I get a lot here, may be I can give some as well, or at least establish a fertile exchange…
As some of you may know or conclude from my username, I am a yoga teacher. Though this is a really important part of me, I am not actively teaching, at the moment. One of the reasons is, that I concentrated on equestrians as students, which was becoming more and more absurd, because I started to change my way with horses and had to withdraw, to confirm my new insights and my changing way of being with horses. I still think, there is a huge necessity for this kind of mind and body awareness that yoga gives the equestrians and I will go on teaching in future.
My lessons for equestrians were either on the horse or on the yoga mat. The combination of both was the best for active riders. In the lessons on the horses, first of all, most of the people had to learn to do less. It was often about letting go tension, starting to really exactly feel, which part of the body still disrupted the horses movement. We would direct the awareness of the rider through all parts of the body. It was amazing to see, how horse and human could trigger each other into a fresh, loose movement. It is about doing as much as necessary, but as little as possible. Then the movement of the horse even seemed to help the rider to release more and more. The riders also had to learn to not only concentrate on the horses “failings” (which is a widespread habit...) but to rather concentrate on themselves. Of course most of the horses started to become fresh and loose (permeable). The lessons on the mat complemented the sessions on the horse. Here, we could enable the body of the rider as much as possible, to ride this sensitive and without useless tensions.
Well, there is so much to yoga.
To me, yoga is a wonderful holistic way of development.
It affects the mind as well as the body.
I want to expound a bit, before coming to the point….:
The philosophical superstructure is much more widespread than what people generally expect. The physical exercises are actually a quite small part of it all and not, as most of the people think, yoga itself. I want to very briefly sum up (though there are different branches, which name and define things differently, I try to phraze it quite generally…):
One of the basic texts (The yoga sutras of Patanjali) defines yoga as the calming of the motions of the mind. Then, so says the Text, “the seer rests in his real nature”. As per that philosophy, there is something behind the physical reality and the mind, that is not really describable, though some name it pure love and some name it pure consciousness. But if you want to call it consciousness, it is a kind of consciousness that is not touched by anything at all. It is just a motionless "observer". It is non-material, endless, timeless, formless, it has no substance, it is not empty, not filled, not describable, not changeable, untouchable, beyond words… This entity is essential to the world. The rational mind can t understand or imagine such a “thing”. The yogi is the person, who does all the efforts to clear up the layers that obscure this entity beyond words. This means, the yogi has to overcome the rational mind, that wants to explain, structure, understand and all that. In very simple words: It is about letting go. The one, who succeeded, is in the state of enlightenment. This is the most ambitious and at the same time the easiest approach…Some say, you have to do all you can, to find out, that you can not do anything at all to reach enlightenment…. That s because, the "layers" are not really obscuring this entity, how could they? However you are, you are perfect as you are. But every person on this way has to find it out himself. Nobody can really make you realize it, no words can replace the experience, but they can guide your way…So the Texts, as well as the exercises, the meditations and the cleaning instructions give a yogi the “guide board” on his way. The yoga philosophy offers manifold wonderful and inspiring images. For me for example it helps so much, to get reminded of the endlessness of the space, of the awareness of space itself and me and the others being in the same endless space. It helps me to overcome narrow-minded thoughts, by swamping my rational mind…
That was a little excursion in yoga philosophy. An amazing theme for me…
But I don t want to persuade you of this actually, I just mentioned this, because it is the reason, why the yoga exercises as we know them exist.
The good thing is, that yoga offers these very practical routines as well…
Though I read, that some of you know these things already, I just want to sum up some essentials…
The Asanas (Positions) are very complex and offer a broad choice of exercises, that stretch and strengthen muscles, that school the awareness of tension and release in the body, that train a adequate body posture. And they can feel georgious...
The Pranayamas (breathing exercises) nourish the body with oxygen, clean the respiratory system and train the awareness for the breath (as well as inner muscles..). Conscious breathing also affects the state of mind and the tension of the body. Some people say, it is a link between body and mind.
The meditations calm down the mind and establish an observing position and develop awareness. Well, first of all, it may feel horrible, because the practitioner becomes aware of how many thoughts are thought all the time. That may feel first of all, as if the mind is “louder” and more active than before. Actually, it is just an impression, because these thoughts happened unconsciously and automatically before and weren t even detected sometimes... After a while, meditation may turn out to be ever so precious.
All these things can be taken into everyday s life, for example, when we meet the horses.
Horses are extremely sensitive, both physically and mentally. As we have to learn each others language, it helps, if the human is as conscious as he can be.
Well, I know that all of you know….just wanted to mention it…
This thread could be a place of exchange.
Maybe one has a question about a problem (if you don t want to share a problem, you can also contact me…).
May be a suggestion comes to your mind.
Or one has experienced something and wants to share.
May be someone has learned something similar (for example Alexander Technik).
Whatever comes up… everything is welcome.
Let s see, what comes up.