Riding with Chi: Your Pathway to Energy Mastery with Mark Russell
Riding with Chi: Your Pathway to Energy Mastery
An Artistic and Inspirational Instructional and Exercise Program recommended by R Dressage Judge Lisa K. Schmidt for Riders of all ages, all experience levels, and all disciplines.
The Chinese character chi represents the life-process or energy flow that sustains all living things. In Chinese culture, the practice to Tai Chi and Qi Gong (chee kung) evolved, in part, as a way of enhancing the flow of chi within the human body.
In Riding with Chi, the elements of efficient energy flow − low breathing, relaxation, spinal alignment, and balance − are discussed and demonstrated in terms of these time-honored exercises and their application to the rider’s position (Disc 1). Disc 2 teaches several short, easy-to-follow Tai Chi and Qi Gong routines. You will learn to lower your breath, relax and supple your body, and achieve a stable and balanced position while in motion, as when you are riding. Additional exercises to relieve facial and jaw tension and increase lung capacity are provided. Once you learn to feel energy flow within your own body, you will feel it within your horse as well, opening a pathway for extraordinary communication between horse and rider.
Over time, energy mastery will bring grace and sophistication to your riding as it becomes apparent how a fusion between relaxation and energy flow forms the foundation for balance in motion − for both horse and rider.
Three experts have come together to bring you this unique program:
Patricia Norcia is a dressage trainer in Connecticut. She was introduced to Tai Chi as a student at the Yale School of Drama and has taught breathing classes at major universities.
US- and Asian-trained David Ritchie operates his own school for Tai Chi and Qi Gong instruction in Connecticut. Over the past several years, he has worked with equestrians to develop the specific exercise routines featured in Riding with Chi.
Mark Russell, author of Lessons in Lightness: The Art of Educating the Horse, owned a training facility in Tennessee and conducted riding clinics across the US. He promoted Tai Chi for equestrians throughout his career as a trainer.
Experts agree—the best way to improve yourself riding is to improve your “self.” Energy mastery will improve one’s awareness of self because it entails low “dan-tien” (deep belly) breathing combined with relaxation, spinal alignment, and balance. The mind/body connection that develops through practicing Tai Chi not only improves the rider’s position in the saddle but also enhances the rider’s communication with their horse through the exchange of energy—or chi. It is this exchange of energy that allows horse and rider to move as one.
The horse’s natural rhythm is slower than ours. Practicing Tai Chi movements teaches the rider to move slowly; consequently, the rider will be more in sync with the horse’s rhythm, which leads to the unity between horse and rider we all strive for.
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