Yoga for riders can help you stay in alignment with your horse and flexible in the saddle, maintain your balance, and build your core strength. In my annual riding and yoga retreats for women at Colorado’s C Lazy U Ranch, I share with other riders yoga poses that help my own strength and balance in the saddle.
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One of my favorite yoga poses for riding is the Triangle Pose. This pose stretches your lower back and helps you extend your reach as you become aware of your shoulders and ribcage.
The Sanskrit word for this pose is “Trikonasana”—“tri” (“three”), “kona” (“angle”), and “asana” (“pose”).
As you practice this pose, distribute your weight evenly. Make sure all your toes are on the floor and that you’re using all the parts of your feet to ground you. Be strong, and focus on being in balance. When you’re ready, repeat the pose on the opposite side.
(Disclaimer: If you have any physical concerns, consult your physician before practicing yoga.)
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The Triangle Pose
1. Start in the Mountain Pose, your feet together and your arms by your side. Breathe rhythmically.
2. Take a wide step to the left so that your feet are about 4 to 5 feet apart. Make sure your heels are aligned.
3. Raise your hands to shoulder height, parallel to the floor. Extend your fingertips to points far to the distance. Tuck your tailbone, and activate your lower stomach muscles so that you stand with strength.
4. Turn your left foot 90 degrees, then turn your left hand so that it points in the same direction as left foot. Keep your right foot pointing forward, directly in line with your knee.
5. Bend your left knee until it’s at a 90-degree angle. Adjust your feet to make sure your knee doesn’t extend over your toe. Make sure your left thigh is parallel to the ground. (You can leave your left leg straight if you’ve practiced the pose and it feels comfortable.)
6. As you breathe in, reach down to the ground with your left hand. Keep both arms extended from your core.
7. Rest your left elbow against your knee while keeping your right arm extended to the sky.
8. Look up toward your right arm. Hold for one minute, focusing on balance.
9. After one minute, inhale, lift your torso back up, move your arms up to your shoulder height, straighten your bent leg, and move your feet back to face forward. Move slowly, without jarring your body.
Trainer and clinician Julie Goodnight, Poncha Springs, Colorado, hosts RFD-TV’s Horse Master. Her book, Goodnight’s Guide to Great Trail Riding, is available at EquineNetworkStore.com. Learn more about Julie’s program and training methods at JulieGoodnight.com.