The autumn sunlight streams in through the pool windows at Croft Farm and bounces off the clear, shallow water. An adult who’s spent a lifetime with fear of water breathes with their face in, or floats, for the first time.
‘Would you still teach if you won the lottery?,’ my friend asked me during the summer holidays.
I wouldn’t work with would-be triathletes, or anyone aiming to swim competitively. I wouldn’t teach kids apart from those I thought really needed my help. But I’d definitely continue to teach people who can’t put their face in the water, or don’t believe they can float, people for whom swimming a few strokes on holiday is a dream.
I’m lucky, I realise, because this is pretty much what I do now!
My best opportunity to apply the Alexander Technique in the water is with non-swimmers who want to change their reaction. A free neck is most easily achieved, for everyone in water, by just floating, letting the water support us, working on what Alexander called ‘non-doing’.
If you’re a non-swimmer, you’re lucky really because your most interesting and rewarding work will be learning to trust the water to support you so you can glide freely, letting air out under the surface, and regain your feet without panicking. That’s going to be your big challenge. Meeting it may be life-changing, and may be enough. You don’t have to ‘do’ much to be free in water. Anyone can enjoy it, not everyone needs to swim.
We only do the postcode lottery. Thirty grand would be nice. But there’s work to do. I won’t be going anywhere.