Pre-Ride Warm up: Bent Willow

Tension anywhere in the neck and shoulders sends the wrong message down your arms, through your hands and into the contact with your horse’s mouth.  Bent Willow is a terrific way to relax the muscles and reduce tension in the neck and shoulders.

In horse back riding it is super important to release tension in your shoulders and neck as tension anywhere can result in stiff, ineffective riding. It can also translate the wrong message to your horse, one of tension and fear rather than calm and confident.

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.

Inhale deeply to the count of 4 and raise the right arm straight up and draw the crown of the head toward the sky.


Right side inhale

As you exhale (again to the count of 4), tip the right ear toward your right shoulder. Use your fingers as a guide to apply gentle pressure to the temple and gently pull your head to the right.


Right side exhale

Releasing the right shoulder down and away from the ear. To add an extra release drop your left hand down and wiggle the fingers.

Inhale back to center and switch sides.  Do this full rotation between sides 4 times.


Left side with right arm lowered and fingers wiggling

This is another great pose to practice any time, anywhere….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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