yogapicWhen we climb into the carriage seat and take up the reins, we expect our horse to stand and wait for our signal to move on. One of the first things we learn as drivers is, in those moments before we begin our drive, we should give the horse time to settle and focus. But do we do that for ourselves? We are all aware how our mood can transmit down the reins to the horse’s mouth, which can, in turn, impact his mindset. Are we carrying the stresses of our day into the carriage? Have we taken time to stretch out tight muscles so we can be flexible? Are we in a frame of mind to really enjoy the drive ahead?

I tend to be a nervous sort, particularly when faced with remembering a cones pattern at a show, or concentrating on a training exercise, or even anticipating those ‘monsters’ that may jump out of the hedgerow on a pleasure drive. I think we all have a little bit of that in us, some more than others. I have to laugh at myself sometimes when I take a moment to observe how my stress is affecting me physically: my shoulders have crept up to my ears, my knees are clenched like a vise grip (with the unfortunate result of my heels coming off the floorboard), and my hands gravitate upward until I resemble something of a squirrel holding tightly to an acorn. Not a pretty sight, and certainly no way to start a dressage test!

I knew there had to be a way to help myself relax, and that’s where yoga came in. Having practiced Kripalu Yoga for more than 40 years, I realized that the.......

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