Happy Autumn Equinox. Despite its greeting with blankets of rain and gray, there was a beauty to bowing, softening and reducing the cadence of what could have been a much busier day.
On this day I happen to schedule a horse riding lesson and after coming off of a hectic and physical week, I was feeling all kinds of cranky. I felt somewhat unsure and unmoored walking through the stable door. After getting my ride, I began to check and clean his hooves and groom his body, making notes of anything out of the ordinary. In the span of twenty minutes of grooming, my shoulders relaxed and the buzz in my brain soften as I brushed out the flakes of mud and loose hair from his coat. Each step from the ground up was an exercise in pausing and checking in with body, mind, attention and equipment.
Upon mounting, we did a brief warmup to trot and I could feel something was off. Rather than push on silently, I told my instructor I felt off balance and she rechecked my set up and the level of my stirrups. Instead of returning to the trot, she told me to stop my horse, release my feet out of the stirrups and bring my horse to a steady walk. Doing so, I felt a shift in my torso and pelvic bowl. Instead of holding on with my legs, my body shifted to balance with less effort. As we worked into turns and figure eights, I felt more at ease as I became acutely aware of the direction of my gaze as a mover of my body and the horse’s body together- the subtle shifting of my body working with the gait and energy of my horse.
At the end of the lesson I asked my instructor why she chose to move in this direction to which she replied, “when things feel off balance, it’s time to move back to regain the feel for the subtle”. We looked at each other for a long while in the arena with the unspoken feeling of returning to center surrounding us.
This time of year is striking with the blaze of colors growing around us but internally, we don’t want to pay heed to what nature and the animals listen to- it’s a time to not only harvest but to store. Our practices have a way of shifting us as we enter onto the mat from feeling lethargic or crazed to becoming aware of how we are breathing and recognizing the layers under how we arrive. As we ‘land’ we can feel the microscopic movements and adjustments making monumental shifts in our minds and practices.
We encourage you to direct your gaze and focus towards the what lies in front of us in the coming months. There are so many beautiful ways to direct your practice to tap into the subtle.
Your Friends at TYC