I‘m thrilled to introduce Pam, one of our four Cowgirls vs. Cancer scholarship recipients for this summer (one more left to introduce in the next week or two, so stay tuned!). I hope you will be as inspired as I am by the grace and strength of these cowgirl yoginis. Yeehaw and Namaste.
‘Healing with horses and yoga’…I don’t know about you, but I feel better just reading those words. Horses have brought comfort and joy my entire life. I learned to ride when I was six, if you call sitting with your best friend on the back of her mom’s gentle roan gelding while he grazed in the pasture, riding. That same friend’s big sister taught me basic horsemanship a few years later (I was thrilled to be allowed to ride her Palomino mare). I helped clean the corral and kept the tack/feed room tidy in exchange for lessons once a week. I still remember struggling to ride my bike home, temporarily bow-legged from a long lesson, and feeling on top of the world. That “on top of the world” feeling never fades – I still feel it, every time I’m around horses. Fast forward a few decades, and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to attend Cowgirl Yoga with my friend Mary, who nominated me for the scholarship and is a cowgirl through and through.
Yoga was a later addition. I took a class at the gym my husband and I belonged to because I’d heard from friends that it was a great stress reliever, as well as a way to build flexibility and strength. I felt ridiculous at first, very awkward and self-conscious. But I’m so glad I stuck with it. It has helped me regain strength and range of motion following my surgery. Yoga breathing even saved me from a panic attack during radiation therapy. I was in my third week of daily treatments, and the process had become routine. One day while I was lying on the table, I became convinced that the machine had been on too long, that something had gone terribly wrong and that I was receiving a massive overdose of radiation. Terror washed over me so suddenly that literally from one breath to the next, I went from boredom and day-dreaming to feeling like I was going to die that very second. The only thing that kept me from leaping off the table was focusing on my breath, one breath at a time, until the feeling subsided. Of course there was nothing wrong with the machine, and I have no idea where the panic came from – I’ve never felt anything like it before or since I’m just glad hat I had a way to cope; all those years of practice paid off.
And now, I’m looking forward to learning some new things, meeting some amazing horses and inspirational people…I’m counting the days til I can say Yeehaw & Namaste!