Thanks Craig, I really appreciate your insights. I also started TI about 4 months back, hence we are probably around the same milestone. After the breathing issues that I highlighted at the start of the thread, I have managed to solve some of the problems that I had mentioned at the beginning.
I really like your observation - I also found that i was trying to breathe out TOO much underwater and hence then taking in a big gulp of air, once i solved that i was much better able to take just a small bite of air. .
Infact this was the main problem with me. Since I was breathing out TOO much underwater, that lead to decreased buoyancy hence impacted my ease of reaching to air. I read on this forum that the correct rate/quantum of exhale was when you are humming underwater. This solved it for me really!!!
Now I am focused on controlling body roll while I go for "bites" of air. I faced a peculiar problem because of over-rotation - low intensity pain on my left shoulder/ triceps ( I breathe to my right). Not sure if you have faced the same issue. If I control my rotation with 1 goggle in water and the other out, then the pain isn't there.
A very positive & philosophical outcome of TI's self coached model (through DVDs), is that it brings in a new paradigm to learning. While we are learning skills by teaching ourselves, critiquing ourselves, diagnosing problems and solving them (with help from TI coaches/Enthusiasts on this website).....this just teaches us that if there is passion to acquire new skills/knowledge one of the best ways to do it is to teach your self (feel-do-measure-control-correct-improve).
I live in Bangalore (India), & we don't have TI coaches here thus have found a TI buddy and we exchange notes to improve together.
Thanks for your insights