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Walking the Straight and Narrow in North Salem

Thomas Lemens’ cozy studio, the Center for Applied Posture , is tucked behind North Salem’s historic Union Hall, overlooking the Horse Trails. It is an appropriate spot because nearly half of Lemens’ clients are riders, who range in age from early 20s to late 70s.

Lemens is a certified teacher of the Alexander Technique , a system of body movement that helps people improve their balance and motor coordination. The technique was developed in England at the turn of the last century by F. M. Alexander. Lemens studied in London for three years under Patrick Macdonald, who trained under Alexander himself.

Lemens explained that as we grow from the ease of childhood to maturity we undergo stresses that affect the body. They can range from driving to sitting in badly designed chairs to wearing ill-fitting shoes. “The body makes unconscious adjustments to compensate and a new, and usually uneven, balance" ensues. Emotional stresses have the same results.

As the years pass, people begin to suffer lower back pain, stiff necks and shoulders, or sore feet, just to name a few issues. The Alexander Technique is intended to correct the imbalances and “remind your body of what its natural, balanced position should be.”

Lemens, a dressage and polo player himself, helps “riders who have performance issues, riders whose injuries have impacted their riding abilities and riders who simply want to develop a deeper, well-balanced seat.”

All improve over time under Lemens’ tutelage. One client said that her hands have become quieter. Another said that he helped her to find balance with the movement of the horse.

A 78-year-old woman recovering from a serious fall (off a horse) explained, “I was very stiff for a while. Working with Thomas limbered me up again. I can bend, I can stretch and I’m finding agility again. In fact, I’m nearly ready to mount up and cry ‘Tally-ho!’”

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