Tag Archives: Yoga

Yoga on Horseback

Yoga on Horseback at Salamander Resort and Spa // (c) 2013 Janeen Christoff
Yoga on Horseback at Salamander Resort and Spa // (c) 2013 Janeen Christoff

I never thought I would do yoga in a stable, let alone on a horse, but that is just one of the many things that I loved about the recently opened Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg, Va. A gorgeous rural setting in Northern Virginia, sprawling grounds, a sensual spa, delectable cuisine and well-appointed guestrooms also lend themselves to the experience. Yet, it’s the property’s equine program that makes the resort a truly standout experience.

I loved horseback riding as a girl, but I don’t get to do it very often anymore, especially because I am allergic to horses. However, under the right conditions, I do love to go trail riding. Salamander Resort and Spa goes beyond just offering a trail riding experience, with a unique variety of equine experiences. Sheryl Jordan has developed a program that not only appeals to riders but to those who do not ride but still love horses. Jordan specializes in human-to-horse interaction and builds interaction into the programs she offers at Salamander.

During my stay, I was able to experience a small sampling of what the resort offers visitors, including a program called the Equi-Spective Experience, an opportunity for self-discovery through hands-on equine interaction. One of the lessons involves listening to and controlling the horse through movement alone. It is a powerful lesson, allowing the visitor to gain insight into their own personality. I discovered that, if I could tune out the “noise” from the rest of the world and listen to myself, I was more in touch with my mind and, therefore, better able to communicate with the horse. I thought it remarkable when I was actually controlling the horse in the ring through my actions, gestures and thoughts.

Topping off our equine journey was the opportunity to try yoga on horseback. A new program under development by Angela Nunez, the resort’s yoga instructor, the experience includes a yoga class in the stables as the sun rises and is then followed by three yoga poses on horseback. The yoga on horseback was a great way to put my newly developed equine communication skills to the test. It took a lot of concentration to be able to stay calm and steady, keep the horse calm and steady and hold the pose. It was truly a bonding moment for me and my horse, Snowy — and one that I never want to forget.

Salamander Resort and Spa

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Zooga: It’s Yoga for Kids

Kids' yoga  // (c) 2013 Janeen Christoff
Kids’ yoga // (c) 2013 Janeen Christoff

I love finding cute new things for my kids to do in Los Angeles – especially when it’s a fun, healthy activity such as yoga. When invited to experience Zooga, a yoga studio just for kids, I jumped at the chance. Zooga is a play on words. Since many of the names for yoga poses are derived from animals that are at the zoo – Zooga is something that children can relate to.

Zooga’s corner location on Overland in Culver City, Calif., is easy to spot with an orange sign and a cute elephant logo. My kids saw it from the car before I did and there was a chorus of “are we going there” coming from the backseat before I could even find parking. (Conveniently, there is parking in the back of the building.)

The one-room studio is a large space, perfect for a kids’ yoga class. The room is bathed in a comforting orange light and a handpainted mural of a small lion, a tree and a baby elephant lines one wall. Kids have toys to play with while they wait for their class to start and the studio and waiting area are divided by a half wall so that parents can keep an eye on young ones – or just watch as the magic unfolds – during class.

My older daughter does yoga classes in school, so I knew that she was excited to show off her down dog and tree pose. I didn’t know how my younger one would take to yoga, but five minutes in, I had no doubts. Both girls followed along with the teacher as they mimicked animals with sounds, expressions and poses.

“Teachers at the studio use imagination, adventure, play, props and music in every class,” said Antonia King, founder and owner.

The teacher followed along with a book to keep the younger ones entertained. They sang songs and did more poses. As a mom, I thought that they would possibly get bored after about a half hour but, after the full hour had passed, I think they could have gone on even longer.

As we walked out of the studio, they asked if they were coming back tomorrow…sadly, no, I told them. But I will definitely be bringing them back soon.

Zooga Yoga

Zooga is dediated to yoga for babies, kids and teens, but also offers adult classes as well as a variety of specialty classes including Sing and Sign for babies, ballet classes and family classes. The studio also offers family drop off nights as well as birthday parties and holiday camps.