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Yoga for dressage?

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  • Yoga for dressage?

    A little background: I have been doing hunters since I was 9. Recently, I've started eventing and I have a beautiful Custom Saddlery Victory Saddle. I am only eventing at the lowest levels (BN/N)

    Will yoga help me with opening up my hips/pelvis? I have finally found a comfortable stirrup length, but I find my pelvis trying to close on me. In my lesson yesterday, I grabbed the pommel and really rocked my self/pelvis back, and felt this immediate relaxation of my seat and of the horse. (That sounds weird?? Sorry.)

    I have a bad lower back (which is naturally weak and sway backed) and even in the hunters for the past couple of years I have tried to make sure to minimize that as much as possible as I have pretty severe back pain if I don't. I try to really engage my lower abs and get rid of the curve.

    I also find myself having difficultly really dropping my thigh, even if I take my stirrups out. I do wonder if it's became of my CC seat for such a long time.

    I have trouble relaxing with my seat.

    Anyways, my eventing trainer is going out of town for the month, and recommended me to take some yoga classes to learn how to loosen up my hips and legs. Any other exercises that might be helpful? Will yoga really help?

    Thank you!

  • #2
    In short. Yes, definitely. I naturally have very tight hips and hamstring, none of them help with a good dressage seat. Yoga help tremendously. However, don't expect a quick change. Those muscles take weeks, months or even years to stretch out safely, but don't give up, and you will see the reward.

    Another suggestion is Pilates. Once your hips are sufficiently opened, you will need to properly engage your core to keep your back from getting swayed, and it may takes more core than you previously realized. Yoga will help in this regard but I find Pilates really kick in gear for this need.


    • Original Poster

      Thank you Gloria!


      • #4
        I've found yoga and martial arts really help me to align my body appropriately and easily for dressage.
        chaque pas est fait ensemble


        • #5
          I've been doing dressage forever and have a lot of back problems. The yoga and especially pilates is great for that and the hips. I had no idea my hips were so bad. It's a long road--it takes a long time to retrain the body--but it's the right one.


          • #6
            Yoga/Pilates will help you with everything!! A sore back in a lot of cases can be helped along by developing a stronger core...which you will get from both yoga and pilates!


            • #7
              Beachbody makes a program called TaiCheng that is fantastic for 'rebooting' your nervous system, including improving flexibility.

              You can do it at home.

              Brian Kest Power Yoga is also a great at home video.

              Rodney Yee also makes great easy to follow yoga tapes.


              • Original Poster

                Thank you!!


                • #9
                  I love yoga. I do at least a half hour (and sometimes as much as 2 hours) of it everyday.
                  But the very best thing I ever did for my riding was Pilates.
                  See those flying monkeys? They work for me.


                  • #10
                    When I first did yoga, I was struck by how much of it reminded me of riding. As someone else mentioned, martial arts, too. I am sure Pilates would also be good.

                    There is someone in the east metro Twin Cities that does yoga for riders. If I had time, money and motivation I would be all over it.

                    I just googled "yoga dressage" & got a ton of cool links.


                    • #11
                      Yes! And in fact, I am a yoga teacher and do a program just for riders! I've suffered from back pain in the past and the only thing that keeps me comfortable is a regular yoga practice. Yoga has helped me tremendously and in many ways: I've overcome a lot of fear issues, I've gained a lot of body awareness, I've been able to develop more "feel," I'm more confident, etc.

                      I'd be happy to talk to you about a specific approach for you - I love to help riders! You can check me out at facebook.com/yoga4equestrians
                      "A horse's face always conveys clearly whether it is loved by its owner or simply used." - Anja Beran


                      • Original Poster

                        Thank you thank you!


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by reay6790 View Post
                          Thank you thank you!
                          The videos are helping me! They are for your specific problem, which happens to also be my specific problem. Enjoy!
                          On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog