Monday, April 27, 2015

Yoga, Horses, and Young Kids:  a Winning Combination

Today we had a major breakthrough in our yoga and horseback riding class.  Our youngest rider came today for his one hour class.  He arrived eager with a smile on his face and, as usual, a million questions;  porque?...  This young boy is curious about everything!

When he first came to us he was afraid of the horses, the dogs, and the cats.  He would cling to his Poppi and shy away from the horses.  The first time he actually rode one of our horses was a great feat for all of us.  Today, after just 3 classes of riding solo in the arena he asked if he could trot.  Previously he was adamantly opposed to doing anything more than a slow shuffle with the horses.

With a smile, and of course many questions, we rode together on Centella, our 18  year old mare, in a trot around and around our arena.  What a joy! and then he even cantered for a short time.

Usually after riding in the arena we take a walk around our garden, with one of us walking beside him at all times.  Today we did something special;  with his riding helmet on and on a lead rein we walked down our driveway and onto our small country lane.  This was his first trail ride!  He asked if we going far or near.  He asked why he had to wear a helmet.  He asked why Centella was walking close to my horse, Half-Pint.  He asked why and when he could go further.  He asked why the road was hard.  He asked why we had to turn around and head home.  He asked and asked and asked.  This kid has an insatiable curiosity about life.

Afterwards he happily helped take off the riding pads and halters and lead the horses to the pasture after saying "muchas gracias" to both of them.  

This young rider has come a long way.  In our yoga and horse back riding classes he is learning confidence in himself and his own actions and he is learning how to communicate and bond with another animal.

Congratulations Matty, good job!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

What is meditation and how to do it?  Oftentimes just the word "meditation" is intimidating.  We have images of  either ascetic and skinny Indian men sitting motionless in a cave or we have beatific images of a rotund Buddha sitting contentedly under a tree.

For me, as I travel my own yoga journey, meditation has come to mean true mindfullness in every moment.  That moment can be during a sunset dance meditation on the beach, or a quiet moment with my horse.
Being aware of each breath I take and  being sensitive to my own emotions  for me defines a large part of my  yoga practice.  Meditation is part of the practice and the goal of the practice.

Just as yoga is the practice and the goal.  The observance of Yoga and of Meditation give us the tools to go further into our practice and deeper into our meditation but these observances are complete in themselves and as such are the goal.  Your practice is your achievement.

There is no sudden arrival at your Yoga, or Union.  You experience it every day.  As BKS Iyengar said, yoga is 99% practice and 1% theory, do it and all will come.