OK, I tried it. The proprioceptive thing was easier than I thought it would be. I could easily tell when I got it right. Rotation to air was way more precise when my head started off being properly aligned! My main problem was concentration. At first I was able to stay on top of it most of the time. But as the session wore on, the burden of trying to remember all the elements of high elbow catch, which I'm still working on (using 50m fist swimming, 50 meters regular hand swimming), plus all the list of routine technical points got overwhelmed by the old postural habits, and my head started to crane again more often than not. But it was an excellent start, I think.
Due to the novelty of the new posture in the water, I had absolutely no idea what it was doing to my balance, which is pretty fragile, at best. Likely not good. But I had the idea when my head was not pressing down as much in the water that my chest should take over the burden of pressing down. I'll have to concentrate more on this when the head and neck alignment become more easy to do automatically.
Originally Posted by Danny
I find that the best way to work on these issues is while skating. For me this is a whole body challenge to keep my spine straight and my head aligned. When I think I have it, I rotate up into a breathing position, doing as much of the rotation as possible with my head, not my body. Then I can compare my range of motion to what I can acheive on land. Once your mouth comes out of the water, don't go back in. Hold it there for a couple of breaths. See if you can keep your body and forward arm as close as possible to the position they all were in when your mouth was submerged. This is a challenge, but it tells you all sorts of interesting things about your alignment when you rotate to breath.
Danny, this would be a real challenge for me because I don't float well at the water surface. To hold the breathing position in skate would seem to me very difficult, especially in the absence of an arm stroke, with only the very gentle leg flutter to provide velocity; I would think there would not be enough of a bow wave to mimic the breathing position of whole stroke breathing. But still, it would be worth a try, once I get a firmer handle on the new head and neck posture.