Lot of gurus preach to take breath in chest, in this process chest will expand and stomach will shrink while inhaling. They give reason that lungs have oxygen absorbing capacity so we should breath to lungs/chest.

And lot of other gurus preach to take breath in stomach, in this process stomach will expand while inhaling. They give reason that stomach breath is natural as all new born child do stomach breath so we should also.

And lot of other gurus preach that one should not guide breath, breath itself will find its way so we should not worry about chest breath or stomach breath. They ask to just pay attention to breath.

Which one is correct way of breathing and why?

  • Neither chest, nor stomach. Only nasal passage.
    – Love Bites
    Aug 21 '20 at 15:56
  • @LoveBites: How should I do deep breathing which is required in Bhastrika pranayama?
    – Alok
    Aug 24 '20 at 4:31
  • Observe a new born child and see how he/she breathes through the stomach and not through chest, that's the way we all should breathe consciously.
    – Just_Do_It
    Jan 13 at 13:04

I know very well about these gurus. Everyone tells their own formula of breathing.

Rather than these movements(of chest and stomach), what one needs to concentrate on is the air/energy currents flowing within. If you really want to concentrate on something then concentrate on your spinal cord. That is the path through which energy flows through.

Rather than focusing on number of seconds for inhaling, holding breath and exhaling, one should focus on making this breathing spontaneously. Don't make your mind busy in counting numbers or seconds.

  • focusing on spine would be good but how should I breath? in chest or in tommy? or no need to worry about breath?
    – Alok
    Dec 21 '19 at 14:41
  • If you are fat, and you can make your tommy flat. That signifies you have control on your tommy. In that case you should use your tommy to breath. If you have no control on your tommy, then use chest. That is the precise reason. After the whole practice one should have control on senses, that is the motive. Dec 22 '19 at 14:23
  • 1
    can you pls add sources?
    – YDS
    Dec 23 '19 at 14:22
  • I don't want to know who has down voted my answer. But if you want sources, go and find them at your own risk. The answer I have posted is from self experience. Yoga is the science of a human being's existence. I never needed sources to find base of so many complex things. Once you find something you should compare it with sources. Whether you have something to add to it? Go find some guru that you think you can trust and rely. I don't think there is any need of sources to my answer. Believe it if you want to go further or just leave if you have no trust. Dec 25 '19 at 10:08
  • People need sources about how to breath that is big hypocrisy of the society. A Gopal living on mountain is more wiser than the self proclaimed Pandits and Gurus(?). In stead of wasting time on things like these, go and chant God's name. That is most brilliant way to perform yoga. What you get on this path is all about how consistent you are. Dec 25 '19 at 10:18

This question ventures into biology, actually, and I'm not an expert but I remember getting confused and reading about this.

  • When you sit or sprint, you tend to engage in shallow breathing, where you will see that your chest moves upwards when you inhale, and your stomach is sucked in.

  • Deep breathing requires you engage your diaphragm, which will greatly expand your lung capacity and push your stomach out as a result of creating room for lungs.

So during deep breathing, you will feel both your stomach and your lungs enlarge. Now the cue used as per yogaśāstra is to breathe into your stomach, and that's where the confusion comes from. So the right way to breathe is into the stomach, and feel your lungs expand.

Lastly, as for the "don't guide breath" -- this I think is part of Vipassana meditation, where the focus isn't to control breath but establish mindfulness.

Here's a video by Tech Insider on the same:


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .