For most of us, when we think about horse we think about beauty and freedom and joy.  It’s about the movement.  They are gorgeous and yet strong and so fast, by our standards.  They wouldn’t beat a cheetah in a race, but that’s not the point. 🙂  If we think about them at rest, we most often think about them in the collective:  horses eating together in a green grass fields somewhere, swishing flies with their tails, watching foals race around in their own types of games, standing in the shade of a tree drowsing.  Which points to our own mindset about things:  being free and active and doing-doing-doing is something we can relate to and yearn for while being at rest, at peace, and happy is something that is vague, distant and other than us.

Horse can teach us about these things and help us bring them into balance.  First off, we are more akin to horses than we realize.  We are both social creatures that flourish in groups and when we have nurturing surroundings including good relationships.  Also, we are by nature prey animals.  Others look at us and see dinner.  Ask any cat, bear, or wolf and they’ll agree.  Well, we smell somewhat rancid to them since we eat chemicals they wouldn’t piss on, but that’s beside the point.  We have adapted our overly large brains so that we can survive without all the defenses that other species have.   We use our brain for problem solving everything all the time.  We think our way through things, creating new wonders, destroying old ones, and basically blundering our way into each new day.

But in doing so we have lost something.  We have lost the ability to be.  To just be.  Horses are prey animals that need to be aware of their surroundings at all times.  Not in a fight or flight manner of high anxiety in every instant.  Who would want to live like that? No, they exist in that state we attempt to create with yoga: be completely in and aware of your body and yet aware of everything else as well.  Become that still point between you and everything else without leaving your body for parts unknown.  Or falling asleep.

Horse is constantly in a blissful state of totally here in this now without being unaware of what is going on, what is possible or even probably.  It’s ready in an instant to change to a fight/flight stage and is able to come down out of it just as quickly.  Horse isn’t sitting there worrying about what could happen tomorrow or whether the grass will continue to grow or if there will be water at the trough.  It will deal with that if and when it happens.  Meanwhile it’s completely in the now.  The feel of sun on its skin, the taste of the grass, the feel of the wind and the movement in its limbs, the total bliss of just being.

Notice, horse doesn’t force itself to accept what isn’t working in it’s now.  It doesn’t try to forgive its herd for past misdeeds, nor does it ignore things that aren’t working in its life.  It lives in the now, taking care of what’s ahead of it, acting/reacting, until it achieves the best life it can in this moment…and this one…and this.  So as we get into this year of the horse, you might want to see how much you can get fully into this now.  But don’t be surprised if the reason you haven’t done it so far is that once you are in this now you need to act/react to what isn’t working in your life….Horse is about freedom and action after all….