the pillow method
"I like to think of breathing like simply rolling my head on a pillow. No lifting, no struggle, just a simple "roll on a pillow." With head relaxed and facing straight down (and blowing bubbles, of course), it's just a simple position rotation with the roll. Keep the head on the pillow, look up at the sky, take that breath, roll back into the water, and start blowing bubbles again."
WOW! I love this imagery. I will defintely use this in my practice. I was on a long swim yesterday, in water that was colder than I thought ( seemed ok going in, but after about 3/4 of a mile, I was definitely feeling too cold), and I could feel my stroke slipping. My neck was sore, and I remembered I had to let the water 'hold' me. But the pillow imagery is perfect!
So, thanks for that mental picture, because it will be in my mind as a great way to remember to let the water hold me. And, the bubbles--YES! I'd be out of breath in one big hurry if I didn't exhale under water and it seems that letting them out NOT all at once, but steadily thru the nose is the way to go. 'Course, that could just be me.