Category Archives: Horseback Yoga Workshops

Welcome!

HAYLOFT YOGA CLASSES

Balance_Peace_Hayloft_Yoga

First class: April 9, 2019

Every Tuesday from 7:00 — 8:00 pm
Arrive at least 10 minutes before class starts
$10

No preregistration necessary ~ drop-ins are welcome!
Double S Quarter Horses,
upstairs in the hayloft
15216 Colony Road
Bow, WA 98232
(directions)

Horse lovers welcome! This yoga class is specifically designed for equestrians across disciplines with all levels of yoga experience.  In this practice, we focus on areas that translate to a better seat in the saddle and ways to better connect with your Ture Self and your horse.  We stretch and strengthen hips, hamstrings, shoulders, core, & build balance, posture, and breath.  Come see how Yoga and Horseback Riding are far more complementary than you may think! Bring a mat and blanket if you have them.


 HORSEBACK YOGA WORKSHOPS

Codi-Fletch-TwistBring your yoga practice off the mat … and onto your horse’s back!

Inquire with Jessie about upcoming workshops at various locations across the Skagit Valley or schedule a Horseback Yoga Workshop at your local barn.

Click here for details.


 JESSIE TIERNEY, DPT, E-RYT

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Jessie Tierney, CRYT

Jessie is as passionate about using a gentle, heartfelt approach to horsemanship as she is about the benefits of yoga.  Jessie has been an active member of the Yoga Alliance since 2011 with over one thousand hours of yoga teaching experience, and she has been working with horses since she was 8 years old (that’s over 20 years).

Jessie is also a Doctor of Physical Therapy working in Bellingham, and she brings an in-depth understanding of anatomy, physiology, and functional movement as well as an integration of energy systems to her offerings.


 CONTACT

Please contact Jessie with inquiries:

 

or (312) 857-3454
Click here to sign up for the Horseback Yoga e-mail list.



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Horseback Yoga ~ Hoofbeat Attunement

Horseback_YogaIt just doesn’t get better than this!  Tonight was the second night in a row of horse & yoga amazingness.

Last evening was a beautiful practice in the Hayloft, and tonight I met up with my gifted friend Matney to co-teach a private Horseback Yoga ~ Hoofbeat Attunement session to a dear friend and her lovely and articulate 14-year old  stepdaughter.

Sometimes I am just in awe that this is my life!  All my dreams have come true.  I get to spend the next year and a half teaching more and more people this beautiful way to connect with themselves, their bodies, and their horses.  What more could a girl ask for?

Inner_Focus

From the cool evening breeze to the thousands of lilies bordering the facility to the sweet connection that happened between Mike (the horse) and his human partners, it was a lovely session.  Matney’s deeply intuitive instruction and guidance is always so enlightening.  Our darling participants were open and interested in absorbing all that they could from the experience.  I am especially grateful to Mike for being such a sweet and instructive yoga teacher, offering licks and chews, nodding when in agreement, yawning, and turning his neck so he could see just what his rider was doing on his back each time she found a new pose.  His partners really learned a new language thanks to his clear teaching.  And thank you, ladies, for your sweet enthusiasm and making tonight just beautiful in every way.

Partner_Vrksasana

I so look forward to many more Horseback Yoga ~ Hoofbeat Attunement collaborations in the future!

Stay tuned for more.  And please contact Matney or myself to inquire.

Happy Trails!

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Stay tuned …

Horseback Yoga Twist… for the first Horseback Yoga workshop of 2014!

Sneak preview: This 2-day workshop built around improving your horsemanship and deepening your connection with your equine partner will be hosted by Double S Quarter Horses in Bow, WA, and will be scheduled for a weekend in May.

March 3-4, 2014
as a part of the Extreme Horsemanship Clinic at Double S Quarter Horses

Each morning opens with a yoga practice in the hayloft (taught by yours truly), transitioning to yoga on your horse (also taught by me), and then on to horsemanship workshops taught by Sue Sultze & Tom Pasma.

Call Sue to inquire and to register for the workshop: 360-661-5026

Click here to join Jessie’s yoga e-mail list and get updates to your inbox.

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Fall Updates

Changes to Yoga. Be sure to catch the last 2 Hayloft Yoga classes of the season!

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June 25, 2013 · 9:59 pm

Horseback Yoga at Big Lake Stables

Horseback-Extended-Tadasana

SUNDAY JULY 7th
ALL LEVELS HORSEBACK YOGA WORKSHOP
12 noon ~ 3 pm
$40 includes arena use fee   ~   Free to “audit” (participate/observe on foot)

Big Lake Stables is located at 16550 State Route 9, Mount Vernon, WA

Here are the best ways you can prepare:

  • Please bring a trusted horseperson friend to hold your horse for you if needed.  It is also possible to partner up and spend half the time riding and the other half holding for your partner.
  • Show up on Sunday with a sense of play and childlike curiosity.  Let go of former approaches to horsemanship or expectations, and have an open mind about trying something new, even if just for a day.
  • If you have not already made payment arrangements with Terri or Jessie, please bring cash/check on Sunday.
  • Have your horse groomed by 12 noon.  If your horse would prefer, keep her/him in a stall while we do yoga (or you can leave her/him tied around the perimeter of the arena).
  • Wear comfortable riding clothes and boots.  Contrary to what you may have heard, you can absolutely do yoga in boots and jeans.  However, for our purposes, it is easier to move in flexible pants like breeches rather than tight-fitting jeans.  Wear what you will be comfortable moving in.  
  • No yoga mat or special equipment needed.  Bridle, hackamore, or whatever you are used to riding with is all the tack you need (no saddles!).
  • Okay to eat lunch before we start.
  • Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any other questions or concerns.

The workshop will flow somewhat like this:

  • We’ll start at noon with a 1-hour yoga practice in the arena (horses can be groomed & tied around the arena or in their stalls while we humans do our yoga).
  • At about 1pm, after human yoga, we’ll bring our horses into the arena to help them stretch.
  • Next, we’ll bridle our horses, then do some breathing practice and work on deepening our connection with our horses.
  • After that, we’ll each mount up, one at a time.  Please be comfortable bareback.
  • We will proceed with breathing & connection horseback, and then move into poses on horseback.
  • Trust that you don’t have to try anything that you are not comfortable with.  Come with a supportive attitude toward your fellow horses and riders.

I look forward to practicing yoga with each of you!

Please contact me using the form below:

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Yee-Haw, Namaste Part I

Written by Jessie Tierney, Certified Yoga Instructor and Summer 2011 Wrangler at Sanborn Western Camps.

HorseYoga2By far the most gratifying part of my third summer at Sanborn has been the opportunity I’ve been offered to teach girls yoga on (and off) horses.

On our four-day pack trip, seven ladies and two counselors joined me in a quest to find a deeper connection to Horse and Self through yogic principles.

Many people associate yoga with postures and flexibility (the asanas), which, while an important part of this practice (and especially photogenic), is not the entire picture. Through four days of waking up early to let the horses out to graze, practicing breathing, long rides on and off-trail, technical riding practice and games in the arena, discussing qualities of exceptional humans and horses, practicing patience and persistence, we began to explore some of the more subtle aspects of Yoga and how Yoga can apply to our lives on and off the horses.

I was inspired by this group of ladies–they were eager to learn more about their mounts and had a deep commitment to strengthening their bond with their horse over a short four days. They all succeeded. One of the horses who was often skiddish and would often pull back on the lead rope, shying away when approached by a human, seemed to settle into his skin, so to speak, and actually watched for his rider, following her with calmer eyes than I had seen on him since I met him. Another horse who is known for prancing on the trail and rarely flat-walking seemed to melt under his rider as she practiced slow, long breaths. The sweet mule on our trip who did have a mule-like stubbron tendency when she was away from her buddy in the herd seemed to replace that horse-partner with her human-partner, nickering when her rider walked near. These were subtle differences that might not be noticed if we weren’t watching for them, but the nature of this long trip allowed for us the extra time and space for observation and reflection.

HorseYoga3

Not only the horses benefited from this trip. Each girl in turn seemed to more willingly take on the responsibility for her horse than I have seen in my years of leading horse trips. Her investment in the welfare of her horse was great, and I heard not one single “are we done yet?” while we let the horses graze for four hours (instead of three) each morning and each evening, under steady watch of their riders. Girls willingly volunteered to contribute to our small community’s well being–”Should I take down these tents?” “Do you want me to collect the dishes?” “Can I let my horse graze some more?” “Do you need to borrow my headlamp?” The counselors and I honored these qualities in the girls by awarding them aspen leaves, a GROW STRONG tradition at Sanborn, naming qualities like LeadershipHelpfulnessOptimismGreat Attitude in each girl and writing the instance down on a leaf. The ladies cheered for one another in our evening circles, and we discussed ideas like Community, Leadership, and Integration.

The entire feeling of this long trip was serene. I don’t remember ever feeling over-tired or stressed (common sentiments Grazingon any typical long trip). Yet it was not any small feat; this four-day trip that took the ladies and their mounts off-campus. I think what made the difference between this trip and others I have led was our strong, unified Intention that we took the time to set at the beginning of our journey. I think it helped that we practiced yoga in various forms throughout the trip: Meditation, an active Asana Practice, Partner Yoga, “Hawking Yoga” (in the field next to a grazing horse), Bareback Yoga. We had an excellent discussion on GRATITUDE, and how the simple act of waking up in the morning and listing off five things we are grateful for can totally set the stage for the day or pull us out of any funk. We spoke about how attitude is a choice and that we can choose, literally, to be joyful. HorseYoga1One of the girls started out the trip rolling her eyes at a lot of these ideas, but after our Attitude discussion, she was all smiles and seemed to get a lot out of the activities she’d previously felt were juvenile.

I am so proud of these girls. They trusted one another, they slowed down and allowed themselves time for reflection, they became vulnerable to one another and shared their inner and outer observations. These are all things that our culture rarely allows time for. Even camp, which is meant to provide for these opportunities, can feel cramped for time and space when we have so many objectives and goals in mind. I am so grateful to the folks “in charge” at Sanborn for allowing such a trip to happen, for their encouragement!, and for trusting that it is truly not the destination but the journey that matters.

YEE-HAW, NAMASTE!

Click here for more Tails from the Barn.

 

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Yee-Haw Namaste, Part II

By Jessie Tierney, Certified Yoga Instructor and Sanborn Wrangler for the Sanborn Western Camps Blog, 2011.

Sugar, a typically grumpy horse, transformed throughout the week into a pleasant, happy mare!

Sugar, a typically grumpy horse, transformed throughout the week into a pleasant, happy mare!

After such a successful first Horse Yoga Long Trip, I could not imagine it getting even better.

With a new group of 9 campers, two staff and a total of 14 horses, we set out this time on a 5-day trek to unite with ourselves, our equine partners and each other . . . and this exceptional group of ladies made our 5-day trip an experience I’ll never forget.

One especially important element of this Horse Yoga trip was providing journals to campers at the start of the week. We sat on the front porch at the barn and talked about the power of Intention. With ideas of manifesting our dreams in mind, we made them concrete by writing them down in our small journals. The girls were asked to keep track of their intention throughout the trip, taking the time during Hawking (watching the horses graze for 6 hours each day) to answer some of the prompts I included in the pages, and also writing whatever came to mind on the blank sheets. This week was punctuated by torrential rain on each of the five nights, but this did not stop the girls from pulling their journals and pens from their cantle packs to huddle inside their ponchos and write. We made sure to “debrief” each evening, sharing some of the insights they came up with in the presence of their munching horses and the sound of rain. We woke up each morning with sloshy boots and soaked jeans, but thanks to the Colorado morning sun, we were dry before heading back out on the trail.

We talked about the girls’ answer to the prompt: “What is your Dream for the Future?” Answers were as varied as the ladies in the group, and we learned one girl’s dream to become a vet despite her allergies to animals. Another girl spoke of working with an organization to end child trafficking. A third hoped to overcome her anxiety and nervousness around competition, and said that she was looking forward to using the breathing exercises we had learned in one of the yoga practices. As we shared our dreams with one another to the backdrop of our horses grazing in a hay field, we became vulnerable–together–and provided support that felt tangible. It was like etching our dreams in stone, solidifying these intentions and banding together to make them manifest, our horses and one another as witnesses. It felt powerful.

Happy CamperOne Happy Camper!

This trip’s destinations allowed for us to do more bareback yoga on the trail–3 of our 4 camping spots had arena setups which allowed the girls to ride without a saddle. Something profound happened here, too. One evening, we un-tacked the horses, hung their bridles on a tree branch and stacked their saddles below. After we’d allowed the horses to eat for three hours, we led them into a fenced-in section of pasture.

“Okay girls,” I said, “this is going to be an exercise in trust for your horse,” as I began tying a hobble knot on one of the horses’ lead ropes so it did not drag on the ground. “Tie your knots and I’ll give you a leg up.”

“How are we going to steer?” one of the girls asked. I smiled.

“You’re not. You are going to breathe deep and trust where your horse takes you.” There was a ripple of nervous excitement, and I breathed deep to release a bit of my own uncertainty about the exercise. “Who’s ready?”

SavasanaHorseback Savasana

As I walked around the herd of 11, hoisting each girl onto the back of her mount, I silently prayed that no one would get hurt. These horses could potentially cause a ruckus, but part of me had a good feeling about the Trust exercise, and I focused on the good potential rather than the bad. It will be okay, I thought, especially with this group of girls, who picked up on the power of their breath easily. I expected that the horses would take advantage of the opportunity to graze, and that they wouldn’t venture too far.

“Deep breaths, ladies. See if you can get your horse to lick his lips or sigh with you,” I coached. Some of the mounted girls had already turned their bodies around to lay their heads on their horses’ rumps. Once everyone was on, I led them in some collective breathing and a few horseback asanas (poses).

To my surprise, not one horse moved. None of the horses even lowered their heads to graze. They had complete freedom: every opportunity to find a good patch of grass to munch or even trot around the pen if they pleased, yet each horse stood stock-still, ears gently turned toward the rider on its back. In fact, the horses seemed to relax deeply, standing in a group with their riders lounging on their backs, eyes drooping with one leg relaxed. These horses were doing yoga, too.

I nearly cried. There was something happening that I had not anticipated. Even Sugar, a horse known for kicking any horse who got near to her, stood nearly drooling with what I would normally deem “uncomfortably close spacing” to the horse by her side. Even more than on the last trip, these horses were actively participating in the yoga practice. They transformed as soon as their riders shifted their awareness to the breath.

Horseback Savasana in the FieldBridleless & Bareback Pasture Meditation

I have personally experienced the power of breath awareness in horseback riding innumerable times since I was a kid–calming a nervous horse by slowing my breathing and feeling my seat sink deep into the saddle–but it was always something I took for granted that felt difficult to articulate to others. Now, so visibly in front of me, it was made obvious: horses respond to breathing. Bigtime. Suddenly applications of this teaching flooded into my mind: we can make riding infinitely more safe by teaching this simple technique. The horses trusted their mounts because their mounts became wholly present in the moment through watching, listening to, and lengthening their inhales and exhales. So simple! Yet so profound!

Taken seriously, these breathing exercises allowed for the campers to “get away with” doing poses even I would have deemed impossible before the start of this trip. Girls were sitting backward on their horse’s rump in Sukhasana in meditation. Some did partner poses on horseback, nearly hanging upside-down off their mounts. Ekha Pada Kapotasana–Pigeon Pose on horseback–impossible? Hardly! I stood by laughing nearly the entire trip. It was miraculous!

Fly_asanaThis camper made up a pose she dubbed “Fly-Asana,” sitting like a fly on her horse’s back.

There was one element whose absence I think made possible much of what these ladies and their horses accomplished: Fear. Likely because of their youth and my (at times feigned) confidence that they could accomplish whatever they set out to try, these girls were fearless. The absence of fear in the girls gave their horses confidence, and the equines embraced these new, foreign activities as though they’d been waiting to do yoga all their lives. Or, perhaps the horses had been doing yoga all their lives, and the girls finally got up to speed. After all, horses as prey animal depend on the awareness and presence of the other members of their herd for survival. This makes horses the ultimate yoga practitioners: wholly present every moment. Once the girls caught on to how to be wholly present through their breathing, the horses felt they could trust them completely (thank you Linda Kohanov!).

The trip was magical. The girls loved it; the horses loved it; I loved every second of it–okay, perhaps not the moments when I woke up at 6am to put on a pair of soaked jeans and puddle-filled boots. But the attitudes of the ladies and the transformations that took place are memories I will cherish forever and that will surely fuel me to continue doing this work.

Horseback Yoga Pack TripHappy Trails!

I have a feeling this is the start of something very big. Thank you, Sanborn, for making it possible.

Yee-Haw! Namaste.

Click here for more Tails from the Barn.

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