!e Natural Horse Coaching Programme

By Caroline Des-Rivieres BHSII ITEC TMAP SAC Dip. Life Coaching

Step one

Meditation

Copyright Caroline Des - Rivieres 2008

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Fifteen or twenty years ago if you mentioned that you were meditating many people thought it was a strange eastern spiritual practice that only slightly odd people did! Now days meditating is fairly mainstream and excepted as a way of dissolving stress. Some of the benefits include: New Forest Pony 2008 • • • • • • • • Benefits for riders: • • • • • • • • • Higher performance level Reduces anxiety Increases concentration Increases riding ability and connection to the horse Increases recognition of nonverbal communication Decreases stress levels Increases rider awareness Increases body awareness Increased clarity Improvement in concentration Increases blood flow and slows the heart rate Increases exercise tolerance in heart patients Leads to a deeper level of relaxation Lowers blood pressure Reduces anxiety attacks by lowering the levels of blood lactate Decreases muscle tension Enhances the immune system

Meditation.

Meditating is an excellent way to enliven your understanding of the language of the horse. To be in tune, responsive and understanding of the energy of the horse, we first need to be in a receptive frame of mind, meditation is an excellent way to allow ourselves to relax, to become receptive to the subtle energies of the horses. Approximately 15 years ago I learnt to meditate, it was only a short time, within a few months in fact, that I was able to relax enough to consciously feel the energy field of the horses which deepened my journey into exploring non verbal communication and healing.
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The meditation outlined is a simple breathing meditation including the “Natural Mantra” Soham, pronounced So..hum. This mantra is called a Natural Mantra because it is part of our nature, it is the sound and vibration of our inward and outward breath. We repeat it silently inside..... Sooooo ... is the sound of inhalation Hummmm ... is the sound of exhalation Thinking a mantra pulls your attention within, and has the potential to gradually bring you into peace.

Read through the notes below a couple of times before you start? You might find it useful whilst you are learning to download the meditation audio from the Awakening With Horses website: www.awakeningwithhorses.co.uk ( Meditation notes) Where to meditate: Whilst you are first learning to meditate it is good to find somewhere quiet where you can practice without phones ringing or other interruptions. If you are living in a busy household it is also useful to let people know where you are sitting so they don’t come and disturb you. Although my own experience of when I first learnt to meditate was that everybody became more demanding, especially the children. It took a couple of weeks of gentle insistence before the routine was established and they allowed me the uninterrupted peace! I remember complaining to my meditation teacher about these minor disturbances which seemed so large! He informed me of the time that he and a group of fellow meditators were meditating in a war zone approximately a mile away from where bombs were dropping, I never said another word on the subject! After you have learnt to meditate, and you feel confident in your process you will easily be able to go into your meditation on a train or bus or indeed with lots of other noise going on. Several years ago I was flying up to Scotland, I was sitting in the airport, the plane had been cancelled due to a fault and about thirty passengers had to wait for a replacement plane. Out of the six hours I spent about two and a half hours meditating, when I finally got to my destination I felt relaxed and fresh unlike some of the other passengers who spent most of the six hours complaining and getting stressed. Meditation position: Sitting in a chair: It is important to keep the back straight, to allow the flow of energy up your spine, your feet equally on the floor, legs uncrossed, arms relaxed with hands resting on your legs.
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Lotus position: If you want to you can sit on a cushion in the cross legged pose known as the half lotus position, the main thing is to be comfortable before you start, don’t force the body into a position. If you do want to sit in the half lotus position I suggest that you start with some cushions under your knees to help support them and you raise your behind on a cushion to lift you slightly off the floor which makes it easier for your knees until you become supple enough to sit without. Let your hands rest on the legs with palm turned upwards thumb and middle finger touching. Or put one hand in the other palm up and place them in front of you resting your forearms on you upper thighs. Some people ask if they can lie down, it is best not to as it gives the wrong signals to the body and you will probably fall asleep. Using the mantra: Using a mantra is a technique, it involves repeating a word or sound several times. There are specific mantras used for different outcomes. The mantra that we use in this meditation (Soham) but pronounced sohum could be called the most basic and universal of them all, as it is the sound of the inwards and outwards breath, it is the ‘breathing mantra.’ As it is already part of us a we are now just bringing the mantra into conscious awareness with our attention on the breath and the sound Soooo Hummm. This technique is very subtle, you can say the words out loud a few times to practice the sound before you settle to meditate. The aim of using a mantra is to invoke a certain quality such as peace, using a mantra makes meditation more powerful. Repeating a mantra in meditation quietens the mind and allows the body to relax. For the mantra to have the most effect spend 15-20 minutes repeating it in meditation. Silently say Soooo on the inward breath and Hummm on the outward breath. In meditation sometimes your experience may be that you only appear to say the mantra a few times and completely forget about it for a while, only remembering occasionally, other times it may seem that you are continually saying the mantra. Each time you remember you are not saying the mantra just gently start to say it again. (Note on this mantra) There are two schools of thought with use of the sound, some say to use hummm on the inward breath and sooo on the outward breath and others seem to reverse it and use sooo on the inward breath and hummm on the outward breath. Personally I think like all things in life one way will suit some people and the opposite way other people. It is something that you may like to try, to discern which feels more natural to you. For this meditation I will use sooo on the inward and hummm on the outward breaths. Falling asleep in Meditation: Sometimes people fall asleep in Meditation this can be for number of reasons, it may be that you are very tired through lack of sleep or have been carrying a lot of stress. The body may take the opportunity to catch up on some much needed sleep. If you find yourself falling asleep a lot, take earlier nights until you redress the balance.
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Eating and Meditation: It is best to meditate on an empty stomach, the digestive system when you are meditating can slow right down or even shut off. How often and for how long: It’s good to meditate twice a day approximately 20 minutes each time, meditate before breakfast and before supper. Take off your watch (if you have one) and just put it on your leg, in this way you can just glance down if you are wondering whether the time is up. Do not be tempted to set an alarm, it can be a shock to the nervous system if you are in a deep relaxed state. Mind wandering: When you are meditating the mind will wander, its natural and normal for it to do this, no need to worry it’s is part of the process. Each time you notice your mind has wandered perhaps to a story, or maybe a physical discomfort, gently bring your awareness and attention back to your mantra and breath. Be gentle with this process, remember it’s the mind’s job to keep you supplied with a many new ideas! Judging your meditation: One of the most important things to remember is not to judge yourself on your meditation results, some times it will appear that you had a deep relaxation and other times your mind will appear full thoughts and you might feel as though it was a waste of your time. Be reassured there are no bad meditations, your meditation will be what it needs to be in the moment. Your job is just to witness your meditation, it is your time to let go of all your normal roles and life and just be. Finishing your meditation: At the end of your meditation and after you open your eyes take a couple of minutes before you get up. If you have been in a very deep relaxed state the body needs time to adjust to being active again, so be gentle on yourself before you start your normal routine again.

Copyright Caroline Des - Rivieres 2008

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Natural Breathing Meditation
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Find a comfortable place to sit. After settling yourself begin by placing your attention on your breath. Notice the rise and fall of your chest as you breath in and out. After a few breaths bring your awareness to your feet, relax the feet. Bring your attention to the breath again. Then take the attention to your knees, relax the knees. Bringing the attention back to the breath again and notice the inward and outward flow. Bring your attention to the pelvis, relax the pelvis Bring the attention back to the breath. Gently bring your awareness into the belly area, relax the belly Moving up into the chest area, notice the breath and let go of any tension in the chest Allow your awareness to move up into your shoulders, letting go of any stress which you may have accumulated since you last meditated. Focus on your breathing again moving your awareness into your arms, letting go of any resistance to total relaxation. Moving up into the face and head notice any little tensions and gently release. Now just bring your attention back into the breath. Now you are ready to start to use the Mantra Soham Begin by gently and silently repeating Sooooo... on the inward breath and Hummmm... on the exhalation Meditate for approximately 20 minutes.

If you have any questions about the meditation technique please e-mail me: caroline@awakeningwithhorses.co.uk
Disclaimer: The information in this article is for education purposes only. If you have a mental illness or physical condition that concerns you please seek the guidance of a health care professional before embarking on any new program or making changes.

Copyright Caroline Des - Rivieres 2008

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