We know riding requires a healthy, strong body and a calm mind and attitude.
Whether you are a horse owner or a riding enthusiast, the list of yoga poses below will not only develop your body and make you more comfortable as a rider, it will also calm your mind, improve your concentration and help you achieve a relaxed state of being that will also benefit your four hoofed friend.
Thunderbolt Pose – Vajrasana
This simple pose is very effective to stretch the lower body and increase flexibility and mobility in the knees, ankles and hips. This yoga pose teaches the practitioner internal thigh rotation and reduces tightness in thighs – which makes it an ideal choice for riders.
Horse lovers suffering from sciatica or severe lower back problems are advised to practice this pose regularly to fully enjoy the benefits.
On an internal level this posture aids digestion, alleviates constipation and strengthens the sexual organs.
When sitting in the pose, breathe deeply and fully – it will help you induce a meditative state, calm the mind and relax the nerves.
Bound Angle Pose – Baddha konasana
Whilst sitting in the ´butterfly´ pose we work on increasing the blood flow to the lower parts of the body and the abdomen, which in turn improves digestion and the functioning of the internal organs and can leave one feeling energized.
Riders will benefit from this asana greatly, as it stretches the groin, knee, inner thigh and hip areas. Regular practice will reduce stiffness in the hips and thighs and improved hip and groin flexibility will lead to longer riding ability and comfort as well as reducing post riding stiffness.
Crescent Low Lunge – Anjaneyasana
The crescent low lung works on developing stamina and endurance in the thighs and can be an ideal choice for riders who also want to increase spinal mobility, improve posture and release lower back pain.
Whilst holding the pose, the hips, thighs, groins and hamstrings are deeply engaged, which aids in deepening the stretch, developing the lower body and increasing its range of motion. The glutes and quadriceps are being strengthened, whilst the psoas and the hips are being stretched. Additionally, the anjaneyasana stretches the knees and ankles and regular practice can help relief sciatica. This yoga pose also expands and opens the shoulders, chest and lungs, literally helping the practicioner to breathe better.
This pose challenges (and improves) one´s balance and concentration.
Tree Pose – Vrkasana
Like all balancing exercises, the tree pose improves and focuses on balance, concentration, alertness and endurance. This easy posture works on the core, tones muscles and ligaments in the legs up and improves neuromuscular coordination.
The latter is the ability of the central nervous system to control a muscle, or a muscle group in order to perform a specific task unconsciously. A highly developed ¨motor control´, will be nothing less than beneficial for equestrians as they continue developing their riding skills.
Happy Baby Pose – Ananda Balasana
The happy baby pose is easy, accessible and works perfectly to release the lower body, open the hips and lengthen the hamstrings. This posture promotes spinal health, as it opens up the tighter areas in the hips and lower back.
Whilst in the pose, the sacrum is also being released and decompressed, which has a positive effect on both lower and upper body. The sacrum is responsible for developing a strong pelvis, supporting the spine and the upper body and protecting the vital, internal organs.
Those riders suffering from tired and tight legs will benefit greatly from practicing this pose regularly.