Re: Breakfalls can be a problem!
By "breakfall," I'm thinking you're talking about a "forward flipping in the air and slapping when one hits the ground" kind of breakfall. In general, I take all kinds of slapping falls as breakfalls (regardless of direction), but I'll use this definition for my post here.
I would say that working on your landing from various exercises (starting on the ground) may let your body learn the proper position for landing. If your body doesn't have the proper landing position "wired" in it, no matter how well your body may turn in the air, you'll sometimes end up landing incorrectly which will make future breakfalls that much more stressful to do (which, of course, will often cause hesitation, tension, and so on which can lead to a sub-optimal breakfall, thereby re-enforcing the vicious cycle). The fact that you feel taking a breakfall is arduous leads me to believe you're in this unfortunate cycle. Best, then, I think, to allow your body to establish good patterns rather than create bad ones.
Personally, I don't advocate the use of things such as landing pads or spring boards, as I feel that only makes the body learn patterns that it'll have to work out of in the future. Better, I think, to learn through exercises without those kinds of crutches. Sure, it may help some people, but I think there are many exercises out there that can help people attain the same skills, too.
Any way, I'd probably say "chin tucked" rather than "head down" when entering into a breakfall as that creates more of a body shape more suitable for one. "Head down" to me has a "face towards the ground" connotation. A breakfall, in the defintion that I'm using, is basically a "contracted" forward roll -- as though you put an apostrophe to take out a few letters or syllables from a word, you're taking out a bit of horizontal component from a forward roll. Its basic shape is still that of a forward roll...
Just some thoughts.
-- Jun, who incidentally just did a one hour introductory breakfall workshop this past Saturday.