Meditating with Horses

8-7-13 My first day of vacation was spent in rural Connecticut with a brilliant philosopher and healer named Bonnita Roy. The best way I can describe Bonnita is “The Horse Whisperer”. Just to be clear, I, aka “Brooklyn Girl”, have spent little to no time with horses. The idea to spend the day meditating with horses was definitely not mine. It was my husband’s.

As the four of us (daughters ages 18 and 19, husband and me) stepped into the corral, we were asked to choose our horse based the one we connected to the most. Funny enough, I chose the dominant mare and my daughters each chose her one of her offspring. Bonnita explained that horses mirror the current state of our nervous system. In other words, if I am stressed, the horse will be stressed. If I am calm, the horse will mirror that. In other words, there is no “faking it” with horses.

And so our meditation with horses began…

We first practiced “Attention”. Picture this, four Bradleys and four horses all standing perfectly still in meditation. (Daughter #2 reminded us that normal families go to the Jersey Shore for vacation). I must say that this was pretty cool. As I relaxed and got quiet I could feel my horse do the same. As kindred hard-headed mothers, we began to bond.

After an hour or so we moved to a round corral to practice “Intention”. This practice would reveal the clarity of our non-verbal communication. If the energy behind our intentions were muddled then our horse would respond in a confused manner. If our intentions were clear and directed then our horses would prance, in sync with our non-verbal guidance.

I observed my husband and girls at work with their horses before it was my turn. At first the horses mirrored the mixed messages that my family was sending. They turned unexpectedly, stood still or act completely uninterested. When the horses received more confident instructions, they immediately responded and galloped with pride. It was like magic. My horse responded exactly at the moment that my intention became clear and directed. (She and I did have a dominant mare show down which was thrilling and frightening at the same time but that is for another blog.)

My meditation with the horses was enlightening. It made me aware of how often I send mixed messages to the world. We are all like a herd of horses reading each other’s nervous systems and responding to each other’s muddled directions. Think about how smooth life would flow if we could learn to clearly communicate exactly what we need and how we would like each other to prance.

Cara Bradley

About the Author | Cara Bradley

Cara Bradley, founder of Verge Yoga in the Philadelphia area, is a passionate teacher of 30 years sharing her curiosity and enthusiasm for experiencing life fully. She is also the founder of Mindfulness Through Movement, a non-profit offering programs to schools in urban Philadelphia. Her book, “On The Verge: Wake Up, Show Up, and Shine” (New World Library) will be available in 2016.

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