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As horse owners and horse riders, we are great at having every professional out to care to our horses to keep them performing at their best and injury-free, whether it be a saddle fitter, physio or farrier.
But we are not so good at caring for ourselves, often with aching limbs and tired bodies. But surely if we look after ourselves better then it can only lead to improving our moods and horse riding performance, this blog explains how yoga for horse riders can be amazingly beneficial.
When you think of yoga often the first picture that may come into your head is some double-jointed, super flexible, tanned yogi, probably with there mid-drift out. However, you do not have to be able to bend yourself in two to be able to benefit and even enjoy taking part in yoga.
Group Classes with an instructor can be brilliant, (when allowed to run and there is not a national pandemic), especially if you are new to taking part and having a professional that can guide you when you need corrections or help. However, I find with the brilliance of youtube you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your own home, plus, you can do it in your own time and pick a length of practice to suite depending on how much time you have, or level of fitness, and it’s free.
There is a plethora of benefits to yoga including
Whilst horse riding helps develop our leg muscles it can also lead to tightness in the front of our hips, hamstrings and calves. (back of legs). Tightness in the hips and hamstrings can cause riders to grip with their knees, which as a result makes it difficult for the lower leg to hang long and be able to use your leg aids as effectively, plus reducing security in the saddle.
Hip-opening exercises can really help to improve the sitting trot and prevent bouncing, and therefore increase flow and harmony in the saddle, as well as security in our seat, for example if a horse were to stumble or spook suddenly, or a drop fence on XC, your balance may not be as dramatically effected.
If you are also a rider that is prone to hunched shoulders and slouching, (especially if you work in a job that means being at a desk and computer all day) yoga is brilliant for opening up the chest and improving posture and shoulder mobility.
It can also help improve our straightness, as horse owners and grooms we are often mucking out and sweeping, carrying heavy items, these tasks are not only demanding on the body but often lead us to work very unevenly through our bodies.
Are you sold yet on taking part in some yoga practices?
There are some great 30 day courses to follow on youtube which we will link to a bit further down, so you could just pick one to follow and it’ll mean you don’t have to look for a new video each day you can save it to your library to pick up each time you want to do a session.
I personally feel the benefit and find it manageable to aim for 2 sessions a week (around 30-40mins) but if you can fit a short 20-minute session in daily (or longer if you wish) then that will help stop any tightness creeping in after a long day at the stables. I think (like anything) it is more important to aim for an amount and routine you can stick to consistently though.
Yoga with Adrienne is my favourite, she is a bit cooky and occasionally waffles on a bit too much, but she directs you brilliantly whether completely new or more experienced.
Sometimes you feel like she is in the room with you as she’ll say a correction just after you feel yourself slip into something that isn’t quite right. With over 9 million youtube subscribers there are many others that enjoy her classes too. (She also has an adorable dog called Benji who is often in attendance)
I personally like to just get on with it and get moving (so I fast-forward these bits if they are in it, not all videos do). I find that the sitting, breathing and getting into the zone is not very beneficial to me, but you may find if you are someone that is highly stressed and tense this time allows you to relax into it.
This video is great as a one-off or to go to every so often and it’s especially for us equestrians!!
A couple of Yoga with Adrienne’s 30 day plans to keep you going with a plan for longer
A couple of other great channels and classes include:
We hope this blog inspires you to have a go at some yoga and as a result you reap the benefits both in normal life and in your horse riding. Go to the Horse Search Instagram and let us know how you get on, and if you need any other fitness inspiration be sure to go and check out our Horse Rider Fitness Blog.