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Breathing patterns

kaldo's picture
Last seen:
6 years 4 months ago
12/02/2017 - 11:23pm
Breathing patterns


I noticed in the book that using one's chest more for breathing was a sign of improved posture.

In many yoga/meditation related practices however, this seems to be a bad thing and stomach breathing is considered most beneficial, as a way to use more lung capacity, relieve stress, etc...

See, for instance : http://beginnersmeditation.info/blog/understanding-embryonic-breathing-part-1

What is your take on this? Should I aim for chest- or stomach-breathing?



Last seen:
2 days 21 hours ago
09/05/2014 - 6:51am

Hi - I had the same question when I began learning the Gokhale Method.  Abdominal breathing is certainly useful and beneficial in certain situations, like singing or playing a wind instrument or during specific yoga and meditation practices.  And for many of us who have been breathing very shallowly in the chest with a lot of tightness in the chest and upper back, abdominal breathing is an improvement to get a more full breath and start finding some relaxation in the torso.

In the Gokhale Method, we learn to develop enough tone in the abdomen so that our default breathing pattern is expanding the chest, helping to release all those little restrictions in the muscles and fascia of the chest, ribs, shoulders, upper back. We look for expansion 360 degrees all around - expanding from front to back as well as the sides of our chest and upper torso (not hiking the shoulders up though!).  This healthy stress of breathing in the upper torso helps the ribcage expand, letting the lung capacity increase as there is more room in there for them to expand.  The increased oxygen and improved blood circulation that results from this expansion feels really good! And it looks good too, as you can see in many of the pictures in 8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back.  

So I suggest you experiment for yourself and see how you feel with different kinds of breathing.  I'm breathing more fully in my chest and feeling brighter just writing this to you!

Thanks for writing, and best wishes on your posture journey -

Doreen Giles

Gokhale Method teacher

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