Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Little Inspiration

An old man walked on a shore littered with thousands of starfish, beached and drying up after a storm. A young man was picking them up and flinging them back into the ocean. "Why do you bother?" the old man scoffed. "You are not saving enough to make a difference." The young man picked up another starfish and sent it spinning back to the water. "Made a difference to that one," he said. - Author Unknown

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Time For Your Horse’s Program!

Man, the winter just drags on in Colorado. I wish that every horse owner had access to an indoor arena so that they could be completely ready for the competitive season. Unfortunately, they don’t. If you don’t have an indoor arena, you’ve still got to find a way to get your horse conditioned for the season.

This is April 12. The serious competitive season generally kicks off around Memorial Day. That’s six full weeks! If your horse is a healthy performance animal with last year under his / her belt, than six weeks is plenty of time, provided the weather allows.

On dry, good weather days, a long, slow ride is a great way to start strengthening your winter grazer’s legs and joints. Tendons and ligaments need conditioning more than muscles do, and they injure easily if not properly prepared for dynamic loading.

Now is a good time to sit down and design a plan for the next six weeks. It can be simple. First, some long walks. Then add some walk, trot. Then add some sport specific exercises (easy barrel patterns, figure 8’s, serpentines) etc. Maybe plan a trail ride with some friends in mid May, followed by a friendly competitive event with your friends at the end of May to blow the dust off of your hat.

This might sound like a real baby fitness program, but lots of people unload their horse for the July 4 event without any planning and end up with a lame horse. I assure you that your horse will be more willing and have a healthier season if you just give it a chance.

Now might be a great time to buy my book, The Fit Horse Companion!

Have a GREAT season! --- Kathy D.

Meditation Is One Cool Solution

As I’ve mentioned, I’m taking a Yoga and Meditation Instructors course. I’ve practiced Yoga off and on for many years, but never took it on as my main form of conditioning. As far as meditation goes, I’m jiggy, jumpy, and have never been able to sit for too long.

I’m learning a ton of detailed, historic information about yoga and meditation. As an athlete and trainer, I’ve always been good at sports, and winning points, or teaching a ridiculous number of classes to prove my level of strength. What a strange curve I’ve taken.

I’ve owned a copy of the Bhagavad-Gita, and have been considered an alternative thinker my whole life. I’ve written a Cranial-Sacral Therapy course that’s complex, and completely different from most forms of traditional massage therapy. But Kundalini Yoga? Wow. This is such new approach to clearing the body and mind, that I can hardly believe that someone actually came up with this design.

I tend to get humerous when I get into uncomfortable situations, so I’m going to have to admit that the practice of Kundalini Yoga felt down right embarrassing at first. The instructor’s video is showing him squatting down and panting like a dog. Okay. Or, he’s kneeling, with his tongue out. You want me to do that?

Humor aside, I get it. I can see the correlation of Kundalini Yoga with Reiki, Cranial, and many other forms of traditional therapy, but in a different package. The teacher, www.anmolmehta.com is a respectful, fit, articulate expert. His detail and organization has made this new study really fun!

Kundalini Yoga includes many forms of breathing in conjunction with appropriate postures (asanas) for clearing and strengthening different areas of the body. The Chakras, of course, have been studied since man has existed, and the breathing and asanas are designed specifically to clear each one bringing balance to the system.

I am working hard to perfect the asanas, and the breathing exercises are really invigorating. If you’re a Yogi and you’ve never attended a Kundalini Yoga class, I would recommend giving it a try. You WILL find relaxation, and you will definitely find physical strength.

You will, however, have to leave your Western Fitness way of thinking at the door and open your mind to Eastern Philosophies. This is different. Wayyyyyyy.

I am challenged every day, then I follow my strenuous workout with a quiet, VERY relaxing meditation. I love that part. I never got to lay down when I taught aerobics! Thank you, www.anmolmehta.com You got me through the embarrassing part, and I get it! You are indeed a Guru. Everyone should be practicing Kundalini Yoga with you.