This. Must. Change.
One of the big triggers for me that made me realize the tension I've held in my body is my riding style of late. (And by "of late" I mean these past six months.) It just doesn't feel as good as it used to. Not as effortless. I come away hurting. Going back to riding Stan helped a lot. Riding a balanced horse is very pleasant, but it still doesn't come with the ease it used to. (By the way, Orion is looking and feeling a lot better and has put on lots of weight! His new mom is working with him using alternative and natural methods. More on him here.)
I rode Stan bareback the other night on a whim. It made a big difference for me. I even went so far as to buck-up and ride a few jumps bareback. I impressed myself with that pursuit - I was seriously expecting to end up on the ground. Boy was I surprised to find it was a lot easier for me to jump bareback than in a saddle. I even went so far as to line him up for a jump and then drop the reins and extend my arms out on either side. Success. He launched himself a few times and I stayed on. I wasn't as sore as I expected the following day. The reason? I was more relaxed riding bareback. I managed to trust my abilities and ease into doing what I loved the way I used to instead of
My healthier diet change has brought about many more dreams at night. Luckily, no nightmares. This has left me feeling mentally restless while my body does tend to be somewhat rested. But now, for the past month-ish I wake up many mornings with a sore neck, tight jaw (that I sometimes can't open without a little massage), and more recently, headaches. Waking up with a headache is the ultimate worst start to your day. They're hard to move past.
Over the past couple days I've noticed how tight the muscles in my neck and jaw are and have practiced releasing and relaxing them. That persistent little headache eases away a little each time. Hmmm, maybe I should freaking chill out? The job stability/grad school/real world worries have had me tense since the beginning. I guess I thought I would ease into it and things would go away. Errr, wrong. I need to relax more than I'd thought about things. Make an active effort.
I'm going to try to put yoga into my life a little more frequently. Try to get myself on a schedule with it. It will help me out in all the aspects of my active life (riding, skiing, etc.). I'm exploring my options for which type of yoga I'd like to pursue, or maybe I will do Pilates? I know riding books for both exist, but I want to figure out the best exercises - where best = most successful.
So here's where you, the reader, come in:
Have you tried yoga or Pilates for relaxation, riding, or both?
What do you find to be most successful?