Much of F. M. Alexander’s early work focused on improving his breathing. Realizing that breath was not an isolated function, he developed the Alexander Technique to work with the whole self, body and mind together. But for much of his early career, Alexander was promoted as “A Founder of a Respiratory Method”, and he continued to stress the importance of allowing breath to be natural, which was best accomplished by physically “getting out of the way.”
Many years later, a man named Carl Stough (1926 – 2000) began his observations and studies of respiratory function. He found that the respiratory system had a particular coordination which allows it to function at maximim efficiency with minimum effort. He called this Breathing Coordination. Stough developed a method of restoring the reflexive movement of the diaphragm, the primary muscle of respiration, which thereby improved overall breathing coordination.
Alexander and Stough were pioneers in their own times. They both saw the need for respiratory re-education. Their work has been beautifully synthesized by Jessica Wolf in her The Art of Breathing post-graduate course for Alexander teachers. This course focuses on applying Alexander principles to Breathing Coordination, and on incorporating Breathing Coordination into teaching Alexander lessons. It is an invaluable combination for singers, actors, wind instrument players, or people suffering from respiratory distress.
Lisa is a 2006 graduate of The Art of Breathing program.