I wrote this for Western Horse UK earlier this year. Our picture was on the cover!
Originally published May 2016
What is Cowgirl Yoga?
We get asked this a lot. People are immediately intrigued. Can you be a Cowgirl and a Yogini? Yes! It’s an empowering combination. Cowgirl Yoga is an active vacation, for mind, body and spirit.
But officially, Cowgirl Yoga is Yoga & Horseback Riding Retreats for Women, for all levels of yoginis and equestrians.
Imagine a long weekend of yoga and horses – a girl’s dream come true. Explore how both can put you in touch with your potential and teach you a lot about yourself. We practice yoga, spend time with horses, and kick up our heels in cowgirl-friendly Bozeman, Montana.
Wanna-be cowgirls unite for yoga and fun in and out of the saddle under Montana’s legendary Big Sky. We explore the link between yoga and riding to improve not only your saddle skills, but also your overall well-being. Through yoga poses and breathing techniques we learn how to improve balance and body alignment. Best of all, we experience how the horse-human connection deepens as you practice yoga. We take that off the mat and onto the horse, and ride with new friends both human and equine, immersing ourselves in nature and the Cowgirl Yoga spirit.
Our motto is Add a little Yeehaw to your Namaste. And that is what Cowgirl Yoga is all about. We want you to yell “Yeehaw!” when you have a break-through on the yoga mat, and murmur “Namaste” when you feel that amazing connection between human and horse.
Each day on a CY retreat is unique, but the themes are recurring: nurturing the horse-human connection, and connecting what we do on the yoga mat to our time with the horses. Every day has deep yoga practices as well as horse time, and each practice feeds the other. On the yoga mat, we spend time not only preparing our bodies for the physical aspects of riding, but also preparing our hearts and minds to be open and receptive to the horse’s energy. We bring back the emotions and sensations from our horse interaction to our mats, for processing in new ways. It’s a cycle with a beautiful rhythm, that encourages unexpected personal discoveries.
Every time you get on your yoga mat, or on a horse, has the potential to produce a wide range of emotions. You can end up elated, disappointed, and lots of places in between. It’s the huge potential for our own personal growth that keeps us wanting to come back for more. This is the vision behind Cowgirl Yoga.
Who is a Cowgirl Yogini?
It’s incredible to see over and over how such a wide variety of women come together for this experience, most of the time not knowing each other, and then interact like they’ve been good friends for years. Many meet here and come back on retreat again together. There is something about this experience that appeals to almost everyone.
Many people are fascinated with Montana and its “wild west” history. Many want a big change of pace. And almost everyone has a story about how yoga or horses has inspired them and changed their life in some way, and they want to deepen that.
Cowgirl Yoga is not your typical vacation. It attracts an active person that also wants an emotional and spiritual component to their time away, whether they recognize that themselves or not. Horses and yoga provide potent, meaningful experiences that you can take back and apply to your daily life. It’s not just escapism. It’s taking this experience you have here and infusing it into your life, using it to inspire positive change back home. We are very privileged to see women enjoying themselves, learning new things, and meeting new people. They exude enthusiasm for life, and that is what I wish we could bottle and send home with everyone to open up when needed – it would be the ultimate CY souvenir.
Why should I try Cowgirl Yoga?
One word: connection.
Connection is the craving behind all human existence. In the words of T.S. Eliot, “Hell is a place where nothing connects with nothing.” We’re healthy when we connect with others in meaningful ways and when we connect with animals, nature, and what’s going on inside ourselves.
Despite the Internet, Facebook, etc., we live in a disconnected culture. In an ironic twist, technology has caused us to become disconnected from ourselves in ways that threaten our humanity. Whether we realize it or not, we crave connection on a more simple, primal level. This means enriching our lives by spending time with other people, spending time in nature, and reveling in the basic processes of moving and breathing – as we do in a yoga practice. As we do with horses.
And if the horse-human and horse-yoga connections on Cowgirl Yoga aren’t enough, there is more.
Many people view vacation as escapism, to get away from their day-to-day lives. The goal of Cowgirl Yoga is to find ways to make your day-to-day life the one you want to live, the place you want to be. Yoga definitely helps add a sacred element to the mundane, and that is available daily to everyone in some way. On retreat we focus on ways you can infuse your daily life with what is sacred to you, with yoga being the foundation. We cultivate connection.
Perhaps it’s also meditation, journaling, finding joy in what you eat, creating a mutually beneficial relationship with horses. It’s about recognizing what you are passionate about, what matters most to you, and how that can help you live the most fulfilling life possible on a daily basis.
So basically, after a retreat…we want you to be excited to go home, and find connection there.
Hope to meet you in Montana, Yeehaw & Namaste.