Pre-Ride Warm Up: Thread the Needle

Thread-the-Needle is a pose that is great for reducing tension in the neck, shoulders and lower back. Plus, it detoxifies and calms your body with the slight twist and sends fresh blood to your upper extremities.

In traditional yoga Thread-the-Needle is started on all fours, with the hands shoulder width apart and the knees hip width apart. Then….

  • Turn the right palm upwards and thread the right hand underneath the left arm.
  • Take the right shoulder and the right side of the head toward the floor.
  • Take the left arm up off the floor and hang it over the back.
  • Bend the left elbow and see if you can reach around to hold the right thigh.
  • Peel the left shoulder up and back. Donʼt turn the head.
  • Either stay here for 5 to 10 breaths then repeat on the other side, or alternate sides each breath.


In riding, we can’t really perform this pose like that on horse back so Horse Rider Yoga has modified it to only use the upper body part in a seated position.  In horse back riding it is super important to release tension in your shoulders and neck so you can have a better/softer connection with the reins > the horse’s mouth > your horse. Tension anywhere can result in stiff, ineffective riding.

Let’s get started!

Find yourself seated evenly on your seat bones with your back straight, shoulders square and head normal. Picture someone pulling a string out of the top of your head.

While inhaling to a count of four, raise your right arm out in front of you.


On your exhale (again to the count of four) rotate your right arm across your body and using your left arm, gently pull the right arm towards your chest.  You can add more resistance and get more stretch by pushing away with the right arm at the same time you are pulling with the left.


Inhale to release. Exhale back to center. You can either repeat the right side 4-5 more times or alternate between the sides (arms) with each breath.

Left side:


You can practice this pose any time, even in the shower!  You will really feel the release of tension.  If you practice this in the saddle it might be a good idea to have someone hold your horse the first few times.

You can learn this pose and 11 others when you purchase the DVD or Digital downloads here

Peace, Yoga and Horses,


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