How to Do the Horse Pose | Yoga for Beginners
Horse pose is a great standing pose that can be done by anyone at any skill level. Whether you’re a yoga connoisseur or a beginner, horse pose provides a wide range of benefits when done correctly.
Today, we’ll be teaching you how to do the horse pose. This pose will help strengthen your leg muscles as well as stretch them. Furthermore, horse pose can be done in a dynamic or static fashion.
If you choose to do the horse pose dynamically, you would just move up and down while holding the pose. In a static position, you would just hold the pose.
Either way, horse pose is a great yoga pose to learn for the range of mobility and strength it provides your legs. Let’s get into it!
How to Do Horse Pose
Doing the horse pose is simple, but it requires a number of steps. It’s important that you make sure you’re doing each step correctly,
Step 1: Start by Separating Your Feet
Horse pose is done with your feet set apart. That said, the beginning of this exercise requires you to stand with your feet apart at shoulder width. Then, slightly bend your knees and, while engaging your belly, roll your shoulders up, back, and down.
Now that you’re in this position, you need to try to move your feet apart as much as possible. Afterwards, turn your toes 45 degrees outwards on each side. For reference, your left foot should be at the 10:00 position and your right foot should be at the 2:00 position.
Step 2: Lower Your Body as Much as Possible
Lift your chest and bend your knees as much as possible. You should look like you’re sinking towards the floor. During this, it’s important to make sure that your knees don’t move past your toes.
Keep your chest and belly engaged. Then, bring your hands together in front of your heart. Congratulations, you’re now in horse pose.
Step 3: Root Your Feet and Practice Proper Breathing
Continue to make sure that your knees stay behind your toes while pushing down your heels into the floor. This ensures that your lower body is engaged. Stay like this while taking continuous deep breaths. For reference, you should hold this position for around five minutes.
Step 4: Return to Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
Once you’ve finished horse pose, on an exhale, straighten your legs by pushing through your feet. Then, move your toes inward followed by your heels. After you’ve done this, hold the mountain pose.
In this position, make sure to stand tall and practice proper breathing. Hold this position for at least 30 seconds.
Horse Pose Benefits
Horse pose may be a simple pose, but it’s one of the most effective out there. Horse pose offers a variety of benefits such as increased flexibility, reduced joint pain, and strengthened arms and shoulders.
We’ll go over some of the best benefits that you can receive from doing horse pose.
Horse pose improves your posture by forcing you to properly open your hips and legs. On top of this, the pose challenges to keep your spine straight. This is done through learning how to pull in your abdominals and strengthening your core.
With a strengthened and natural instinct on moving your abdomen, you’ll naturally begin to practice proper posture in your daily life.
Strengthen Your Leg Muscles
The main area that horse pose works on is your legs. More specifically, horse pose focuses on your quads and glutes. Furthermore, horse pose opens your stance which, in turn, strengthens your inner thighs.
When you hold a horse pose, you’re performing an isometric hold. An isometric hold is a type of strength training where joint angle and muscle length stay the same when contracted. This does two things for you: balances muscles and activates your core.
When practiced regularly and properly, horse pose can reduce muscle tension. Furthermore, the different stretches done during horse pose teach your muscles to move more freely, increasing your overall flexibility.
Reduce Joint Pain and Inflammation
Horse pose keeps the muscles around the joint strong and flexible. This provides therapy for injured or stressed muscles. Furthermore, it also builds up your joints so that they stay healthy and are less susceptible to future injuries.
Improve Blood Circulation
Horse pose helps get the blood pumping by the variety of movements you’re doing with your lower body. For instance, twisting helps bring fresh oxygenated blood while inversion poses bring blood flow from the lower legs to the brain and heart.
Improve Balance and Hand-Eye Coordination
A lot of the movements behind horse pose are to make sure your body is in control with itself. For instance, while holding several positions, you have to make sure that your knees are behind your toes.
Because you have to hold different positions, it becomes easier for your legs to balance your upper body. Furthermore, because you’re concentrating on balancing during the pose, your hand-eye coordination will benefit as a result.
Strengthen Arm and Shoulder Muscles
Horse pose also works on your shoulder muscles by exposing it to a wide range of movements. As you do horse pose, these movements will strengthen your shoulder muscles which will, in turn, strengthen your overall arm.
Horse Pose Tips
Even though horse pose is a pretty simple pose, you still need to do it properly otherwise you risk exposing yourself to injury. Here are some tips you can implement to make sure you’re doing horse pose correctly.
Start By Balancing Against a Wall
Horse pose will challenge your ability to stay upright, especially with your back and spine. To master the pose, we recommend starting with balancing against a wall. Once you’ve figured out how your back and spine should be positioned, you can then do horse pose without the wall as a crutch.
Keep Your Shoulders Engaged
Once you’ve rolled your shoulders back, the rest of the pose is focused on the feet and chest. As such, it can be easy to forget about your shoulders which can then lead to you doing the pose improperly.
Make sure you always keep your shoulders engaged once they’re rolled back. This should help you maintain proper posture while also building your shoulder muscles.