Body Awareness Breakthrough: Are You Sabotaging Yourself (and Your Horse)? #77

#debono moves #equinemovement #humanmovement feldenkrais method Jun 13, 2024

Can the way you think about your body transform your riding experience? Join me, Mary Debono, on the Easier Movement, Happier Horses podcast as we explore a crucial concept for equestrians: understanding the difference between using body parts in isolation versus independently. This might sound like a subtle shift, but it can lead to a profound improvement in your movement coordination and your harmony with your horse. By gaining better control and awareness of how you move both in and out of the saddle, you can elevate your nonverbal communication with your horse, resulting in a more enjoyable and effective riding journey.

Throughout this episode, I’ll guide you through breaking free from maladaptive movement habits that limit your potential and cause unnecessary fatigue or injury. We'll discuss the importance of learning to use your body parts independently, fostering healthier and more harmonious movements that benefit your overall well-being. Tune in for practical advice and valuable insights aimed at helping you cultivate greater body awareness, enhance your athleticism, and build a more pleasurable and productive connection with your horse. Make mindful adjustments, transform your riding, and discover the joy of moving in harmony with your equine partner.

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If you're like most horse people, you want to improve your body awareness. I mean, there's always room for improvement for that. So today, what I'd like to talk to you about is this idea of whether you isolate parts of your body or you can use them independently. And it might seem like just a silly little difference of words, but it actually, the way you think about it, can make a big difference to how aware you are of your movement, how you can coordinate movement, and how you could best move with your horse.

So, in case we're meeting for the first time, my name is Mary de Bono, and this is the easier movement, happier horses podcast. So, you know, in political terms, anyway, isolation generally means that you refuse to cooperate, okay? It's not a positive thing. It's like you're isolating, right? Independence, however, means that you cooperate on your own terms, okay? So you have choice. So when you're independent, there is choice there.

Isolation is like, boom, this is how I'm doing it, and I refuse to cooperate with anybody else, okay? So when we think of how we use our parts, you know, when we're with our horses, whether we're in the saddle and even on the ground, it's important that we use our parts independently at times. So that, for example, you could move your shoulders slightly while your hips stay a certain way, or you can move your hips slightly, your pelvis slightly while your shoulders stay to the front.

So these kinds of more nuanced movements are very important for equestrians. And even on the ground, it's a similar thing, you know, to have that communication with your horse, that nonverbal communication, requires you to have real control over your movements, real awareness of your movements. So this is why we talk a lot about body awareness, both for you and your horse. So let's get back to this idea that, well, are you using parts in isolation or independently?

So, again, when you. When you use parts in isolation, that often comes from a maladaptive habit. In other words, you created a habit. Like, we all have different movement habits. You created a movement habit. Maybe even when you were a kid, this started, you know, it could be anytime, and you learned how to kind of separate out parts of yourself, to restrict movement in parts. And, you know, at one time, that habit served a useful purpose, right?

It was like a solution to a problem, but over time, it wasn't helpful. And maybe now, maybe it's 30 years later and you're still doing it, and you don't even know it because it's so habitual, it's unconscious. But what you're doing is you're limiting your movement. You're limiting your ability to move with your horse, and you're causing yourself a lot of fatigue, a lot of wear and tear, potential injuries, and, you know, damage over time.

Okay. And not being effective, again, with your horse. So not good. When you learn, you know, when you heighten your body awareness, you can use your parts independently. So you have choice in how you, you move them. So there is. There you can move them in very healthy ways, ways that actually are generative, and they help your physiology. Right. They don't degrade it. So this is really important.

So if you think of it this way, again, the independent use is there's a sense of harmony in the body, right? There isn't that conflict that the isolated parts feel, right? That they're working against other parts of the body? No. When you're independently using your body, different parts, you're moving in harmony with the rest of yourself. Okay? Movement is light and easy, more athletic, and it feels good.

It's pleasurable, okay? I often say this little saying I have, and it's so true, and this is a good example of it, and that is movement benefits from choice. So, again, if you've gotten into some, you know, maladaptive habits where you're isolating parts, that's not choice, okay? That's compulsion. That's a bad habit, a maladaptive habit. But if you're learning how to have clearer awareness and more control, more coordination, then you can use your parts independently, and that's harmonious, okay?

That's healthier, that feels really good. So ask yourself, are there times where you're using your parts in isolation or independently? So, for example, if I'm going to reach for something, right, or maybe it's up on a high shelf now, I might have gotten into habits of, say, for example, contracting a particular muscle in my neck that attaches to my shoulder blade. And that means that other muscles aren't moving as well.

It means that the shoulder joint can't move as well, and it's creating a lot of wear and tear damage in the shoulder joint, okay? That's moving in isolation. But instead, if I have more awareness and I can let go of any unnecessary work and allow my ribs and all these other parts of myself to move, right, that's more harmonious. And then I can choose, like, maybe I want to just move from my shoulder blade, that becomes a choice.

It's very different than the compulsion or the moving and isolation. So there's definitely a time and place for independent movement of parts. And again, anything you do with your horse, you know, there's going to be times where you do need to be effective. You do need to have that level of control that you can move parts independently, but it's with the support of the whole body. Okay? It's very different than when it's a bad habit.

Okay? So ask yourself that, are you moving in harmony or in conflict with yourself? And, you know, this translates to your horse as well because your horse also can either be moving in, you know, the parts in isolation or independence, and we're having that harmony. And then let's ask yourself a bigger picture. Are you kind of flowing both in body and mind, like being flexible in body and mind so that you can move in harmony with your horse?

Or are you kind of struggling with maybe inflexibility, lack of proprioception, lack of coordination, stiffness, things like that that's causing you to move against your horse more in conflict rather than harmony. Okay? So ask yourself that. And then, you know, really think about how you can let go of unnecessary tension. And then if you feel like it, maybe you want to join my move. With your horse program.

We take a deep dive into helping you improve your body awareness and your horse's body awareness and having overall easier, healthier, more efficient movement. But start by asking yourself those questions. And then if you are interested in looking into the program, we're going to be opening the doors in late July of 2024. That's a new cohort. We're in a cohort right now. And you can go to

joinhorse to get on my waitlist and I'll keep you updated. Okay. So you can be the first to know when we open the doors again and any other perks and bonuses that you may get from being on the waitlist. So joinhorse. That's all one word, all lowercase, and it'll be in the show notes. So don't worry about writing it down right now. But if you are writing it down, are you moving your hand and arm in isolation or independently?

Okay, ask yourself that. And then with your interactions with your horse, again, are you flowing and flexible in body and mind, or are you coming against your horse? And let me just give you another quick example about this. A lot of times as horse people, we have our own agendas. We have our own agendas. There's maybe competitions we want to enter. There's certain things we want to do, and we approach our horses from a place of isolation like we think of.

It's me versus the horse. I mean, we may not think that intellectually, consciously, but that's how we're acting, okay? And it's like we're moving against our horse. But if you think of you and your horse, yes, you're two separate, independent beings. Okay, independent. But you can move together through life in harmony. Okay? You could be independent, but you can also move together in harmony. And this is where having a flexible body and a flexible mind really come into play.

So it's good to ask yourself, when you are interacting with your horse, are you coming? Is your intention from a place of isolation, or it's independent and in harmony and with your horse. So I'll leave you with that. Let me know what you come up with. I always love hearing from you. You could always email me thank you so much for listening and subscribing to the podcast.

I so appreciate you and I can't wait to talk to you again. Bye for now.