There’s an old saying attributed to Winston Churchill that goes “There’s something about the outside of a horse that’s good for the inside of a man”. In my world, I see that man as all of humankind, and I think he meant it that way as well. Science is catching up to this fact. Research from the Heart Math Institute has measured the electromagnetic field coming off of horses, and it is huge; 3-5x whatever the human heart gives off 1 . This is impressive since horses are more often naturally in a “coherent heart rhythm:, and simply being in that field brings a measurable improvement to the coherence of our own hearts.
What is this coherence and why do we care?
The Heart Math Institute defines it as “The state when the heart, mind and emotions are in energetic alignment and cooperation” —which sounds a lot like a raja yoga practice—where heart, mind and spirit are aligned and working together. If you search cardiac coherence in PubMed, you will find numerous studies showing the benefits of practices to improve cardiac coherence. Research shows that this state is associated with sustained positive emotions and improved mental stability.
Coherence has unparalleled effects on our health —relaxation comes from a coherent heart rhythm and this has become such an important factor in health that numerous programs are emerging to help people develop more coherence. For example, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center uses biofeedback in their CCT (Cardiac Coherence Training), and has documented improvements in health including reduced hypertension and coronary artery disease, fewer PTSD episodes, improved mental health and reduced pain levels.
Physiologically, heart coherence is defined using HRV (Heart Rate Variability)— “A coherent heart rhythm is defined as a relatively harmonic (sine wave-like) signal with a very narrow, high amplitude peak in the low frequency region (typically around .1 Hz) of the power spectrum with no major peaks in the other bands”.
Coherence is a funny word—it has definitions in the metaphysical,social sciences,physics, and medicine;all of which revolve around the idea of how a harmonious synchronizing of rhythm improves understanding, cooperation, connectedness, and physical health.
How can I begin to use coherence?
So how can someone experience this coherence that comes from being in the presence of a being with such a powerful signal like the horse? It’s harder these days, but that’s part of why we have our Equine Experiences with Raja Riding! The Equine Experience is not just about riding the horse, but about how you can learn to experience the world (and yourself) in a new way.
In addition to our renowned Healing Clinics, Raja Riding will also be providing a new in-depth program in 2022 called “Walking with Equus”, which will be focused on a more “hands-on” and intensive approach to healing using coherence.
1 Heart to Heart Communication with Horses - Ann Baldwin, Ph.D. and Rollin McCraty, Ph.D.