Today, I would love to share with you one of the exercises I do on a daily basis to become a better rider for my horses. Before I go to the details, I have to talk about the foundations of my exercise system for expanding body awareness: BodyMarc.
What is body and how we can change it?
The body of a person is living manifestation of this person’s consciousness. If you want to change your body you have to change your consciousness, first. You can change your consciousness by expanding your awareness. All the exercises I do on a daily basis are designed to expand my body awareness. I will share with you one of the exercises that are the results of expanded body awareness in a second, please treat it as something to inspire you and help you grow.
Body is a very important thing for all of us, because we live using our bodies. When you ride, you ride using your body. When you want to connect with your horse you do it through the senses that come through your body. Body is the most important tool that connects us with the reality.
When you want to connect with the Nature and expand your awareness, you can do this through your body as well. Body connects us with here and now, and is the only one and true connection with reality that we have. Our body is very important, but we have a very little awareness of it.
When you start to expand your body awareness, you will see how little you knew about your body. You will see how little you knew about yourself. When I teach riders, I always tell them how important it is to change them, not their horses. It is easy to understand – when you change, your horses will change with you. But it is also true the other way: if you do not change, nothing will change and certainly your horses won’t change. Your horse will not change unless you change yourself, first.
The same truth is about your body. Nothing will change about your body, unless you change yourself, first.
What is change?
True change is something that cannot be forced. It can only come to you. If you plan to change yourself by making “strong decisions”, it is not a way to change but to have more problems and dilemmas later. Please understand me correctly, it is good to have the intention to do something. It is good when you want something. It is very good when you want to change yourself for the better. It gives you the energy to do things and when you take some actions, then the Nature can join you and guide you. But it’s not so good if you think that you will be happier, or more of “this” or “that” and your life will change when you have it. This kind of thinking leads to frustration. Thoughts that you need something to make yourself happy are coming from fear. It is fear that without this thing you will not be happy. Fear constructs ego and this ego tries to control us. If you think that you need to do something, or else something bad happens, then your actions are based on fear and are leaded by your ego. When you have the intention to do something, but you do not depend on this actions, then your actions are based on Nature and can be guided by Nature.
Nature connects our intentions with fruits
If we want to force it and “grab the fruits”, then we act from the level of our ego and ego always brings more problems to our lives, to control our lives even more. If you plan to do my exercise now, make an intention to do this and do not force yourself. You don’t need a strong will. The only thing you need is to be happy with what you have and have fun doing some exercises inspired by our set.
The change in your body and in your body awareness cannot be forced, it won’t come by planning and strong will. You can only create a space for it and calmly wait. This space happens in a time when you are really calm and when you are not worrying about anything. The change comes when you are not bounding yourself with your thoughts too much, and when you are simply enjoying your life: minute after minute, after minute.
Stay calm and enjoy your life. Do things without fear, and do everything that comes to you. Do not bound yourself with your judgments, allow yourself to do anything that comes to your mind and what you feel like doing NOW.
Awareness is here and now and is different from knowledge. You can know that you have a thumb, but most of the time you are not aware of your thumb. You can fill your body with your awareness, and this will connect your awareness with your body. When you learn how to do this, you will see that it is very different from imagining something, it is the real thing existing here and now.
Our imagination is always ready to fill the gaps in our awareness. Maybe you think that you are aware of your back muscles, but unless you can move them, this awareness is only your imagination. When you do our exercises, you can expand your real awareness and feel the new parts of your body for the first time. This experience is very important because it shows you how imagination is taking place of the real awareness. It also teaches you how to expand your awareness and remove imagination from your life.
Balance is when you have relaxed muscles, and you are using only these muscles that are needed in a given moment. Balance starts in your thoughts, and thoughts are connected with your consciousness. You have many muscles that are being flexed all the time, even when you sleep. You can check now your jaw muscles. Try to relax them. To relax these muscles, you need to be aware of them. You can experience now that you had theses muscles flexed without your awareness. You have many more muscles flexed right now, even your awareness is being flexed when you experience something new. You cannot be balanced when your muscles are flexed.
Flexed muscles are changing movement patterns, and can lead to many problems with joints, posture, digestion, etc. You can see the effect of this very easily, it is enough to look in the mirror and compare the shoulders. When you see that your right shoulder is in front of your left shoulder, you try to compensate this by pushing your right shoulder back. It cannot work because this crookedness in our bodies comes from flexed muscles and flexed muscles can get relaxed only by expanding our awareness on them, not by correcting them with flexing another muscles. To straighten yourself now you can start doing special exercises, like ours, and expand awareness of the body and release these flexed muscles. It will help but only for a short time. It will create a window of opportunity for you to change yourself, and change your body.
Through this simple example I want to show you why force is never working. Force works only from the outside, from the outside of the body, from the outside of your awareness. The force can only fix things for a very short moment, and creates more problems to solve in future. Expanding awareness can remove these problems from your life forever.
Exercise: Standing on a swiss ball
It is one of my favorite exercises because it can teach you so many things. During my everyday workouts I stand and I do squats on the swiss ball. You can try to do this by force, but it will be very difficult. And you can do it by expanding your awareness and learning your balance and how the real body that you have today works in different situations and this will be very easy. I teach this exercise step by step from standing on the floor to standing and squats on the ball. It is important to be relaxed and calm in each step because only in this state you can expand your awareness.
Do only as much as you can for each moment and remember to stay calm, happy and relaxed. Smile all the time. If you feel anger, impatience, sadness, confusion, frustration or fear – that means that your ego is pushing you. When you feel pushed – do the opposite: stop. Stop, relax, smile and start from something that you like.
Do everything that comes to your mind without any judgments and fear, but do not push yourself into things that make you unhappy. Do everything in little steps, and do not think: “I have to do this, I was doing it yesterday”. It really does not matter. What matters is to stay calm and happy. Physical exercises clear your mind for a moment. If you are not pushing yourself if you are not running and you give yourself a moment, you may experience something new, and your awareness will expand. Every time your awareness expands it removes sorrow and pain from your life, forever.
Why this is important for riders?
We ride horses to learn about ourselves and Nature. It is absolutely O.K. if you want to win the Olympic games. But if you think, that you need to win Olympic games to be happy, then Nature will be showing you that this can’t work this way, and you will invite frustration to your life. Physical exercises teach us about our bodies and our awareness. They also teach us about Nature and how she works. Your horses also teach you. If you are not listening to subtle lessons, they will bring something to get your attention.
Some people never listen, and try to force everything. When something “bad” happens we try to control things harder. This attitude brings more force and creates even more problems. Then we try to solve these problems by bringing even more control and force. But it cannot work.
We have to start to listen and to understand what our horses are telling us. These are very simple things like: “You are too stressed”, “You are too aggressive”, “I do not want to be with you now”. We should be thankful for this because this is our chance to change.
Horses never lie, they always show us the reality.
All things that we do, we do to ourselves
If you are aggressive to your horse, you are aggressive to yourself. Physical exercises can show you this, and you can become aware of this. If you will be fighting with your body you will quickly discover that you cannot do many of my exercises. Some of them will seem “too hard” or “too demanding” for you. And when you see it, you will have to change: you will have to cooperate with your body more, you will have to listen to your body more. And this experience can change you. And maybe, in effect, you will start to listen to our horses:
Maybe you will understand that like yourself horses sometimes simply cannot do some exercise on the given day.
Maybe you will see that doing exercises in pain is not funny.
Maybe you will see that pushing is not helping.
Maybe you will see that criticism is not helping.
Maybe you will see that having a good time is much more important than doing what someone else planned for today.
Maybe you will see that when you do things in little steps everything is possible.
Learn more about Anna’s approach:
B.A.S.E. Kick-Start Training: Online Workshop designed to guide you step by step to the shift of awareness from the Personalities to the Real You. Last edition this year starts on the 15th of September 2016.
JoinAnna: OneHorseLife Training Videos: Anna shows horses’ guidance that exists beyond the positive training methods. In the Articles that accompany videos Anna explains what and how horses want to teach us to expand our awareness, and how to change upon and profit from this guidance.
BodyMarc: Expand Your Awareness: A complete 11-Week Self Study Course with a Book and Video Set to connect with your body, and through the body with the Real Self. The best place to become a better rider, and a more aware person and to profit from the personal guidance from Anna and Pawel.
What a fantastic article Anna, and as always, perfectly timed! It was interesting to me that when i watch the video of the squats on the ball, when you are in the squat it reminded me of “monkey back” that you taught us in JoinAnna. Thank you x
I keep learning more and more from you. :) I am learning so much about body awareness and how it connects us to our horses. This is another outstanding article and I thank you for sharing yourself with all of us! <3
Hi, I have been using just a basketball so far for this., but I really like this idea. What is the size of swiss ball that you are using?