YOGA Dressage for the Rider


♘ مدیریت انجمن اسب ایران ♞
Not all of us are born riders, as Waldemar Seunig, author of Horsemanship suggests, endowed with "certain physical and psychological qualities at birth". Therefore, overcoming the difficulties in obtaining the basic position of a balanced seat requires a conscious effort. Yoga has begun to back up dressage riders by encouraging them to supple, strengthen, and balance their own bodies, to become better riders. But, hatha yoga and its relationship to dressage come together in many other ways.

With yoga, the muscles are loosened and at the same time balanced to encourage complete suppleness in the final posture. The process of loosening muscles is slow, just as in dressage each test level, averaging one year, means one more step to complete suppleness. The basics are the same to subtly work out stiffness in the anatomy that is preventing freedom of movement from being displayed in a fluent non-stressed expression.

What hatha yoga does is make the rider conscious of the stiffness in the muscles, and help these tight areas to relax and thus align, so that the basic position required for riding will be obtained. This is similar to what dressage does for the horse - removes stiffness, creating suppleness throughout the horses spine with a rider. In both disciplines the tension is worked out and the energy is worked in, as the released tension (knots in the muscles) enables the energy to flow through areas of the body that were once blocked.

The suppling routine of balancing and elasticizing muscles for both yoga and dressage encourages elasticity in flexion: the muscles are relaxed into the effort of working, not by building them into bulging lumps of constricted mass. Hours are spent, therefore, continually attempting the posture, and in the process elasticizing the muscles until the position comes with greater ease.

The most basic position for both yoga and dressage riding is the attainment of good body alignment: ears, shoulders, hips, and ankles aligned. The rider wants to establish this basic position in order to not interfere with any natural athletic freedom of the horse's gait. A good position also enables the rider to share the same center of gravity with the horse. Aids are more clearly communicated and the two anatomies are capable of becoming one harmonious combination.

Basic position requires the rider to sit independently in the saddle. The hands are not supported by the reins, nor are the legs supported by the stirrups; rather the legs rest in the stirrups. The seat is able to support itself, the spine extends upwards, the legs downwards, the limbs are able to work without putting the riders seat (balance of support) off center.

This internal balance of self-carriage for the rider is enhanced by pursuing exercises that require a centering of the thoughts and balancing of the muscles. Thus self-mastery over the body is required a pre-requisite for dressage. Finding that suppleness, yet firmness of posture and alignment, first off the horse and later on the horse, is complementary to harmonious riding. Without this, trying to sit correctly on the horse will usually only cause more tension.

The rewards for developing basic position by establishing a solid foundation for dressage is that all future riding will more readily fall into place by applying the needed degree of aids, provided the horse is far enough along with the strength and suppleness to obtain the desired result. The rider's self carriage will allow the animal's energy to flow freely forward, only to be harnessed and channeled through the rider's aids, which ultimately free the horse to self carriage with a rider.

Yoga will not only help one to acquire this relaxed alignment by removing stiffness in the rider's body, but it will contribute to the development of a rider's dexterity. As riders, we do not merely sit our horses and "be relaxed" (as if that is not enough), because we also have to be able to use each limb independently in order to influence the animal effectively. We have all heard about being ambidextrous. Well, the dressage rider has to be quadridextrous - independent in all four limbs.

Just to position the horse into a corner requires the inside leg on the girth, the outside behind the girth, and both hands acting independently, depending on the horse's resistance and degree ofbalance, or self-carriage. In short, all four limbs must be brought into a fluent, calm, balanced and harmonious coordination.

In order to achieve self-carriage for either rider or horse, all muscle groups must be working in balance and coordination with each other. Working only one area of the anatomy makes the muscles develop unevenly, and this counteracts the purpose. Setting the horse's head in side-reins and not asking it to engage from behind is to overwork the neck muscles and to develop them independently from the back. Similarly, the person who does the same exercise over and over, without engaging the other muscle groups in the exercise, will develop unevenly.

We should be interested in mastering our own bodies if for no other reason than because all our stiffness reflects on the animals we are training. While we are trying to ride the stiffness out of the animal's body, we are really contributing to it, because of our own stiffness.

Is your horse not flexing all vertebrae from tail to poll, but instead is a little behind the bit? Maybe it is because your own neck and spine are lacking in that little extra impulsion good posture creates!

There is no doubt that yoga and dressage are similar in nature. Using yoga as a gymnastic tool will enable the rider to find both balance and quadridexterity more readily in the saddle. The eventual result is to become a harmonious one with the object of the dressage training, the horse.​
در جستجوی یک دانشگاه مورد تأیید وزارت بهداشت برای ادامه تحصیلات، انتخاب یک مؤسسه با اعتبار و استانداردهای بالا بسیار حیاتی است. دانشگاه‌هایی که توسط وزارت بهداشت تأیید شده‌اند، به دانشجویان اطمینان می‌دهند که دوره‌های آموزشی و مدرکی که ارائه می‌دهند، با استانداردهای بین‌المللی هماهنگ است. علاوه بر این، دانشگاه‌های مورد تأیید وزارت بهداشت به دانشجویان فرصت‌های ارتباطی و شبکه‌سازی با حرفه‌ایان حوزه بهداشت را فراهم می‌کنند، که این ارتباطات می‌تواند در آینده حرفه‌ای دانشجویان تأثیرگذار باشد. از طرفی، دانشگاه‌های مورد تأیید وزارت بهداشت به دانشجویان فرصت می‌دهند تا در پروژه‌ها و تحقیقات مرتبط با علوم بهداشتی شرکت کنند، که این تجربیات می‌تواند ارتقاء دهنده مهارت‌ها و دانش علمی آنان باشد. در نهایت، انتخاب یک دانشگاه مورد تأیید وزارت بهداشت، یک گام مهم برای ساختن پایه‌های مستحکم و موفقیت در حوزه بهداشت است.