Autumn approaches…I am excited. I must confess, summer is not really my season. Fall is my favorite. So I love this pre-fall time when I can anticipate what’s to come: cool, crisp air, beautiful colors and light – can I hear a fall clothes?? – and a shift into our yoga and hiking trips. Our Cowgirl Yoga retreats have been superb (we still have two to go in September), and the horse-human Montana moments that have been captured by the camera provide visual proof. I’ve blogged about this more than a few times already this summer, why stop now? Especially with these recent images of our Cowgirl Yoginis and herd members that have taken my breath away and at times brought tears to my eyes. Not just because of the beauty of the image, but also because I know the horse and the human. Powerful stuff.
There’s a lot of material out there on the horse-human connection. People have made entire careers of it. Our Cowgirl Yoga retreats are based on it, along with how what we do on the yoga mat influences our connection to the horses. I was just interviewed by a writer who asked me what advice I would give to a beginner horsewoman; my answer was something along the lines of be open to the experience the horse can create for you, vs. you the human defining that experience. Or even having expectations of it. The more open the heart, the more potential exists for horse-human connection. It’s no coincidence that we practice lots of heart opening yoga poses on CY retreats. Both yoga and horses ground us in the present moment. That’s why they go together so well.
We were lucky enough to have Drea Bowen of Horses Heal Hearts join us on our last retreat to deepen our exploration of the horse-human connection. Like the seasonal shift that is upon us, we are excited about some upcoming changes to our Cowgirl Yoga offering, including inviting Drea to join us again. Stay tuned for more scoop soon.
I never tire of reading this quote on our Cowgirl Yoga retreats, after our first meditation practice together:
The urge to be with horses can take hold at any age. These spirited creatures gallop through ancient myths, favorite childhood stories, wishes, dreams and drawings. For many people the desire recedes over time, into a secret corner of the heart, ready to leap forward, suddenly, when a movie, photograph, or painting triggers emotions too complex to voice yet too important to ignore. Those lucky enough to own a horse would seem to have a better understanding of this longing, this mysterious promise of an ancient freedom and an even more ancient knowing. Yet a living, breathing mare or stallion is often more of an enigma than an imaginary one. Answers to the questions that horses pose, silently, relentlessly, to the human soul have always hovered just outside the scope of reason.
These animals mirror, and help us recover, the beauty, power, and nobility of our own spirit, that elusive Presence so easily lost in the frenzy and disconnection of civilized life. Now that horses are no longer obliged to work in our fields and carry us to war, they’re free to do something arguably more important: work on us. This time around, however, the hero’s journey involves stepping off our high horses, removing the armor, and letting these powerful yet sensitive beings lead us to greater physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual balance.
– Way of the Horse, by Linda Kohanov
Yeehaw & Namaste.
Photos by Larry Stanley