Alexander Technique For Success: Swimming

Swimming is a great workout.  Is there a way to find even more success with it than you learned as a kid?  Or if you don't swim, is there an optimal way to learn?

I did not believe it, until I tried it. 

During June 14-18, I spent my mornings with Steven Shaw, a former competitive swimmer, who developed the Alexander Technique-based system of swimming called the Shaw Method.  Twenty-five years ago, Shaw set out to develop this method focused on body awareness and alignment in order to support optimal health.

Check out my Shaw Method crawl!

The Shaw Method gives you the great cardiovascular exercise of swimming, and so much more: it improves posture, alleviates arthritis and back pain, aids concentration and increases your general sense of wellbeing.  It teaches greater body awareness, strengthens the relationship between mind and body, promotes freedom of movement, and helps prevent strain and injury.

The Shaw Method is based on four principles:

  1. Alignment of the head, neck and back – a cornerstone of the Alexander Technique - which is a primary factor affecting performance;

  2. "Smart swimming" - understanding that before every propulsive movement there is a non-propulsive, preparatory movement;

  3. Breathing without effort - never taking a breath but rather allowing in-breaths to be passive; and

  4. Focus on the process - breaks down the strokes into dry land and pool-based exercises that you can always come back to.

During my mornings with Shaw, I fell in love with swimming again.  I was reminded how good the breath regulation swimming requires feels (which has so many benefits for our health!). The Shaw Method removed strain on my neck when I swim. To my surprise, it converted me from a breaststroke lover to a crawl lover too!  Great news because Shaw explained that it is beneficial to do all of the strokes to get the combination of the rotational motions of the crawl and backstroke and wave-like motions of the breaststroke and butterfly.

Join me in reading the Art of Swimming: Raising Your Performance With the Alexander Technique (2017) by Steven Shaw (which is full of pictures), and The Art of Swimming: In a New Direction with the Alexander Technique (2001) by Steven Shaw and Armand D'Angour (which delves deeper into the principles of the Alexander Technique).




To join: Contact Allyna, purchase the book (see link above), and join the call.  You will receive an email to vote on a time for the call in August and/or September.