Native American culture sees the horse as an animal that has powerful lessons we can apply to our own lives. Contemplating animal symbolism is a way of contemplating aspects of our own soul and spirituality. For more information on totems, please refer to the symbolism section of eagle pose.
Horses symbolize strength, power, stamina, love, devotion, loyalty, nobility, honor, grace, messenger, liberation, herald of spirit knowledge, and continuity of life. Through stories like Black Beauty, we have also come to see horses as representing an ability to overcome heartbreak and cope under difficult circumstances. Horses like Black Beauty show us with their ability to get through hard times with big-heartedness and love. They inspire us to feel as though we can do the same.
Horses can also symbolize drive, passion, and joie de vivre. They inspire us to embrace experiences that bring us real joy and a feeling of connection to other beings. Shamans are considered by many to be the first yogis and are often pictured flying on mythical horses. Horses are linked to the yogic concept of “life force”. In Hindu culture, horses are linked to the Cosmos – the last incarnation of Vishnu is believed to be a white horse. Buddhist legend has it that the Buddha rode a white horse as he left the temporal world.
Benefits of Lunge or Horse Pose
- Strengthens the deep gluteal muscles and balances their strength, preventing and improving sciatica.
- Stretches the hip flexors and balances their length, preventing and improving lower back pain.
- Tones the muscles of the waist, particularly the deeper abdominal muscles and the obliques.
- Modifications might be necessary for those who suffer from leg, knee, ankle, or foot pain.
- Modifications may be necessary for people who suffer from hip or low back pain.
- Start with your feet together, toes touching, and come into a forward fold so your hands are on either side of the feet, knees bent.
- Slide your left foot back about the length of one leg and come to the ball of your back foot.
- Make sure that your right knee is directly over your right ankle,
- Feel the muscles of your thighs hugging the femurs to support your knees.
- Press your left heel back as your right knee presses forward. Feel the dynamics of your front knee and back heel working in opposition.
- Ensure your hips stay square with the top of the mat.
- Inhale as you bring your torso to an upright position while lifting your arms overhead with the palms facing inward.
- Feel that your neck is long and your shoulder blades are sliding down your back.
- Hinge forward and return your hands to the mat on either side of your front foot.
- Step your back foot forward to meet the front foot in standing forward bend.