Karen Rohlf, Ocala, FL:
I love the blend of athleticism and relaxation that I find in yoga. It helps me feel strong, flexible, centered, and more aware of myself, my thoughts, my balance, and my posture. Those abilities are vital to my success as a rider, and they are the qualities that I strive to develop in my horses.
Sylvia is excellent at helping me make the precise adjustments that get to the core of my postural habits. I love that she can relate the yoga movements to what we need as riders, and that she reminds us to use the challenges we experience as a reminder to be more compassionate towards our horses as we challenge them.
Yoga is a perfect compliment to the relative isometric exercise of riding. I feel so lucky to be able to have Sylvia’s classes to go to. In 1 hour I feel better in my body, mind, and spirit.
A.B., Middleburg, VA:
Yoga has been especially beneficial with loss of flexibility as I age. Injuries are lessened and rehabilitation is accelerated — and the patience to deal with both is enhanced.
L.H., Anthony, FL:
I am so grateful that I signed up for Sylvia’s yoga for equestrians classes. I have noticed such an improvement in the flexibility of my hip and shoulders, yet also an improvement in my core, posture and balance. Poses I had difficulty with in the beginning are becoming easier. Through these self improvements, I am noticing more independent control of each of my body parts and flexibility, which is helping my horses go straighter, lighter, and be more responsive and supple themselves.
India Anderson, Ocala, FL:
Yoga has helped balance my mind and body in and out of the saddle. Sylvia is an extremely knowledgeable and detailed instructor. Sylvia’s instruction and demonstration has dramatically helped me over come the effects of chronic shoulder, back and knee pain.
H.S., Middleburg, VA:
I realized, while trying to sit the trot in a long dressage lesson, that what I was really doing was an upside down head stand! I was using the same sense of dynamic and subtly adjusting balance, long spine, engaged core muscles, steady focused breath, and looking for all the places in my body where I could let go of tension. Now as settle in the saddle to sit and balance with my horses trot, I smile and picture the world upside down.
T.A., The Plains, VA:
Sylvia has changed my life, in many more ways than she knows. Her knowledge of yoga, the poses, the human body, along with the ability to teach yoga to others at all levels is undeniable. I have been practicing yoga on and off since high school. I also have been riding horses for 25 plus years. So, I had tightness in many muscles groups, especially my shoulders. I have an ‘okay natural ability’ in using my body and flexibility. Sylvia’s guidance and articulate instructions gave me a safe and yet challenging practice to improve this natural ability.
When I met Sylvia, three years ago, my shoulders were rounded and I was probably a little hunch-backed. Sylvia’s guidance helped me work through poses and taught me how to use props properly so that I could move into the best and safest pose for my ability. I cannot emphasize enough how much knowledge Sylvia has to offer. Within just a few months I noticed that I was standing up straighter and I could pull my shoulders back! Or I should say, back and down. This new-found mobility in my shoulders created a huge change in my body and that transferred to my horseback riding. With the new movement in my shoulders, I was able to use my core muscle better and with more control, which gave me more stamina in my riding.
I could go on and on about Sylvia’s teaching and practice but I must add this tid-bit: This past summer I was unable to practice yoga as I anticipated. I lost a lot of my flexibility and it really upset me. This fall I have made an effort to get strong again and, because of Sylvia’s teaching, I know that I am doing so with a solid foundation. When I go to different yoga classes with different teachers I willingly use props because I understand the importance of being safe. I say this because sometime props are needed, but instructors are not the best at adjusting everyone or prompting students to use props. Sylvia teaches fundamentals so that students can confidently practice on their own and in different classes safely. If you are willing to try and learn, even if this is the first time trying yoga, Sylvia will give you the building blocks for a healthy practice.
Hellena Smejda, Ocala, FL:
Since late winter Sylvia has been my weekly yoga teacher. Before Sylvia, I attended many yoga sessions, first in Chicago and later here in Ocala. What I love about yoga with Sylvia is that she explains the hows and whys of each pose, cautions us what not to do, and challenges us to do the hard work in each asana. This is especially rewarding for me as a horseback rider. First, because it gives me more empathy for how mentally and physically difficult it is for my horse when I ask him to do something new. And second, because as a rider she understands how our bodies have been affected by riding, falls, one-sidedness, etc., etc. Recently Sylvia joined my riding instructor to observe in my lesson what my body actually does. She then discussed what she saw with me and Tracy, and even showed photos. As any rider can attest, what we think we are doing and what we are actually doing is not always the same! Not surprisingly, the same issues from yoga class reappear on horseback. Moreover, these can explain (at least in part) physical affects in the horse. I highly recommend Sylvia as a yoga instructor for any rider.