The Barn Doesn’t Care

I came across this poem and instantly fell in love. “Yoga doesn’t care,” is my mantra when a guilty feeling starts to crawl its way to the surface.

Yoga Doesn’t Care: A Disclaimer that Should be Posted in Every Studio. 

By Janne Robinson

(Abbreviated version)

Yoga doesn’t care what your hair looks like.

Yoga doesn’t care if you are vegetarian, if you eat meat or know what Kombucha is.

Yoga doesn’t care when the last time you practiced was—yesterday, six months ago, never.

Yoga doesn’t care what kind of mat you have, brand new or eating away at itself.

Yoga doesn’t care if you show up cranky or exhausted.

Yoga doesn’t care if you wear mala beads.

Yoga doesn’t care what the tag on the back of your pants says.

Yoga doesn’t care if you don’t know what yoga means.

Yoga doesn’t care how much money you have, what house you live in, what car you drive.

Yoga doesn’t care if you are flexible.

Yoga doesn’t care if you fall over in Trikonasana.

Yoga doesn’t care if you fart during practice.

Yoga doesn’t care if you ever make it into head stand.

Yoga doesn’t care if you feel uncomfortable saying Namaste and Om.

Yoga doesn’t care if you drink super food smoothies or drink coconut water.

Yoga doesn’t care if choose the back corner or the front row of the room to practice.

Yoga doesn’t care if you stay to meditate.

Yoga doesn’t care if you can put your leg behind your head, or lick your own ass.

Yoga doesn’t care if you know what Ujjayi breath is.

Yoga doesn’t care if you have a man bun.

Yoga doesn’t care if your monkey mind takes over.

Yoga doesn’t care how old you are, the color of your hair doesn’t affect your practice.

Yoga doesn’t care if you juice or cleanse.

Yoga doesn’t care if you shake the entire 60 minutes.

Yoga doesn’t care if you complete a 30 day challenge.

Yoga doesn’t care if you shop at whole foods.

Yoga doesn’t care if you remember to shave your armpits.

Yoga is just happy you show up.

Too often I mentally kick my self for not stepping onto my mat for days. I know that a simple fifteen minute session would make all the difference in my day. Instead, I’ll throw out some excuse about time and rush about creating more tension. When I finally find my self back in Tadanasna, if only for a few minutes, I remember “yoga doesn’t care.” It also couldn’t give two pennies about when I show up, how I look, what mood I’m in, what I ate the night before. It’s just happy that I showed up.

I believe “yoga” can be replaced by many words. Running, biking, blogging…. the list could run on. The “word” is what makes you happy when you show up, in what ever state. At first I wanted to replace yoga with my horse, but that didn’t seem to encompass the whole feeling. It’s more than just one horse, it’s the barn full of horses. It’s getting up early to the barn to watch the sunrise. It’s sipping a cider at the barn after afternoon chores. It’s sneaking to the barn late at night just to check in on sleepy ponies. The barn is my happy place.

The Barn doesn’t care.

The barn doesn’t care if your hair is in a ball cap.

The barn doesn’t care if you wear Tuff jeans or Kerrit breaches.

The barn doesn’t care if your horse is purebred or backyard-yard bred.

The barn doesn’t care if you’re eight or eighty.

The barn doesn’t care if you’re finishing a lesson, going on a trail ride, or prepping for a show.

The barn doesn’t care if there is an eight horse slant with living quarters or a two-horse stock parked in the back.

The barn doesn’t care if you’re Parelli, Classical, Cowboy, Ray Hunt, Julie Goodnight, or Self trained.

The barn doesn’t care if you can spend all day or just enough to finish chores.

The barn doesn’t care what car you pulled up in.

The barn doesn’t care how many saddles you have in the tack room.

The barn doesn’t care if your best friend has two legs or four.

The barn is just happy you showed up.

I’ve never regretted the time spent at the barn or on my mat. I have to remind myself that it’s ok to spend 10 minutes in Sun Salutations if I don’t have an hour for a class. It is ok to groom a horse for ten minutes if I don’t have an hour to saddle up. The moments that make us happy are always there waiting for us. Essentially it isn’t yoga or the barn that’s just happy that I showed up, it’s me.

I am just happy that I showed up.

Equi Yogi: Foundation

I’ve embarked on a new endeavor. When our yoga instructor Nicole moved to Kansas City I decided to take over her position. Following in Nicole’s footsteps, I signed up for the ten month, 200 hour course at Grassroots Yoga here in Albuquerque. For years I have been doing my best downward dog in class and adding in a YogaGlo session to my work out plan. The transition into instructor should be as easy as a vinyasa flow. Although my natural flexibility and strength has carried me through many sessions, this course proved that I have mearly been splashing in the toddler pool of yoga.  

The yoga philosophy can be as intimidating as the deep end of the swimming pool with a sky scraping diving board. To even contemplate the idea of standing on that high dive and delving into the true depth of yoga, I must first learn to swim. With a head overflowing and body aching, I ended my first weekend of classes with one solid precept, everything in life must start with a foundation. In yoga that foundation is Tadasana, or Mountain Pose.

Tadasana, the act of standing… so that all other asanas can be achieved.

Tadasna, the act of standing, grounds the feet, engages the shins and thighs, stacks the pelvis, lifts the belly, broadens the collarbone, draws back the shoulder blades, lengthens the neck and aligns the head so that all other asanas can be achieved. When one element is left out the body sinks, much like swimming without kicking. No matter what plank or dancing warrior I enter into, every pose has elements of Tadasna. When I’m wobbling in a standing asana, I can refer back to Tadasana to adjust and stabilize my balance. This asnasa gives me a place to trust in order to achieve more complicated poses and the confidence to push myself through intimidating asanas, such as Half Moon.

Groundwork, the act of establishing communication between horse and rider… so all other schooling can be achieved.

As I lay in shivasana one morning, waiting for my body to absorb the practice, I started to contemplate the similarities of yoga and horse training. With any new horse I start training with groundwork, because it builds a foundation out of many different elements, much like Tadasana. Groundwork, the act of establishing communication between horse and rider, grounds the feet from rearing, engages the legs in movement, lifts the belly to elongate the back in work, and aligns the head so all other schooling can be achieved. If one element is rushed then the horse can become confused and panic like a drowning swimmer. So when my horse refuses to step into a stream, I can refer back to the elements of a well built foundation in order to adjust and stabilize the forward movement. This trust built between horse and rider will give them both the confidence to push through uncomfortable situations, such as crossing a water obstacle. 

Whether it is diving into the pools of yoga or crossing a puddle on horseback, with a solid foundation neither will seem so deep. A foundation is formed slowly, methodically, and by mastering one element at a time. Once established it will be the cornerstone of all other challenges and the basis to return to. The more I learn about the philosophies of yoga the more it coincides with my philosophies of horse training, and both can be applied to life. Live in the now, don’t be in a hurry, and kindness is the root of communication. I am excited to further my understanding of the correlation between horse and rider as I finish my instructor course. Please keep a look out for more Equi Yogini musing. 

Namaste horses