Marie web IMG_0810Learning to walk (and ride) again….

Four weeks at Alchemy Place – September 2014

 I had attended a couple of three-day clinics of Mel’s, as she comes to WA twice a year, and I had been astonished at the difference her exercise sessions made in a very short time.  I have had an obvious limp for a long time, due to broken thigh/broken ankle/bung knee on my right-hand side & suffered a lot of pain from this.  I still loved riding, but found riding very hard on my knees and often suffered neck and shoulder pain too.

I’m fortunate enough to have two wonderful horses, who coped admirably with my physical problems.  However, I decided that I needed to immerse myself in learning Mel’s methods, to improve my riding so that I could give my horses the “present” of a thoughtful, well-balanced rider and also to see if the feldenkrais and other exercises could make any difference to my health generally.

This proved to be one of the best decisions I have ever made and the best present I could have given myself and my horses.  I have to say that the first two weeks nearly killed me, physically, but after that I have suddenly started feeling quite different & I tried to throw myself into all the movement lessons and body awareness and body balancing sessions.  For the first two weeks, we did up to 1-1/2 hours of these sessions each day –  incorporating feldenkrais, chi balls, tai chi,  seat-builder and  other simulations and movement lessons developed by Mel.  We also went along to Mel’s aikido class – I could only manage the warm-up exercises but others joined in. It was wonderful to see what body mastery is all about & the grace & beauty of movement of skilled Aikido students and their Sensei.

On Thursday nights Kate, our feldenkrais teacher, ran group sessions. Kate is a talented healer and a very gifted person.  I booked in for personal sessions with her as well as the group work & found it made a huge difference, helping ease away most of the aches and pains I had built up over the years & helping establish new patterns. Kate also ran an early-morning Qigong session, which was blissful.  The range of experience she has accumulated in her work enables her to select techniques to best assist an individual’s problems.

Another great aspect of the Alchemy place experience was the wonderful mostly-vegetarian food provided for lunch and dinner by Nyrie.  I found this food boosted my health & since coming hIMG_9826webome I have incorporated a lot of Nyrie-style recipes in my cooking.

Today I turn 60 & I have to say I haven’t felt so great for years. My riding has improved so much, as has my confidence and also that of Chance, my partner at Alchemy Place.  I can walk without limping and am mostly without pain.  I’m excited about the year ahead and looking forward to lots of horsey fun in 2015.  I believe that I could not have improved my riding without addressing my physical limitations – doing so will also enable me to continue to ride longer and improve my quality of life.

Give yourself a present & immerse yourself in this wonderful program!!

Marie Bennett

Albany, WA

16 December 2014