Fish Out of Water

Give yourself a break and have a breather…

I always fancied a single speed bike. The simplicity of no gears appeals. The trouble with a single speed where we live is the hills. Our house in west Wales is surrounded by some monstrous ones.

On flat stretches the light, quiet machine flies along. But big hills bring stress and discomfort in my lower back which I never get with gears.

So I have a choice to make: tough it out or get off and walk….

So long as I give myself time, on my commute to the pool, I really enjoy walking uphill with my two wheeled friend.  I’m continuing to exert myself while recovering from the ride so far. I have a drink and listen to the birds. I saw a fox this morning. And when I reach the top, I hop on and fly along again.

Alexander wrote a lot about the ‘means whereby’ we gain our end. He made a distinction between ‘end-gaining and the means whereby’. In Alexander terms, while buying a single speed bike may have been a poor decision for someone who lives in the hills, getting off and walking uphill is the means whereby, I think.

Huffing and puffing and struggling for breath, for Alexander Technique students, is something to avoid.

For this reason, practising a balanced front crawl breathing position – one arm extended in front, body rotated, back of the head resting in the water, gently kicking – finding the position from the front crawl stroke and staying there until you know you’re ready to go back in, is a very good idea, especially for novice front crawl swimmers.

Turning to breathe in crawl, like going up a big hill on a single speed bike, is where it can all go wrong.   So learn a balanced breathing position and use it, to give yourself a break and have a breather.

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