! We expect our animals to be all of those things (balanced, flexible, fit, centered…), but we need to be, as well! So I figure… why not do it together?
Yoga is becoming more and more of my daily “routine”, and my dog, Mowgli, has been joining! Well, he can’t do most of the poses, but he’s there in spirit and for motivation! He is very good at the Downward Dog pose… but I’ve been having the most fun with simply reaching down and touching my toes. I reach down and Mowgli “bows”. At first I had to tell him, “bow” whenever I stretched, because I thought it was cute. Today was the first day he did it on his own! Twice, actually! Then he rolls around at my feet and tries to get me to pet him because my “hands are already so low, why not pet a dog”??
He gets all excited when I stretch, laying down, stretching on his own, coming over to me – it probably has quite a bit to do with the calm energy that comes from us when we stretch and relax our bodies. So, it seems like a great thing to do! I will start thinking about other stretches my dog could do with me as I do it more.
As far as horse-yoga – there are actually quite a few moves I do! They would be best explained and shown in a video and you have to remember to bring along some carrots. 🙂 Here’s an easy one to explain, though, and it is great for a horse’s spine. Make sure your horse feels comfortable with and truly trusts you standing behind him or her. Hold their tail plant your feet, relax your body, and slowly lean back. You’re stretching the spine by lightly pulling (even though I don’t really like how rough that word makes it sound) the tail. Don’t do it suddenly or with all your weight. Ease into it, just like you would stretch your own muscles. Your horse might be very stiff or sore and could need a slow introduction. This move can also be a light chiropractic exercise (but, of course, consult a professional equine chiropractor for actual adjustments!).
Have you tried some animal yoga? I would really love to get some inspiration and hear your stories and exercises!