The Art of Breathing

F M Alexander (1869 - 1955) wrote about respiration and used the phrase “Art of Breathing” in an article published by the The Auckland Star, New Zealand, 1895. In his early years of teaching he was known as the breathing man.

F M Alexander identified the need for coordination of the muscles of respiration as part of his discoveries.

Carl Stough (1926-2000) used the words “Breathing Coordination”.

“Breathing Coordination is breathing in that individual pattern that 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

Both F M Alexander and Carl Stough were after the consistent synergistic operation of the muscles of respiration at maximum efficiency with minimum effort.

Both recognized mal coordination of the muscles of respiration as contributing to unnecessary tension and rigidity of the thorax resulting in poor breathing.

Jessica Wolf has been teaching the Alexander Technique for over 35 years and had a 20 year association with Carl Stough. Jessica has developed a post graduate course called Jessica Wolf's “Art of Breathing” for Alexander Technique teachers.

Since completing the “Art of Breathing” course directed by Jessica Wolf assisted by Pamela Blanc in Santa Monica, USA, this knowledge has further informed my teaching of the Alexander Technique.

Applying the Alexander Technique and the Art of Breathing studies to myself, my breathing coordination continues to change and improve, and I am less effected by asthma. There is a new quiet to my system and a deeper internal rhythm of movement.


  • - breathing coordination brings about a quality of maximum efficiency with minimum effort
  • - remove the holding patterns and discover the subtle changes toward natural flow of breathing
  • - like the ocean moving in and out, gentle or forceful, breathing can become a natural response to our everyday needs without trying
  • - harmony of the system

Janette Costin
Teacher of the F M Alexander Technique
Teacher of the "Art of Breathing"