Horseback Yoga Trips

Horseback Yoga is a natural horsemanship approach which integrates yoga, breath and body awareness to establish a rewarding connection between horse and human, to facilitate healing, and to increase self awareness.  This approach is well suited for groups of up to six riders.  The experience can be tailored to families, groups, or individuals.  Half-day, all day, overnight camping up to five day camping experiences are available.  Appropriate for ages ten and older.

Jessie Tierney, Certified Yoga Instructor

HALF DAY HORSEBACK YOGA EXPERIENCE: FOCUS ON AWARENESS & SKILLS (3 hours)

Establishing a Connection

  • Tuning into the breath and centering the body
  • Yoga asanas (postures) beside the horses Tuning into the horse’s breath and rhythms
  • Integrating your rhythms with the horse’s
  • Philosophy and practice of effective inter-species communication

Round pen Demonstration & Horses as Healers

  • Natural Horsemanship approach:Pressure and release; approach and retreat
  • Taoist nature of horses: herd/prey animal mentality and the importance of being present, of owning the emotions instead of masking them

Bareback Yoga in the Round pen

  • Centering the breath and body
  • Finding rhythm, balance, determination and surrender
  • Yoga asanas on horseback; stretching, bending, flowing with the horse’s motion
  • Focus on seat: walk, trot, and bridle-less halt

Bareback Practice in the Arena

  • Breathing practice: help your horse sigh, relaxing, connecting
  • Bareback Yoga asanas on horseback at the halt, walk
  • Incorporating the bridle: steering and control through seat, pressure and release
  • Balance, rhythm and the breath at the walk and trot
  • Pattern work; incorporating a calm, gentle, persistent approach through challenges

ALL DAY HORSEBACK YOGA: CONTINUED FOCUS ON SKILLS & AWARENESS (8 hours)

Morning follows the Half Day HORSEBACK YOGA Itinerary, followed by:

Trail Ride Under Saddle

  • Establishing/deepening the connection: expanding the awareness from horse and rider to the natural world surrounding horse and rider: reading the horse’s signals, the experience of a herd animal
  • Becoming an effective team: navigating obstacles, going beyond fight or flight response through an awareness of the breath

Lunch on the Trail

  • A packed or driven-out lunch
  • Optional short 15-minute yoga/meditation practice

Continued Trail Ride

  • Oneness with nature
  • Technical riding skills on the trail: steering through trees; using the body and the breath to ride and communicate most effectively
  • Equine partner as source of information: the ride as a partnership

OVERNIGHT HORSEBACK YOGA EXPERIENCE: DEEPENING FOCUS ON AWARENESS & SKILLS (18 hours)

DAY ONE follows the All Day Horseback Yoga Itinerary, followed by:

Arrival at campsite by 6pm
Herd Observation (during time horses graze at campsite)

  • Prompted journaling/self-reflection on the experience thus far
  • Goal-setting, intentionality and the value of conscious intentional riding and living
  • Observing the herd, recording observations on herd behavior
  • Group meditation
  • Sharing/group debrief

Campfire Dinner

  • Vegan/vegetarian/Ayurvedic meals (with a lesson in healthy lifestyle and cooking) can include spiced black bean stuffed avocados, saffron asparagus kichadi (Ayurvedic stew), quinoa lentil chili, and many more

Evening Yoga Practice Among the Herd

DAY TWO: BUILDING COMMUNITY

Morning Yoga Practice Among the Herd

  • Moving alongside the horse as it grazes
  • Expanding the yoga mind to daily rituals—physically moving the horses when needed amidst an active morning yoga practice
  • Setting an intention for the day
  • Group debrief: how do we integrate yoga with our everyday lives?

Herd Observation (during time horses graze at campsite)

  • Prompted journaling/self-reflection
  • Observing the herd, recording observations
  • Meditation
  • Optional sharing of observations and insights

Starting the Day

  • Grooming, tacking up, reestablishing the connection
  • Mounting
  • Yoga on horseback: postures under saddle, breath work

Morning Trail Ride

  • Deepening the connection
  • Stopping at scenic points along the trail: discuss roots of Yoga, how to access serenity in the everyday
  • Joyfulness in the approach to each movement
  • Picking up speed: exploring the freedom associated with the lope (group competency permitting)

Noon Asana Practice

  • An active vinyasa flow practice
  • Eat packed lunch after asanas

Afternoon Trail Ride Back to Barn

  • Time to reflect, observe, practice newly honed skills

Final Bareback Ride in the Arena

  • Exploring new confidence & growth
  • Games on horseback
  • Pushing comfort boundaries

Final Asana Practice and Debrief

  • Sharing and celebrating epiphanies/growth
  • Applying skills and growth to life back home
  • Final grooming session and goodbyes to the horses

5-DAY HORSEBACK YOGA EXPERIENCE: FOCUS on LEADERSHIP, REFLECTION, and INTEGRATION

This experience can be extended for up to a 5-day long pack trip, incorporating goals tailored to the group’s needs.  Possibilities are endless!  Please contact Jessie for more information.

Yee-Haw!  Namaste.

Click here for stories about previous Horseback Yoga Pack Trips!

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