Humming your way to presence

After working with hundreds of new adult swimmers I know that their first concern is breathing and their second concern is executing a movement. Very often the primary concern of breathing or air is forgotten as the student attempts to execute a movement. The focus on the movement takes all the concentration and before the student knows it, they are standing up breathless and not sure of what they actually accomplished. Do you think you might have experienced this?
Swimming is a holistic exercise. You cannot do one thing and forget about the rest of the body. That’s why I love this simple exercise so much. It allows you to connect with the water and feel presence so that the next time you try to execute a movement it’s easier to feel it.

The next time you are in the pool try these steps:

1. Do you know if you are exhaling a little bit, a lot or maybe not at all?
Pay attention as you go to your first drill.

2. If you are exhaling a little bit and fully aware of it, congratulations!
If however, you are either exhaling a lot – often to the point of sinking rapidly – or you are holding your breath completely – often in the cheeks, try this.
Instead of practicing what you were practicing earlier, just lay your head gently into the water and float as you do the following:
Take a deep breath in, exhale it slowly, take another deep breath in.
Start humming gently while still out of the water.
Continue humming gently as you place your face into the water and let yourself float.
Notice the stream of bubbles coming from your nose. Are they large or are they like a string of pearls?

3. Start focusing on two things now, your humming and your surroundings.
Take a deep breath in, exhale it slowly, take another deep breath in.
Start humming gently while still out of the water.
Continue humming gently as you place your face into the water and let yourself float.
Pay attention to your surroundings as you continue to hum.
Pay attention to how much air you have as you continue to hum.
Stay here until you start to sink or feel breathless.

4. Continue the humming exercise until you feel very comfortable with the humming and floating.
Pay attention to the humming pace that feels the most comfortable.
What do the bubbles look like here?

5. Do you still need to hum to make the bubbles go at the optimal pace?
Take a deep breath in, exhale it slowly, take another deep breath in.
Try doing it without humming until that feels comfortable.

6. Prepare to incorporate the movement you tried before.
Blow bubbles from your nose.
Connect with your surroundings.
Feel yourself connect to the movement.
Did it get easier? Were you able to feel both the movement and how it connects with your whole body?

Continue the gentle blowing of bubbles and stay present as you practice each drill.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this tip in the comments below.

Emma Paillex

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