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I’ll admit it, I love fitness. I believe that being in shape makes us better riders and I’ve been an active person ever since I was a kid.

But in the past, I wasn’t very smart about fitness. I would focus too much on one activity without paying attention to the total effects it was having on my body.

I also did not fully address several old injuries I had and the combined result was a detriment to my riding.

In the last few years, I have improved my mobility, strength, and most importantly for riding, the symmetry in my body and awareness of my movement.

One big change I made… consistently doing yoga.

In the video below, I will share three yoga poses that made the biggest difference for me.



Daily exercises for an immovable seat, steady hands, and a happier horse

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Daily exercises for an immovable seat, steady hands, and a happier horse

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101 Responses

  1. I have a 15 minute practice that helps with lower back pain and stiffness. The most effective pose in this set is legs up the wall using a foam block under my hips.
    If I only have time for one pose, this is the one I choose.
    (Side note: I am 71, and my back has been stiff and sore for longer than many of you have been alive)

    1. That is a great one Dorothy! I’ve done something like that for tight hamstrings during my running days!

      -Julia Burdy, CRK Training Community Manager

    2. Hi Dorothy,
      I’ve just started riding with a bad back and stiffness that my therapist says is the worst she has seen.
      I do that potion and also find it helps tremendously.
      Any yoga pose really helps me. I just have to be consistent!

  2. Thank you , Callie, that was really useful again.
    I have been doing tai chi for 13 years now (riding for 6) and , although I am now nearly 75, it has helped enormously, especially with balance and keeping my lower back supple so that I can follow the horse’s movements quite well. I often feel that I am glued to the saddle and am not unbalanced by a sudden spook. However, I still lean forward too much and tend to round my shoulders which makes my legs come up. I try to correct this when I’m walking or just standing, but often forget. I’m going to try out the yoga poses you suggest but it might take some time before I can do the downward dog!

    1. Hi Wendy! Try bending your knees a little to try to help with downward facing dog, especially if you have tight hamstrings!

      -Julia Burdy, CRK Training Community Manager

  3. I am 65 years old and began my lifelong dream of riding in my 50s. My biggest physical issue is stiffness in my hamstrings. In fact, I recently ruptured a portion of that muscle while in the saddle. Next would be upper back due to years at the computer. I have been thinking yoga might be the solution for me and am looking forward to the trial classes.

    1. Hi Dalynn, yoga would be huge for you I think! I hope you’ll join us in the free classes!

      -Julia Burdy, CRK Training Community Manager

  4. I’m an older rider (turning 69 this year). I’m training and I think doing well in improving my strength and aerobic fitness with a Bowflex, Nordic Track, TRX and fitness walking with the dogs. But my balance is not as good as it used to be. I’ve tried riding without stirrups and I think that helps, but perhaps yoga could help too.

  5. I have quite a marked soinal curvature so am always aware of the small of my back. The chiropractor is extremely helpful but I have to concentrate to avoid being unbalanced when riding and cannot really be sure I’m succeeding. I can’t afford yoga classes.

    1. Carol, that is great you have sought help for the low back issue you described. I hope you’ll join us in the free classes, Heidi does so work with posture that I think would be valuable for you!

      -Julia Burdy, CRK Training Community Manager

  6. Hey, my painproblem is the upper thoracic part of the back caused scoliosis, this makes also an unbalanced pelvis! As physiotherapist I am working with special whole body workouts like Gym ball, Yoga postures like crocodile, etc., Feldenkrais, centered riding! I would like to hear from the experts in riding what Yoga postures you would prefer in the scoliosis case!
    Best wishes for 2020

  7. Thanks for sharing those poses Callie. I also highly recommend CrossFit for body awareness, symmetry, balance and strength training. I also find using a large exercise ball to sit on while working at the computer is a lifesaver for keeping hips loose.

    1. Great suggestion on the exercise ball Robin! I have done that too, it is more tiring than you would think!

      -Julia Burdy, CRK Training Community Manager

  8. I’ve recently started yoga again after too many years of “not enough time “. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed the reflective time as well as the benefits of stretching and BREATHING! Being a long time dressage rider, I’ve always believed in the correlation between riding and yoga. Looking forward to this online course!

    1. Awesome Tracy! Even just 10 minutes a day is SO worth it! Excited to have you joining us in the free classes 🙂

      -Julia Burdy, CRK Training Community Manager

  9. Hi Callie. Really looking forward to the yoga lessons. My problem is a stiff lower back and sore hips. I haven’t been able to ride for 6 weeks as my hips in particular are really sore. Unfortunately this is the result of having been a nurse for 35 years. Any tips from anyone in the community on how to overcome the problem would be great.

  10. Thank you for this video and the poses you suggested. I’m going to try them and see if they help my riding. I’ve started going to the gym again to get some strength training ( so I can lift my saddle) and would like to do some yoga for stretching. I would also like to sign up for the free yoga classes to get me started on some kind of program and proceed from there. Thanks again.

    1. Hi Christine, glad to have you joining us in the free classes! Were you able to get all signed up?

      -Julia Burdy, CRK Training Community Manager

  11. Hi Callie,
    I’m so excited about your riding yoga class. I have been practicing yoga for over 20 years irregularly, but always come back to yoga when I have a discomfort riding or am nervous. I have gotten in the stall with my mare prior to clinics and just breathed correctly and did the rag doll pose. I have shared this practice with friends especially to settle us all before a ride. As a 59 year old woman, I like to keep active and in shape, but really rely upon yoga more and more as I age.
    I always enjoy your posts and videos. Thank you!

  12. Hi Callie,
    Great to hear your insights and observations on this topic — the rider’s balance, even-ness, flexibility, and freedom of movement, and how we carry that into our riding.

    I struggle with hip flexibility and with shoulder pain from old injuries (or habits? who knows). I spend a lot of time at my desk and my upper back sometimes gives me pain, similar to what you noted in yourself. I also have a tendency to brace my feet in the stirrups. The clinic I took with Wendy Murdoch on rider position in April (I think it was April) of ’19 helped me a lot to understand how to address this particular aspect, but I think that still happens when I’m tense. I don’t know what yoga position or motion would help with that — maybe that’s just one of those things that really has to be dealt with while actually in the saddle, but thought I’d mention it. Oh, and unevenness — one leg is actually much more effective than the other at giving a clear aid. (Left — which is weird. I’m right handed!). Sometimes the horse I’m riding drifts off to the right, misinterpreting my stronger left leg as an aid to go right, if I’m not careful about this aspect.

    I have had an on-again, off-again relationship to yoga for a long time, like, over a decade, but I’m getting more consistent since going to a Kripalu weekend three years ago (life-changing!!).

    I read something a few days ago that I actually put on a sticky and put it on my computer monitor (sigh, another sign of how much I’m at a desk typing!). It was something my yoga teacher said!! “It is the things we do on a daily basis that will have the biggest impact on your life.” so, here’s to doing a little yoga every day rather than a whole mess of it once a week or once every two weeks.

  13. I have been doing tai chi for decades but in recent years with a new teacher , who is realy bringing my practice to a new awareness. I became aware that I was flattening my back too much, which Wendy Murdoch pointed out to me in her Effortless Riding Clinic. In addition, I have started studying with James Shaw who brings the physical and mental aaspects the internal martial arts to horseback riding which involves alot of on the ground and on horseback exercises. Last spring I started yoga to improve my flexibiliity. It is really helping with opening my chest and resetting the natural curves in my spine. Everything in you rvideo rang true for me.

  14. Glad to see another convert to downward facing dog! I only started yoga last August-I was having regular, painful plantar fasciitis flair ups and while I didn’t start yoga to specifically address that, an unforeseen consequence was that the PF has now gone. I spend long hours at a microscope on a kind of bar-stool type chair and if I I get the slightest twinge of PF discomfort, downward dogs sorts it out. The rest of the yoga practise I do has greatly helped with balance and strength I feel-partly due to my work, cycling and running with my dogs I tend to carry a lot of tension in my shoulders, so always looking for ways to mitigate that (I do like extended triangle pose for this, and child pose). Whenever I can too, I practise standing on one leg in tree pose-another exercise that uses so many muscles!

    1. Yoga is so good at helping erase movement patterns we pick up from things like sitting at a microscope or behind a computer! Hope you’ll join us in the free classes Francesca!

      -Julia Burdy, CRK Training Community Manager

  15. A very interesting article. I have been doing yoga and Pilates once a week each for the last 5 years following a rotator cuff injury. Not only has it given me back full use of my arm, but I have also noticed that my heels are much deeper when I am riding. Hopefully my jumping position will start improving soon too !

  16. Hi Callie: Very helpful, as usual. I’ve done yoga off and on for years. More off than on, unfortunately. I do a 10 to 15 minute stretching routine always first thing in the morning. Can’t move very well, if I don’t. Incorporating more yoga moves would be very beneficial. I’m now 60 and have aches and pains (I really don’t like to admit or talk about !! 🙂 ) This will help. Looking forward to the yoga sessions coming up

  17. I started doing yoga about 2 and a half years ago. It has definitely helped with my riding, possibly even my confidence levels as well.

    I also have a back and a shoulder injury and yoga has really helped strengthen my core which helped the pain but also helped my core stability in a major way.

    I also have an issue with my hips being stiff. Yoga also helped with that and now I seem to be able to ride longer.

    I so enjoy my yoga practice. I make time for it everyday…sometimes twice a day depending on how my body feels.

  18. My right shoulder has issues from old injury and hips are not what they used to be after losing my true love horse of 17 years. I’ve had a couple of horses I tried to enjoy in the couple years since the loss but they didn’t work out and not riding has really changed my body and spirit. I look forward to getting ready to ride my young TB as he gets trained and finding a horse companion to ride while the training is under way.

  19. Hi Callie! I love that you are incorporating yoga into your classes! I have practice on and off for years! Yoga is so great for the body and mind!
    I do also suffer from old injuries. You are right yoga does help to relieve and strength those injuries, along with helping my alignment in the saddle! I’m sure my horse appreciates the yoga just as much

    I am looking forward to the classes!!

    Thank you again

  20. Yoga or Pilates? Im curious to know why you have chosen Yoga over Pilates? I find Pilates, and you talk about CORE often, much more beneficial to riding than Yoga?

    1. Both can be great for riding and Callie has practiced both but found that yoga was a great fit for things she was working on and wanted to share it with our community!

      – Julia Burdy, CRK Training Community Manager

  21. As usual spot on looking forward to learning yoga however what does one do will joint replacements? I had rt hip and knee replaced Very lop sided heavy on opposite side I am now mounting from rt side to more easily get over cantle do you think yoga would help?

  22. Thank you, Callie, for providing us with such good information and encouragement. I have dabbled in yoga practice on and off throughout the years enough to know how really wonderful it is for my body. My problem has been, in the past, my not sticking to it and making it a daily routine. Now that I’m riding again (at 64) I want to be more aware of my body (which yoga will do!) and how in turn this will affect my riding skills and the horse that I’ve been given the pleasure to ride. I look forward to ‘practicing’ yoga again and this time making it stick! Daily!

  23. I love yoga for riders. What has worked best for my lower back is doing bridge
    exercises. Down Dog is also great combined with high plank. I do yoga 5 days a week
    with 1 lesson weekly. The balance exercises are also great and don’t forget the breathing! At 80 I may be the oldest one in my class – but don’t let age stop your yoga or your joy of riding

    1. Thank you for your inspirational information of your routines. I am 71 this month and have been trying different stretches and moves that have taken away any back or hip pain I used to have. I am always looking for more to do on my own and at home. I live to far from town for instructions. I have trained and competed with my horses most of my life. I now do a speed event called mounted shooting and want to stay at the top of my game, so really believe in what I have done so far, but always looking for more of different exercises.

    2. Kari- so glad to read your post. I’ m just starting riding at 50 and glad to hear I may be able to enjoy it for 30 years. I too have found the balance and breathing in yoga helpful to my riding.
      Best wishes. Susan

  24. I feel a lot of tension in my upper shoulders and lower back at the hips. Most of this tension and pain comes from my full time job as an EMT lifting people that are over 300lbs so I’m hoping doing this yoga class will help me losen up those areas the other thing is my right ankle I did a serious sprain and torn my calf muscle a ,little what exercise would help with that? Thank you Callie thses training videos are great

  25. this is great grateful for you! I have a bladder..but a story and an external bag…I would love to do this yoga. Is there a way to work around a disability like this? I so desperately want to get back to riding but lack of flexibility, balance and now confidence is really holding me back

    1. Hi Kris, I’m sure you can participate in the free yoga classes! You might need to modify certain poses but Heidi is great at offering modifications for anything!

      -Julia Burdy, CRK Training Community Manager

  26. Hi Callie: Thanks for the great videos. I am looking forward to the yoga classes. Never, ever have done yoga before, but as a 63 year old rider, I think I need it now . I think I have a SI joint issue. Apparently I’ve been riding ‘crooked’ for years. I lean a little to the right when I thought I was ‘straight’. So I am hopeful for good results.

  27. Contented and blessed 2020 to all! My riding buddy invited me to take this class with her…yoga has just never been my thing…I’m a bit “Toady” and very short…but I might give it a go as stretches are part of my hopeful daily routine… 😉 I actually love to swim-another “both sides of the body equally” exercise that really helps me. I am very mindful of each stroke-to keep it very even and balanced. Rather than breathing on my own by twisting out of the water-which I find I tend to do almost always to the right…use a snorkel and you can remain steady and straight.
    I have an old injury which left my lower leg at an odd angle to my knee. As I’ve aged-I have a lot of trouble with it going to numb or cramping. In any standard stirrup leather/stirrup combination-this pain will eventually lock my knee, hip and lower back up…agonizing. Since I don’t compete-I really don’t care what things “look like”-so I have pared down all of my stirrup leathers to the lightest available that still works on the two saddles I ride- threading an English stirrup through the tree bar of my “trail” saddle, and happy with the flexibility of the nylon webbing on my “bareback” pad.
    But-the biggest help has been the purchase and use of those wonderful aluminum padded trail stirrups with the free rotation. Even the pressure of a standard English stirrup leather and a cocked stirrup was too much to keep that joint comfortable. The wide foot bed with foam padding provide that foot with a substantial resting spot and extra shock absorption and it has made all the difference. These two changes alone-have made it possible for me to continue to ride. I recommend them to anyone (especially the stirrups-which can be gotten in several “styles” if that is important to you-or needed for competition)

  28. Thank you again Callie for your clear and concise instructions on this video. I don’t have a horse unfortunately, but ride and do bodywork on a neighbour’s horses.
    I find that after 35 years or so of practicing yoga, that one of the most important things to remember is to balance both sides of your body in any given asana. This has helped me overcome a whiplash in my younger years and has kept me flexible and confident in my later years.
    I wish you all the best in overcoming your injuries and feel certain that your theory that yoga and horsemanship go hand in hand. Namaste.

  29. Thank you for sharing these yoga exercises that have helped you become a better rider and for the encouragement of getting into some kind of exercise that promotes flexibility, balance, strength and body awareness. I have chronic pain from osteoarthritis in my neck and lower back,. Doctors have recommended that I get involved in a regular yoga routine, but I never did it. It makes sense how exercise like yoga would improve someone’s riding (and confidence)….and now I am ready to give it a try! I am looking forward to the free workshop coming up. Thank you for having it! As always, I feel so grateful to be part of the CRK Training community! It has inspired me and helped me tremendously!!

  30. fractured my back in auto accident over 30 yrs ago. I’ve always done stretching but I can totally feel the stiffness when I ride . I also some times get cramps in my hips while I ride. Now Im just a pleasure rider as I can not afford to take risks with jumping. But lets face it. they are animals and can be unpredictable. Even at a walk.trot or canter you can take a fall. so I personally would like to work on those areas.

  31. Hi Callie, LOVED this video! I’ve done yoga on and off for years and even once went looking for yoga resources specifically for riders.
    I was thrown from a horse who cat jumped at a sudden flash of light on the arena floor (DOOR!) I landed, after being shot quite high in the air, on one buttock. I was bruised and sore in that area and that hip but was too busy with life to do anything about it. I think I took glucosamine on and off for a few years. I didn’t take the injury seriously, forgetting that in my 40s I no longer had the bounce of a younger rider. Now, at 53, I have chronic pain in my sacroiliac joint and hip on that side. I’ve spent the past two years focusing on improving this with a variety of health care providers with injections into the SI joint providing some relief. Aquafit helps as well. I know I need strength and flexibility in the surrounding muscles, so I am really looking forward to the yoga for riders videos!

  32. Thank you for sharing the yoga exercises that helped you become a better rider! I have pain in my neck and lower back due to osteoarthritis and doctors have recommended that I do yoga or tai chi. I would like to commit to a yoga routine in this new year. I believe it will improve my flexibility, strength, balance and body awareness. I am looking forward to the free online yoga workshop! Thank you for providing it!

  33. I did a little twisting in the saddle last week in my regular lesson & found it helped loosen my hips. I’m looking forward to doing more yoga that focuses on riding as I also take a yoga class weekly, but the emphasis isn’t geared for riders in that class. (The downward dog brings too much of a rush of blood to my head & I can only maintain it for a short time.)

  34. Hi Callie,
    Thank you for offering the free yoga classes. In the last 12 to 18 months I feel like my whole body has become stiff. Yoga should be good to improve my flexibility. About 6 years ago I broke my shoulder blade and I have a reduced range of motion in that shoulder. I am also quite round shouldered, which is not helped by time spent at the computer. I look forward to trying the pose you showed, to open up my chest.
    Thanks again

  35. I have noticed that yoga is the new trend for equestrians . When I started working with my current trainer in Ca . Rebecca Atwater @SB stables she had us start every lesson with yoga on our horses ! This inspired me to try yoga and it is amazing for helping me be a more effective rider . The hardest part for me is opening my hips … as I have very small hips and often feel too tight on this area . The one thing yoga has helped me tap into is my core . I’m so excited to see what movements you recommend that are best . Thank you !

  36. Before I returned to riding in 2014, I was taking a regular yoga class at the Y. When I bought my horse I no longer had time nor money for my YMCA membership. I’ve dabbled a bit with yoga on my own, but I am not consistent and don’t know enough to do the poses properly.
    I’m looking forward to the Yoga for Riders lessons that are coming up- I believe they start on my birthday (1/14?). I will be 64. What a perfect birthday gift to myself!

  37. Thank you for this video and advice, Callie.

    I’m nearly 66 and haven’t ridden for several years, but am working with my horses on groundwork now, and this spring hope to get back on. I struggle with a left hip area that is weaker than the right, and it also affects my angle when sitting. Those exercises in your video will be challenging for me. I look at them and think I’m 20 and find out pretty fast that for some unknown and amazing reason, I must not be 20 anymore…. But I look forward to working on them and also learning more things I can do during the winter to become more fit for riding.

  38. I have never done yoga. I do slouch forward in the upper back. I also am weak in the knees. I am not comfortable in mounting. Also have wiode feet and seldom find stirrups that are comfortable.

  39. Hi Callie! I grew up riding hunters, but now that I’ve returned to horses, my focus is dressage. Aside from my particular asymmetries due to past injuries, my biggest difficulty is in trying to open my hip angle to achieve a dressage seat, and move away from a more closed hip angle required for hunt seat. I’m very much looking forward to this series. Thank you !!!

    1. I hope you’ll find some awareness in the exercises in the upcoming free classes! Hope you’ll be joining us 🙂

      -Julia Burdy, CRK Training Community Manager

  40. Thank you, Callie, for another great video and I am looking forward to the free yoga class. Yoga is so great as we age. Even with a knee replacement and some poses that are just not possible anymore, I can still stretch which I think is the most important part. Thanks, everyone for your comments that encourage an older rider and still quite a novice rider as myself!

  41. I was in a car accident several years ago. There are several areas along mine spine that still need constant attention. I have a series of exercises and stretches that I try to do on a regular basis that help, but I would like to get better results if possible. I started incorporating yoga this past year and am looking forward to the free classes to see if the series is something I want to add to my fitness toolbox.

  42. Hi Callie
    Thankyou again for your informative and beneficial information. Your information on varied topics pertaining to riding and learning the wonder of the horse has been so Helpful in my learning curve!!
    I am 65 and have been riding since I was 45. I had a 3 year period of no riding as I lost my Treasured Mare.
    I’m back in the saddle with my new and lovely mare.
    I’ve noticed the stiffness and have started yoga as well. Looking So Forward to integrating yoga poses that will improve my riding and my connection with my mare.
    One of the poses that has helped me open up the psoas muscle , hamstrings and my hips is the Pigeon Pose. You can do one version on a hay ale or bench at the barn before and after your ride or you can do another version on the floor.
    Thanks again for all your great insight and teachings.

  43. My lower back is stuff and I develop soreness in the lower back after riding – even if it is just walking out on a hack (but worse if I work harder at the trot and canter). I was doing yoga three times a week (private sessions) but my instructor moved away so I am ‘drifting’. I have noticed more soreness since my yoga sessions stopped. I am 67 years old and ride 3-4 times a week. I have a hip replacement and have had rotator cuff surgery on both shoulders so downward dog is difficult as it puts too much weight on my shoulders.

    1. Hi Marilyn, hope you’ll be joining us in the free classes from Yoga for Rider’s! I wonder if perhaps you could be hollowing your low back as well and that might not be helping your back pain…just a thought!

      -Julia Burdy, CRK Training Community Manager

  44. Hi Callie, I am so excited for the yoga class coming up. I really enjoyed this video also. I have noticed some pain happening in my lower back if I don’t stretch as I have gotten older. I am 53. Any suggestions for helping that would be most welcome!

    1. Michelle, do you find that this pain in your low back happens after a ride?

      -Julia Burdy, CRK Training Community Manager

  45. I struggle with squaring my torso. My left side is straight but my right side pivots on my center line, so my right shoulder will shift forward or back and the right hip swings in the opposite direction, so I am technically balanced, but not straight. I look balanced and can do things like walking with books on my head. But the mare I currently ride feels this lack of straightness on my right side and responds to my hip. Hoping this class helps with developing squareness with balance. (She is a much better horse than I have ever ridden.)

  46. In the last year, I broke both arms at the wrist. One was a hairline fracture that was annoying. The other was a riding injury where I catastrophically broke the radius and dislocated all the bones in my wrist. Needless to say, my range of motion and strength are non existent. I have recently started doing Yoga, but I can’t get into many of the poses that require balancing on my hands (downward dog, plank, etc etc). I am still working on it. I hope that daily practice will help to ease the pain in both wrists so I can return to having strength in my arms. I love Yoga and calm it brings… as long as I am not on my hands LOL

    1. I’m sorry to hear about your injury Elizabeth! Heidi is great at offering modifications to help with past injuries! Hope you’ll be joining us in the free classes!

      -Julia Burdy, CRK Training Community Manager

  47. I look forward to these classes! Right now I am doing nothing to stretch and strengthen my body, so the timing is great!
    I used to log several hundred miles on bike weekly, which did nothing for my riding, except maybe improve my endurance. My calves were tight, my hips were tight… and there was no weight bearing benefits to biking.
    I am looking for a new activity, maybe dance aerobics to go along with yoga.
    I am having a harder time folding completely over fences and also starting to roach my upper back.

    Thank you for this course!!!!

    1. Yoga will be a great cross-training for you to stretch your tight muscles!

      -Julia Burdy, CRK Training Community Manager

  48. I do stretching exercises prior to going to the barn, however, being consistent is a constant challenge. I should also stretch when I return from the barn, but often fail to follow through. I am hoping to find some poses to relax my arms and shoulders. It is good to see Heidi Blackman again. I enjoyed her yoga classes several years ago. I appreciated her ability to give me alternatives when she introduced poses that were inappropriate for my physical ability.

    1. Hi Carol! Am I correct that Heidi’s classes were your first yoga classes? Heidi is an incredible instructor!

      -Julia Burdy, CRK Training Community Manager

  49. My biggest issue is probably one that is hard to fix and that is a forward head position that most likely began in childhood. It really effects my posture & alignment in the saddle.

    1. Ann, awareness is the first step to fixing any problem! I hope you’ll join us in the free classes to help!

      -Julia Burdy, CRK Training Community Manager

  50. Great video, Cassie!! My hips get sore and lock up from super tight Psoas muscles. I would dread getting in the saddle it hurt so badly. Pigeon pose, the Hindu Squat and Goddess Pose have worked wonders.!! Can’t wait for the class. I’m a lifelong yoga lover. Great to see it applied to riding!! Keep up the great work!!

    1. Fantastic Elizabeth! Glad to hear you’ll be joining us in the free classes!

      -Julia Burdy, CRK Training Community Manager

  51. Great points, Callie! You’ve inspired me to resume my yoga practice that I had allowed to be crowded out of my schedule. Thank you. I do believe it will help my riding both be more physically balanced and mentally focused in the moment.

    1. Awesome Laurie! So glad to hear you want to start hitting the mat again 🙂 Hope you’ll join us in the free classes!

      -Julia Burdy, CRK Training Community Manager

  52. I have been practicing yoga and Pilates for many years. I am a former dancer so stretching, postures and Pilates were part of my dance routines. I also play ice hockey which strengthens my legs and cardio. For dance and hockey, I lift weights- resistance training which I have found extremely helpful for riding and preventing injuries. Having strong muscles also gives me that confidence that if something squirrelly happens riding, I feel protected as I am older at 62. Another helpful thing, I am a former camera person who worked on horse movies like Hidalgo. I would ask the stuntmen and trainers to teach me ways to fall, roll, etc as a stunt person would and this helped a lot when you can see the oh no moments start to happen!!

    1. Wow! That is SO cool! I can only imagine the neat that must have been! Learning to fall is another great skill for riders 🙂

      -Julia Burdy, CRK Training Community Manager

  53. Happy New Year, Callie. I have found pilates really helpful. I tend to round my back and when I am reminded to pull up I often go to the opposite extreme and hollow my back. Pilates has heped me to keep the back straight and in a neutral position and also has helped to strengthen my core. I’ve signed up for the yoga videos. Never realised how important the whole business of body alignment is when I started riding. Your holistic approach has been a revelation!

  54. Hi, I’ve done yoga on and off for years and have a few favourite exercises and stretches to help maintain balance, evenness and core strength, especially plank (both ‘normal’ and side) and also bridges, incorporating a leg raise (lift the hips into bridge position, then raise one leg while taking care to keep the hips even, lower the leg, slowly lower the hips – keeping even throughout – then repeat on the other side).

  55. Thank you Callie and thank you for the upcoming classes. I’ve signed up. Currently working on a hip problem from an old accident – not riding related. Seems to tense up when I ride. Area is the back of my leg right under my rear. Seems that exercise helps, maybe just stretching out. Hoping the classes add to working out the pain. Thanks for the opportunity.
    Susan S.

  56. Hello, I have signed up for the e-mails, I was wondering, are they going to be available to view at any time, or are they available for a limited time?

    1. Hi Yvonne, they will only be available for a limited time until we shut them down to focus on the new students going through the full program 🙂

      -Julia Burdy, CRK Training Community Manager

  57. Great to see so many riders interested in yoga to help their riding.
    I can tell you it really works.
    Another thing that has helped my balance is rolling a tennis ball under my foot from toes to heal. Then I place the ball under my heal and balance on that foot –
    moving the other leg forward, across, back. Do the same on both feet and finish with more rolling of the ball. Great for balance and your whole leg.

  58. I’ve done the first day of the yoga class with Heidi yesterday and today. For the last two weeks I’ve been going to PT because of what we believe is a strained adductor muscle. The warrior 2 stance stretches that so much better than the stretches given to me by PT. But I don’t think I could have done it without the coaching to figure out how to stack the joints in the mountain pose first. I have some joint hyper mobility, so I have to be careful to not hurt myself – and I really appreciate Heidi’s way of stating exactly how to do something. Thank you

  59. I joined the day free yoga classes. I found them very helpful however, I have had a knee replacement and have bad arthritis in the other knee. The second class is something that I cannot do. With a knee replacement you were not supposed to kneel and to be perfectly honest you really can’t. I’m wondering if there’s anything else that I can do that does not require kneeling or bending my legs in a cross like a position. I am flexible enough to stand and put my hands on the ground but I cannot cross my legs. Thank you for any input that you can give me.


    1. Hi Nancy, I reached out to Heidi for some assistance with your question and this was her reply!

      Knee issues can be challenging and as you mentioned it is good to avoid weight-bearing on your knees and side-to-side movements in the knee joint if that is sensitive. There are several ways to modify which will depend on how it feels in your body and what the recommendations of your doctor are. For Cat/Cow: 1) You can do the same movements standing or on your back. I would try standing first as you mention that you feel fine in that position. Stand facing a wall with your arms straight out in front of your, palms against the wall at shoulder height. Keep your arms straight and press into the wall as you inhale and come into a backbend shape – chest towards the wall and sit bones away from the wall – exhale and again push into the wall and round your back drawing tailbone towards the wall, curling your chin down and broadening across the upper back. 2) You can also do this on your back in the all-fours position, but it will take a bit more ab work to round your back and there will be less movement in your spine.

      For sitting cross-legged, you can try a variety of things. 1) avoid it completely and find another seated position that works – a chair is completely fine to use! My teacher had two knee replacements and liked to sit in what is called a supported “virasana” but that may be too much for you at this point. It is a kneeling position but you stack a lot of blocks or pillows under your sit bones so the knees aren’t really weight bearing and you can put rolled-up blankets behind your knees for further support. This still might be out of the question, which is totally fine – you’ll have to cautiously experiment. 2) In a cross-legged position the problem is compounded if you have tight outer hips because then the knees are higher than your hips and this puts too much pressure on your knees. So avoid this completely if that is the case, or you can try sitting on blocks or pillows to get your hips higher. You can also put pillows or blocks under your knees to support them.

      Like I said there are a ton of ways to modify and I am happy to help and offer additional ideas if these don’t quite get you there. Thanks!

      Hope this helps!

      -Julia Burdy, CRK Training Community Manager

  60. I have a stiff right shoulder so find it difficult opening it up when riding on the right rein, particularly when trying to do a 20m circle. The horse struggles to know what I want so the circle is always small and wonky!
    Interestingly as well, my instructor doesn’t like the fact I do yoga as she says I’m too flexible and bend in all the wrong directions!

    1. Hi Karen, there is definitely such a thing as too fluid in the saddle! There is a sweet spot somewhere in the middle we should aim for 🙂

      -Julia, CRK Training Community Manager

  61. I use to faithfully practice yoga a minimum of 2xs per week for a couple of years. Then work overload took over my life and I could not manage to fit in yoga. Finally life has slowed down and I am back practicing yoga. What a difference yoga makes when I am in the saddle. I totally recommend yoga also. Thank you for the reminder and confirmation from another source that it works!

  62. I do find that if I do yoga consistently my muscles and back feel so much better.
    I’m starting to ride again after many years and hope that I can continue.

    1. Hi Jill, congratulations on getting back in the saddle! Keep up with your yoga practice as you ride, I bet you’ll be in the saddle for years to come 🙂

      -Julia, CRK Training Community Manager

  63. Thank you , Callie, for asking the question, what do we experience in our bodies when we ride. I struggle with this immensely. I have had so many injuries, surgeries, it’s almost uncountable. I also have a scoliosis that has worsened as I’ve aged (I’m 69). I became a Feldenkrais practitioner in 2001. That has helped my understanding enormously, but still, I struggle with trying to be balanced and even in the saddle.
    Of course, the balance-ability changes with the speed of the horse. The canter is the worst for me. And it is so disorganized (no matter what horse I ride … I think it must be me LOL) for me and my horse, that I typically just choose to trot.

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