Horse Wisdom Yoga
As I walked my son to the bus stop this morning, it was a bit windy and he turned around and walked backwards, so as to face his back to the wind. He said "Mama, I love walking backwards, it lets me see where I have already been." I found this statement to be one that was well worth contemplation. Off he went onto the bus with a smile and a wave from the window. I was left standing at the road side with his wise statement in my minds eye. I swear, Children are the greatest teachers!!!
It is very interesting to me when I turn around and look at "where I have already been". Not from a place of dwelling but in a place of curiousity and reflection. A place of witnessing how this incredible manifestation truly has unfolded.
For me, what it was this morning, was a slide show of just how my journey with Horses and Yoga became One....Horse Wisdom Yoga...and why? What was it that Yoga had to offer Horse Wisdom and vice versa, that made this such a powerful Healing Connection? This connection was facilitating my own incredible healing long before I ever took the Certification courses to facilitate this for others...therefore I know, first hand, the power of this connection. But, I have never really understood or even contemplated "why"..
What we all know for sure, for any one who has experienced it, or read one of the many studies gracing the internet and social media, I am pretty certain we can agree that animals, in general, have a calming and therapeutic effect on humans...simple, right? This has been brought down to a few main reasons - the human experiences unconditional love from a non human (thus allowing them to enter a place of willingness and trust that may be blocked in their human relationships due to past experiences that need healing), the healing power of healthy touch and physical connection, the ability to leave the mind and enter the heart space while in connection with the animal.....to name a few. All of these therapeutic effects on the subtle body can help to heal the physical body of the Human in ways such as lower blood pressure, increase in white blood cells, lower cortisol levels...and much more. So this is all very well known and easily accessible information about animals and humans....right? Okay, so why Horses and Yoga?
To go deeper, Horses, in particular, are non predatory animals. Because of this simple fact, the way they operate in their natural instinctual pattern, is quite different than that of a cat or dog. Horses live in a constant state of mindful awareness and require the constant evaluation of energy in order for them to safely navigate their lives as non predatory Beings. What this means is that the Horses can sense dis-ease on, not only a physical level but on a subtle and even karmic level. The Horse will not be at ease until the Human is in a state of Truth and congruency in their Heart space. In more spiritual terms, this is the Soul level. So how do we get there? The Horses, through their very clear, yet subtle cues (you just have to be ready to listen!), will guide the human to their authenticity. When incongruency is present, there will be a lack of ease in the connection with the Horse. Because of this, the Horse will physically mirror what is being picked up in the three bodies of the Human, body, mind and soul (or heart). What this does is, ultimately, increase the level of mindful awareness in the Human, somewhat mirroring that of the Horse, thus beginning the dance between Horse and Human in healing connection. Having been engaged in healing with horses for many years now, I have personally experienced AND seen this with Clients over and over and over and over again. Having said that, it goes well beyond words and reports and has become a truly valid and REAL cognitive observation in this transformative work with Horses.
Well....now let's talk Yoga.
It is a common misconception that Yoga is simply physical exercise or "stretching". Yoga is actually based on eight "limbs". These eight limbs can be simply put as Ethics (yama), Personal Conduct (niyama), Breathing Techniques (pranayama), Postures (asana), Concentration (dharana), Withdrawal of the Senses (pratyahara), Meditation (dhyana) and Absorption (samadhi). While there are many ancient techniques to experience the bountiful benefits of this path to self realization, it takes true dedication to embody the entire eight limbs of the yogic path. The Horses can help to support and encourage this dedication to Yoga. Simply being in their presence and witnessing how they navigate their super mindful lives in a non dualistic way amongst their Herd and their deep connection to Mother Nature (Jai Ma), can elighten the yogic path and become a leading example of body, mind and soul connection. It is also enlightening to witness imbalances with a Horse or a Herd which opens the Self to contemplation and the opportunity to practice the healing power of Yoga with your Horse or within your Herd.
Yogic healing (also known as Ayurveda or the Vedic System) is based on the Three Bodies. These three bodies are the Physical Body, the Subtle Body and the Causal Body. These three bodies can also be referred to as "body, mind and soul". It is believed that the mind is the root of our physical energies and the origin of disease. Most Humans are only aware of their physical body. We visit our Subtle body in dreams, strong emotions and when we feel inspired, but many are unaware of it. In short, for proper functioning of the three bodies, we must take in the proper gross elements (food), subtle elements (impressions) and spiritual qualities (gunas). Given that the Horses put us in direct experience with all three bodies, and also vastly increase our mindful awareness of All That Is....it is no surprise how they can compliment and even expedite the yogic healing experience. BAM! And this, my friends, is only the tip of the iceberg. There are so many yogic philosophies that the Horses have been authentic to their entire existence, right back to their ancestors. As well as in their partnerships with us Humans for over 5000 years. They have the system in their Soul...we just have to listen.
The more I read, the more I study, the more I spend time applying Yoga healing and Horse Wisdom to my own life, the more I realize WHY it all has come together the way it has. Over the years of building this manifestation, I have rarely questioned it. I have rarely doubted it. I have rarely asked my self how I could find comfort in chasing, what seemed like, a pipe dream.
Well, as I walk backwards, with the flow of the wind, I realize that the Horses have guided this all along. They have guided and inspired a healing system and a safe place to explore the elements of it. They have guided me to the right information and experiences so that I could competently teach and share this work with others from a place of authenticity and integrity.
The Horses have guided me, and so many others, Home.
Horse Wisdom Yoga.
We invite you to join us and experience the healing connection.
Fotini and the Horse Teachers xo