Yoga can not only strengthen and relax our body, but also improve our life. Especially for horse people, yoga can be a valuable addition to riding and working with horses. As a longtime horse trainer and yoga teacher, I know the positive effects of yoga on riding. In this article I want to share my story and my newest offer for horse people like you.
Why Yoga for Riders?
When I first sat on a horse at the age of 5, I was thrilled. I loved the connection to this beautiful animal and the feeling of freedom I found while riding. Everything was easy and playful. However, as I grew older, more issues came up that tarnished my riding experience. In my teenage years, I felt quite unathletic and inflexible, the reason being a classical one: my perfomance in school sports. What we did and were graded for there just wasn’t my thing, and I kept receiving the message, one way or another: “Sorry, you’re just not that athletic.”
At 16, I spent seven months on a ranch in Oklahoma and spent even more time in western saddles than before… and eventually sat on horseback like a cowboy. One of the less elegant kind – with rather round shoulders and what you could call a chair seat. As I increasingly found work as a horse trainer and riding instructor because I seemed to have a natural connection to the animals and could handle difficult horses well, a kind of “riding shame” arose: I felt that I wasn’t sitting on the horse as well as I would have liked to in my role as an instructor and trainer.
Later, when I started working in an office in addition to my work as a with horses, I began to have increasing problems with my shoulders and neck. I often felt stressed and also had to realize that I had very little body awareness. I observed these issues more or less consciously over several years. On some level, I also knew that I had to change something to improve my riding.
I was fortunate to have met American horseman Mark Rashid in 2009, relatively early in my career as a horse trainer. I learned as much as I could from him and soon began to integrate his ideas more and more into my work. His approach of seeing horsemanship as a philosophy and also integrating breath and energy work into riding and horse training fascinated me, and I increasingly worked on these concepts with my students.
And so it was also a student who introduced me to yoga at the age of 20. I had actually thought that I was more of a hands-on Pilates type, but I tried to be curious and open to new experiences. I was surprised at how quickly I noticed first successes with yoga – and on how many different levels: I developed a stronger body awareness, became more flexible, could concentrate better again, and I became more relaxed. It seemed as if yoga was literally making me better at everything – magical. And of course, this had a direct and holistic impact on my riding and time with my horse.
Why was I able to stick with it? I think it’s because I had expertly taught yoga classes that touched, moved, and encouraged me in different ways. I had regular appointments and later could also practice yoga via DVD and online and thus was always able to integrate yoga into my life. And I continually found yoga teachers with inspiring themes that helped me discover more and more connections between horsemanship and yoga philosophy and really recognize the deeper connection. Because: It’s all one, sometimes we just need the right starting point to recognize that.
Yoga helped me make my body more flexible and agile. I found significantly more stability, mobility, and ease in the saddle, and a new inner softness for the connection with my horses.
My body awareness improved immensely. I was able to control myself much more sensibly, use my body more consciously, and contract and relax its parts as needed. I could detect and correct imbalances and asymmetries more quickly before being alerted to them from the outside or watching myself in the mirror.
I was better able to respond to the horse’s movements, perceived its subtle signals to me much more consciously. I began to feel the horses better and was able to respond more directly to their feedback, which of course led to freer and more contented horses and a deeper connection in ground and saddle work.
I learned to use my breathing more consciously and use it to resonate with the horse and shape our contact further.
I was increasingly able to react less reflexively and more consciously. This made me feel more in control of my own body and therefore more secure in any situation.
And, of course: my shoulder and neck pain disappeared.
My new yoga offer for equestrians
I was so enthusiastic about the positive effects of yoga on my riding that I knew I had to go deeper. So, I completed a yoga teacher training. However, during this training, it became clear to me that this was only the tip of the iceberg. Many other advanced courses, training modules, and workshops followed, reading countless books, learning from many great teachers around the world… and it continues to this day. I love to learn, to delve deeper into yoga and its connection to our contact with horses and to develop it further with my students.
I stumbled upon my initial offer specifically for equestrians by chance: Customers and equestrians in my area approached me, saying that I always seem so calm and clear, and asked if I could teach them yoga too. I started with individual yoga classes and workshops, and during the Corona period, we moved to Zoom. From there, my online yoga courses for equestrians developed, which have now been completed by several hundred riders. And the feedback is overwhelmingly positive!
When I thought about what I could do to further develop my offer, I remembered a statement that I hear from many course participants over and over again: “During our course, I was doing so well – but afterwards, I just couldn’t keep it up…”
It was this feedback and ultimately my own story, the reasons why I was able to stick with it myself, that led me to develop my new yoga offer for horse people: The
BODY, MIND & Horses Yoga Club
The BODY, MIND & HORSES Yoga Club is a yoga subscription model specifically designed for riders – by the way, the first of its kind that I have discovered worldwide.
Every week, there are new contents and yoga classes tailored to the needs of horse riders. A growing library of videos and audios of varying lengths is available anytime, enabling yoga to be integrated into your own schedule.
The BMH Yoga Club is at least as diverse as my own yoga classes back then, so that participants can benefit just as much – which is highly motivating. In addition to yoga asanas, we use breathing exercises, meditation, energy work, nervous system and mindset exercises, and much more to achieve results on many levels.
Through the club aspect, there is exchange and connection with like-minded female and male riders who offer support and inspiration. We meet monthly for live Zoom yoga classes, which deepen this connection even further.
And: The whole thing is in English. It is simply my goal to reach, support and connect with as many riders and their horses as possible, and English is simply the best way to do that. I have been living part of my life in English for over 20 years and simply love the language. Therefore, I am thrilled that it can now become a larger part of my work aswell.
The BODY, MIND & HORSES Yoga Club is suitable for all riders who want to improve their riding and deepen their connection to their horse. It is the result of my experience and knowledge as a yoga teacher, coach and horse trainer.
I hope that my story and the new offer of the BODY, MIND & HORSES Yoga Club will help even more horse people experience the positive effects of yoga on their riding and their relationship with their horse, and that they and their horses can benefit from it.
For a limited time only: Do you want to be a founding member?
Do you want to be a part of something exciting from the very beginning and benefit from unique advantages? The club is still in its early stages and I would like to shape and develop it together with a small group of dedicated horse people. Do you want to be a part of it? If you register as a “founding member” of the club, you will be there from the start, you can dive straight into the weekly new yoga videos and you will receive approximately 50% discount on the club fee – and therefore guaranteed the lowest price the membership will ever be available for. And: Of course, this price will remain the same for the entire duration of your membership, even if prices increase from October onwards.
This offer is only valid until August 10. Please feel free to contact me via email if you would like to participate, and I will send you the link to the offer.