I had my own Eureka moment with breathing recently. (See my post "1 length to 1 mile in 2 weeks")
I think the answer is -
1. get in touch with your own breathing. In particular you need to really feel how far to breathe out so you are ready for a good in-breath.
2. synchronise your breathing rhythm with your stroke rhythm. This ia s matter of timing that you have to fine tune through lots of practice. At first you may need to slow everything down to really get in touch with what is going on. You will start to see there is a precise 'window of opportunity' to take your in-breath at a certain point in your stroke. The more you practice, the larger this 'window' will seem. It does not actually get larger; it just seems that way. Then you will start to realise that your lungs are too empty or too full whan the 'window' opens. Just keep working at it. Eventually your brain will bring the two rhythms into step. You will be able to time the last puff of your exhale (through your nose) just as your mouth comes to air. Then you will feel like you have plenty of time to inhale all the air you need.
(In fact when you are really relaxed with it, you won't be too bothered if you mess up a breath. You will just adjust and breathe on the next stroke. This is a bit like coughing, sneezing, sighing or yawning in normal life. These temporarily disrupt our breathing rhythm, but we don't panic do we? We adjust.)
For me, linking these two rhythms (stroke & breath) is the secret of comfortable relaxed breathing (which is what Terry said). Just stick with it and be 'mindful'. It doesn't happen overnight, but can happen fairly quickly if you make it a priority. A few days or weeks maybe. Doesn't need to be months or years. But you need to prioritise it.
Last edited by Nicodemus : 08-15-2009 at 05:08 PM.