I am compelled to write this in admiration of the Mind/Body Awareness Programme and of Stephanie Dutton as the experienced teacher who has been working with me.
My background is working as a Director and Managing Consultant over the last 20 years with many of the most aggressive blue-chip companies in programmes of change. I enjoy my work; love my family; and have always thrown myself into any sport going – as long as it’s on land! I have played competitive league tennis (qualifying with the LTA as a tennis teacher in 1983), played hockey, cricket, netball, football, I’ve abseiled, climbed sheer rock faces, been potholing, horse-riding and parasailing. I see myself as a sportswoman – so how could I admit to anyone that I could not swim?
I have had injuries that have resulted in three operations over the last 3 years (the result of being thrown off a horse whilst my foot was stuck in a stirrup!) I now have a titanium plate in my neck that holds together vertebrae that have been fused with bone from my right hip. My right shoulder has been operated on twice and still gives me pain. Not that any of this stops me from getting on with my life, playing sports and being active. But I knew I was missing a fundamental therapy by not being able to have water as a comfortable domain where I could relax and exercise.
I have a great logic and this “flaw” was a missing piece of my life’s jigsaw puzzle. I had found it impossible to overcome my fear of water on my own. I was perfectly at ease standing in a swimming pool, just as long as I didn’t have to take my feet off the floor. I could take my feet off the floor as long as my hands were clinging to the side. I have a recollection of being knocked into a swimming pool when I was about 7 years old and being fussed over by my non-swimming mother who vowed she wouldn’t let me near a swimming pool ever again!! Such is fate that a very sporty child became very uncomfortable in water.
As I grew older and certainly over the last ten years, I have increasingly visualised myself gracefully swimming – but making this come true was completely beyond me. I found it baffling, frustrating and illogical.
Determined to tackle this, I entered Learn to Swim on the Google Internet search engine. As I browsed, I felt elated as soon as I read about learning to swim with The Mind/Body Awareness Programme; I knew this was the one for me. It tackled the essence of fear, describing the need to learn relaxation in water, and it embraced the body alignment and stretches of the Alexander techniques that I felt would be so valuable for my body. It had it all. All I had to do now was bite the bullet, decide NOW was the time to realise my dream of swimming, find a teacher and book my first lesson.
How fortunate to find Stephanie. I wanted to learn, I needed someone I could trust and someone who could understand my fears and my needs. After lesson 12, eight weeks after my first, I was swimming a length in a very relaxed fashion at my Gym – unbelievable! Truly unbelievable. I LOVE the water; I want to be in it all the time. I now go to the Gym and work out with the “treat” being the swim afterwards! I even pop in for just a swim. I have listened and I have practiced. Stephanie has taken me step by step and my learning curve has been rapid – not the theory but the reality of moving in and through water comfortably. I LOVE swimming and it is now part of my life.
Thank you Stephanie – you are involved in a really life-changing event.
Pat Way Hertfordshire UK