When a calm, deep breath is hard to come by
For some people, better breathing is the best and most important benefit of Alexander Technique (AT). These include people with breath-impairing conditions, ranging from allergies to asthma, COPD or post-COVID symptoms. Since the early twentieth century when Alexander Technique was first developed, it has been used to help people breathe more easily.
Your doctor’s office, of course, should always be your first stop if you suspect you have an underlying medical disorder interfering with your breathing. A thorough medical workup is necessary, and there is no substitute for a doctor’s expertise. But you may already be following your doctor’s orders for a chronic breathing condition, and still crave greater relief. In this case, Alexander Technique can probably add to your toolkit for making breathing difficulties easier to manage.
AT, particularly the Carrington approach to AT taught at betterATbeing, promotes a lengthening and widening of the whole torso. In the process, the ribs become freer, for greater mobility, and this creates conditions for a better exchange of oxygen. Knowing we can improve our breathing with AT also helps us reduce the stress we experience when feel we can’t breathe. That lower stress level makes breathing easier, all by itself.
How AT promotes good breathing
As with all of Alexander Technique's benefits, the better breathing AT brings about is an outcome of better functioning. AT cannot cure any illness, or repair a damaged lung. But what AT can do is teach you to better coordinate yourself, thus making your organs and musculature function better together as a whole. And in managing chronic breathing difficulties, this is a considerable advantage. Because breathing is an intricate, exquisitely orchestrated function of the whole Self.
It is worth noting that poorly coordinated breathing is a problem many perfectly healthy people suffer from, often without realizing it. But for someone with a diagnosed breathing disorder, poorly coordinated breathing can make a bad situation much worse.
Fortunately, AT is ideal for restoring the benefits of good coordination to those with such disorders. Because AT is a learning process. And with AT, the art of better breathing is something the student can learn, and use, for a significantly better life experience.