Happy Monday Everything Cowboy Readers,
Today we will be discussing the importance of the breath connection and riding. Breath is also known as Prana or life force energy in yoga. Obviously we breathe everyday without thinking about it or we wouldn’t survive. But when you start to breathe consciously you can begin to connect your body, mind and spirit. By conscious breathing you can find calm in stressful or nerve racking situations.
When you are really tense, stressed, or nervous you may notice your breath becomes really short, strenuous, even nonexistent at times. When you are not breathing properly your prana becomes blocked, energy is not moving through your body. When your energy is blocked your movements become stiff and mechanical, not a desired action for any kind of riding. When you feel calm and relaxed your breath becomes smooth and is flowing freely, your movements correspond to your breath by also appearing effortless and fluid. By sending breath throughout your body you start to establish a connection between mind and body.
Before a competition you may feel nervous and anxious, you might then notice you are holding your breath or it is very short, your body feels very tight and ridged. But if you learn how to consciously control your breath you will feel your body start to relax and your mind become calm. Your energy can remain high but you will feel more confident and at ease, you will be able to direct your energy in a positive way. Your energy is no longer blocked by the stiffness or holding of the breath.
Animals especially horses are very sensitive to energy, that is how they survive in the wild, by sensing energy. So if your energy is really uptight, tense and nervous your horse will feel it and begin to feed off that energy, becoming nervous and anxious themselves. They feel as if they have something to be scared or worried about. If you are able to consciously control your breath you will find that sense of calm allowing your horse to feed off that positive energy instead of the negative energy. Even if you have a horse that is naturally more nervous by using a deliberate calm breath you will start to feel and see a change in their mannerism.
So here are a few breathing exercises to practice, you can even start to practice them on your horse when you are at home and maybe even before a competition.
Alternate Nostril Breathing:
Make sure you are in a comfortable seated position with a tall spine and relaxed shoulders, you may also close your eyes if that is comfortable to you.
-With your right hand extended fold in your pointer and middle finger in to the palm, keeping your thumb, ring and pinky finger extended.
-Placing your thumb on the right nostril breath in for a 4 count on the left nostril
-Place your ring and pinky finger on your left nostril and breath out through the right nostril for a 4 count
-Finger placement stays and breath back in through the right nostril for a count of 4
-Cover the right nostril and breath out through the left nostril
-Breath in through the left nostril
– Keep alternating the breath between the nostrils using the 4 count but if you need to make it longer feel free to alter it.
Continue for at least one minute. Notice how you feel after the minute is over.
Keeping your comfortable seat and tall spine allow the eyes to soften.
-Start breathing in through the nose for a count of 4
-Breath out through the nose on a count of 4
Exactly as its named you are just finding and even breath in and out through the nose, adjusting the count as you need. Notice how you feel after a minute.
Thanks for reading and happy breathing!