Or worse, glide effortlessly in a way they never seemed to be able to communicate to me.
So often it occurs to me to revisit things from the viewpoint of an Alexander Technique teacher. Over several years of instruction and in my private practice, I have learned to release my back into length, to move with less effort in my joints. My sense of location, and spatial acuity are now enhanced. I am much more than just a mind trapped in an aching and increasingly stiff body.
The Alexander Technique has helped me to become ever more flexible, more aware of all my senses.
One lesson I can apply from my Alexander Technique practice is to not become fixated on the end goals right off the bat. Swimming fast, or doing a very long distance are wonderful motivators. But fixating on your end goals without paying attention to how you achieve them, is actually counterproductive to improvement!
I sat in the shallows, relinquishing my desire to "get in there and swim", for that would have just been more of the same old rubbish. Instead, I noticed that I could become aware of the buoyancy of my arms and legs. I could pay attention to the current.
Becoming more aware
At one point, I was startled to realize that pushing, pulling and kicking your way through the water is wasted effort! One can simply move through it, glide over it; without struggling against it. The water will carry you aloft once you became aware of the actual effort that is required.
I was becoming sensitive to the actual effort it takes to move my body through a water medium. I could literally "go with the flow".
All of this requires a special kind of thinking. Can you stop yourself from responding habitually to the activity of swimming? "Is my neck free," I would ask myself. Is my back lengthening and widening? Is my breathing relaxed and coordinated?
One major payoff:
Instead of kicking at the knees, the legs can paddle from the hip joints, responding naturally to the rotation of the torso. I was able to swim four laps in a row; a modest feat by any measure but a significant milestone for me.