Online With Horses
We offer our Equine-Assisted Yoga programming virtually
Our intention is to provide access to the healing capacity of horses for people who may not be able to access horses in-person.
Meeting Horses on the Mat: An Initiation into Equine-Assisted Yoga
A 14 Day Online Course. Work at your own pace. Coming soon...
Equine-Assisted Yoga Accessibility Project
Bringing the wisdom of the herd/heard to people who would not otherwise have access to horses. More information coming soon.
What Is Equine-Assisted Yoga?
The word Equine means: a horse / relating to horses. Equine-Assisted Yoga is a way of collaborating with horses that focuses on learning from and with them in our yoga practice to deepen and empower our awareness of ourselves as embodied, energetic and relational beings of nature.
Our Equine-Assisted Yoga approach is trauma-informed. We recognize racial, economic, ecological and other social injustices to be rooted in the trauma that naturally results when the sacredness of our relationships to our bodies, to one other and to the earth is disrupted due to colonialism and domination-based paradigms. We work with in collaboration with the horses to directly reconnect the body and the community to that sacredness. Equine-supported self-inquiry, meditation, and pranayama (breath work) offer us a social justice leadership approach that attends to the embodied and spiritual trauma from which injustice is perpetuated. It also provides an educational and healing space for relating to the body, the energy of emotion and the somatic unconscious.
Jamila is an apprentice of Brooke Sullivan and The Wild Temple and has completed their 500hr Yoga Teacher Training. We work with Sri Vidya Tantra Yoga from the Himalayan Sage Tradition. Sri Vidya Tantra Yoga is an ancient science of perceiving, understanding and awakening vitality, subtle energy, and the power of nature.
"Tantra is a pretty vague word and a lot of people have different associations to it, but Tantra is a science of energy. It's a really beautiful complete life science that studies the nature of energy and power in nature and how we can work with these powers for our healing and our connection into the world. And even for helping heal our planet and helping us and our planet evolve." Brooke Sullivan, Director of The Wild Temple
More about Equine-Assisted Yoga
While we often do asana as a practice of embodiment for our own process and a preparation for meditation, we do not do Asana on the horses backs. We teach our equine-assisted yoga virtually and also offer in-person group sessions. Both virtual and in-person formats are focused on pranayama, meditation, movement, and self-inquiry as a way to bond with the horse and connect to Nature. The way we approach Equine-Assisted Yoga at the Embodied Leadership Project exists within a relatively new field of equine practice that is aimed less at what we can teach the horse and more on what we can learn from the horse as a leader and wisdom keeper in their own right. This equine field is referred to by several different names depending on who the equine specialist is and where they trained such as: Equine Assisted Practice/Learning (EAP/L), Equine Facilitated Learning (EFL), or Equine Assisted Growth and Development (EAGD).
Diedre West, owner of Healing with Horse Collective, speaks beautifully about this work:
“There is a distinction to be made here: equine specialists working in the realms of EAP/L see horses as the guides or sources of wisdom rather than as the learners in client interactions. Rather than their ability to be ridden or their athleticism being the focus, horses’ ways of being, seeing, and processing, and engaging with the world opens sources of wisdom and enlightenment about our inner selves, our relational dynamics, and all those forces that make us yearn, change, transform, and do things we would not otherwise do (whether creative, destructive, or genius) if we were truly logical, exclusively conscious beings.
That focus on horse as a sentient being full of wisdoms we do not have, distinguishes the goals for working with horses in this field from most every other equine field out there, including natural horsemanship and most liberty training. This is a profound shift about which practitioners find there is an onion-peeling sort of learning to get to the heart of, not just for our clients but for ourselves and our practice/facilitation.”
Horses are anchored in the unified field, their consciousness is available to us across space and time. We connect with them through movement and meditation. You can take part from wherever you are located in the world as most of our programming is virtual via zoom. We also offer in-person work with Angus at the farm.
The word Tantra can be broken down to tan: to expand and tra: to protect. Tantra also means: technology. We are expanding our selves, while at the same time protecting ourselves in this process. We are working safely - we are working in trauma-informed practice.
Tantra aims to awaken power...responsibly.
"The very nature of the practice of Tantra, especially when we are working in the realms of my tradition, which is the Himalayan Sage Tradition, Sri Vidya Tantra, is that we want to do this safely, we want to do it with particular stepping stones, preparedness." Brooke Sullivan, Director of The Wild Temple.
The horses are an embodiment of power.
Their power has been exploited and also honored in many different contexts. They have much to teach us about working with power and with safety, with consent, boundaries and the unconscious - which shapes our intention. We work with yoga and self-inquiry to purify our unconscious intention, cultivate loving intention, and begin to learn to work with power (known as Shakti in Sanskrit). We dedicate ourselves to the practice of wielding power responsibly.
Tantra is about connection.
We are working to expand our connection to the energy inherent within nature, which can be found in breath, in listening to and witnessing one another, in plants, in movement, in the elements. So much of our pain and suffering is due to disconnection. We again and again, turn to Nature to re-connect.
More About Our Approach
Emotional energy is strong, wild and powerful. It can easily move us more deeply into experiences of connection. It can also just as easily spin us into dissociation, experiences of disconnection and perpetuation of violent thought and action. The direction this takes relies largely on the level of our community's initiation into working with the energy of emotion.
We are relational beings. The human nervous system evolved in social contexts and the navigation and management of our emotional energy must happen in relational spaces. It is through relationship that we engage with, harness, and/or mismanage a large portion of our personal and collective energetic power. Our emotional landscape directly informs how we unconsciously use or misuse that power. We can witness the ways we relate to power in a harmful way by simply looking at oppressive society we live in. Unprocessed trauma, pain, fear and grief in our psyches and tissues distorts our perception of ourselves, one another and the earth. In our illusion, we have not only attempted to destroy, enslave and exploit indigenous ways of knowing, but continue to inflict violence on all of life. At ELP, we believe that to move out of colonization, enslavement and oppressive paradigms we need contemporary education on rituals for relating to our emotions so that we can engage with power in a way that is rooted in consent.
Horses also work with emotional and somatic energy in relational spaces within their herds. As prey animals, their nervous systems are designed for heightened sensitivity and expanded perception. For hundreds of years horses have partnered with humans. And many horses have fallen victim to human's misuse of power through violent methods of training and domestication. But if we can learn to listen to them and meet them in partnership, they are offering to be teachers for us by bringing us into the wisdom of their emotionally intelligent and non-preditory nature. Horses can support us in developing a sacred and non-preditory relationship to power. Our Equine-Assisted Yoga curriculum offers an embodied and intellectual understanding of how to collaborate in this healing and education with horses safely and in a way that is sensitive to trauma.
Our Equine-Assisted Yoga curriculum weaves together three components to create long term relationship building with self, community, the earth and the horses that has an experiential and healing approach:
1) Trauma-informed Tantra Yoga:
Tantra is all about connection
Guidelines to connection to one another and the horses: Learn and engage frameworks for listening and observing that cultivate specific ritual containers in which to perceive, honor and be present with feelings, sensations and emotions. We work within specific containers that honor both the verbal and non-verbal wisdom and stories of the body and earth.
Guidelines to connecting to body and energy: Asana, Pranayama and Meditation practices that invite the body to participate from the truth of where each person is at each moment with agency and choice.
2) Entering into ongoing healing and sacred relationship with the horses:
Showing up to connect to horses as our teachers, friends and partners in an ongoing process of learning. The work we do with the horses is reciprocal, the horses share healing with us and we also share healing with them.
3) A ceremonial approach to acknowledging and relating to our own positions of power and privilege:
We are working to embody a sacred and non predatory relationship to power that is rooted in deep listening and witnessing. Through a commitment to ongoing self-inquiry, our collaboration with horses aids in their justice and liberation as well as our own. We are committed to liberation that includes the horses and all other beings impacted by enslavement and domination.