“Breathing Coordination is breathing in that individual pattern which engages all the muscles of respiration both voluntary and involuntary, and provides the most efficient deflation and inflation of the lungs with the least amount of effort.”
— Carl Stough
When I completed my Alexander Technique training in 1977, I wanted to further understand the breath. I turned to Carl Stough, a pioneer in the field of respiratory science, and studied with him for 20 years. Carl Stough (1926-2000) identified the particular coordination that allows the respiratory system to function with maximum efficiency and minimum effort. He called this “breathing coordination.”
Breathing coordination does not require active “doing,” but it does require intention. My students and I explore the effects of collapsing the spine, hollowing the back, and holding the chest rigid. We notice the need to give our bodies space for effective breathing to occur. Rather than working any kind of “breathing exercise” or “breath management,” I use sound and touch to redevelop my students’ diaphragms. Breathing coordination strengthens the entire respiratory system, providing greater ease and vitality in all activities: speaking, running, singing, and sitting.