There are two main lineages of Buteyko Breathing: the Stalmatski and Ludmilla Lineages, each having their own distinctive training system. There is also a sublineage with a somewhat complicated history (the Starks Sublineage).

Our own programs (on ButeykoBreathing.com) are in the Stalmatski Lineage.

1: Stalmatski
2: Ludmilla
3: Starks
Training System Progressive
Training System
Training System
Training System
Range of Exercises Larger Smaller Smaller
Teaching Style Both soft and strong exercises with the stronger exercises considered as more sophisticated, advanced and effective Soft exercises only Soft exercises only

Lineage 1: Stalmatski Lineage

Alexander Stalmatski was the most accomplished disciple of Professor Buteyko and a founding director of the very first Buteyko Clinic (in Novosibirsk in the early 1980s). In 1991 Professor Buteyko sent Alexander to Australia to start teaching Buteyko Breathing there. Alexander made a big impact, was very successfull and put Buteyko on the map internationally.

Alexander offered instructor training as well and trained the first generation of western Buteyko instructors. He was prominently featured in the 1998 BBC documentary on Buteyko Breathing:

The Stalmatski Lineage may currently perhaps be best described as a specialty Buteyko lineage for those who wish to learn and practice the full powerful range of the traditional Buteyko approach, using the Progressive Training System which includes both the softer and the stronger Buteyko exercises.

Lineage 2: Ludmilla Lineage

Ludmilla Novozhilov was the director of the Moscow Buteyko Clinic in the late 1990s and 2000s. When westerners travelled to Russia to learn Buteyko Breathing, they naturally went to Moscow and started learning with Ludmilla, who taught them a simplified soft version of Buteyko Breathing.

The Simplified Training System used in the Ludmilla Lineage allowed the instructor training program to be shorter and faster and facilitated a quick rise in the number of Buteyko instructors in modern times. Most Buteyko instructors nowadays (in the 2020s) only teach the simplified soft style of Ludmilla.

Lineage 3: The Starks Sublineage

The Starks Sublineage refers to the second generation of Australian Buteyko instructors who started instructor training with Alexander Stalmatski but only completed the initial part.

In 1996/1997, the second generation of Buteyko instructors in Australia had completed the initial part of the instructor training program and were actively teaching Buteyko as a treatment for asthma only (with remote supervision by senior instructors). At the time, advanced instructor training was a multi-year practical mentorship program requiring close cooperation with senior instructors and frequent travel. It ensured quality but was costly and time-intensive for the new instructors.

When Alexander Stalmatski asked these new instructors to proceed with advanced instructor training, to learn how to apply the Progressive Training System in the treatment of many more types of symptoms and diseases, they declined: they preferred to just keep teaching Buteyko for asthma only. In Alexander Stalmatski's mind however, gaining a wide and deep experience in progressive training was an essential and compulsory part of instructor training.

The new instructors understood Alexander Stalmatski would not allow what they desired, so they got in touch with Professor Buteyko and received his permission to drop out of Alexander's instructor training program and only teach the softer Buteyko exercises. Meanwhile, the more senior first generation of Australian Buteyko instructors continued working with Alexander Stalmatski using the Progressive Training System, teaching both the soft and the strong exercises, with Professor Buteyko's blessing.

Russell and Jennifer Stark eventually became the most influential members of the 'soft' group, teaching the simplified soft style of Buteyko internationally and training the first Buteyko instructors in the USA. Thus, in absence of a better name, we may refer to this lineage as the Starks Sublineage. In short, these instructors started their training from within the Stalmatski Lineage but then started their own sublineage, limited to teaching only the soft Buteyko exercises.

Lineage Merge

As of 2023, the Ludmilla Lineage and the Starks Sublineage have more or less merged with one-another and are not distinct groups any more.