stillpoint yoga

yoga meditation and philosophy with Lynn Fraser
in the Himalayan Tradition of H.H. Sri Swami Rama


Himalayan Tradition

Swami Rama

What Is Yoga?




Off The Mat

Daily Practice




Diaphragmatic Breathing

We are all born breathing diaphragmatically. We often lose this in early childhood as tension builds in the body and this easy relaxing breath is disrupted. We can easily retrain ourselves and experience again the effects of this breath.

The body has different methods of breathing for different purposes.  Chest breathing is very useful in times of stress or crisis. Our sympathetic nervous system is aroused and ready for action.  The problem with chest breathing is that it was never intended to be used 24 hours a day.  In addition to the problems arising from keeping the body ready to respond to crisis, the lungs are pear shaped. When we ignore the lower parts of the lungs, we’re not allowing the body to work at peak efficiency.

The most relaxing breath is diaphragmatic, smooth and even – where the exhalation and inhalation are about the same length. Form a habit of checking your breath every few hours, bring your awareness to your navel center and observe the rhythm of the breath. After a short time of developing your skill in observation and diaphragmatic breathing, this will become second nature. Smooth, even, deep diaphragmatic breath is a pre-requisite for all yoga and pranayama practices.

You can learn and develop your diaphragmatic breathing skills in crocodile or the shavasana position.  Practice regularly, perhaps 5 or 10 minutes a day and check your breath every few hours throughout the day. 

The breath is a powerful tool we can access whenever we remember.