Equine-imity

Yoga on horseback at Middleburg’s Salamander Resort & Spa.

If downward-facing dog weren’t challenging enough to execute on a mat in a yoga studio, imagine doing it on horseback.

“It helps you become a better rider and better communicator with your horse,” says Sheryl Jordan, equestrian director for the Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg where, from mid-April to mid-October, the resort’s equestrian program offers its Yoga on Horseback class (for both riders and non-riders). “We find our non-riders are fascinated to interact with the horse on that level. It opens their eyes to the mutual positive relationship we can have with an animal,” says Jordan.

 The 30-minute session might begin with gentle twists, explains Angela Nuñez, one of the staff that helps conduct the classes. “Then we might do a modified triangle pose where the guest reaches down over the horse’s neck,” progressing to more challenging poses. Horses are bareback, and spotters stand by.

“The horse is a live mat, not just a prop,” explains Nuñez. “People really push themselves out of their comfort zones, and it gives them better balance and strength and boosts their confidence.”

 Yoga on horseback is perhaps one of the 340-acre luxury resort’s more curious equestrian offerings. Traditional trail rides, riding lessons, individualized instruction and other activities are also held in the 14,000-square foot, 22-stall stable and its 28,800 square-foot riding arena.

The only prerequisite for doing yoga on horseback at Salamander is taking the resort’s 1-hour Yoga in the Stable class, held as the sun rises and shines into the the east-facing stable. After that, horse and rider are free to explore the great mysteries of deeper connection. Namaste.

$150 per person, SalamanderResort.com/equestrian

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