What is a breathwork session?

There are several types of breathwork therapy that use different methods and approaches to achieve specific goals. This article will take you through a basic breathwork session specifically for holotropic breathing exercises.

Reminder: What is breathwork? 

The term breathwork refers to many different types of breathing exercises, programs, and techniques. In general, though, they’re all about consciously focusing on our inhalations and exhalations and manipulating those to get the desired effect which varies from person to person. The goal of any type of breathwork is to help us become more aware of how we breathe and experience what it can do for us in terms of our health and well-being.

Holotropic breathwork

Holotropic breathwork is a method that uses deep breathing exercises and guided imagery to induce altered states of consciousness in which profound healing takes place. It’s based on the work of Dr. Stanislav Grof who developed it in the 1970s. He was inspired by his experiences with psychedelic drugs like LSD and mescaline. The idea behind this type of breathwork is that we can learn more about ourselves and heal better when we’re in an altered state of mind.

How does a typical breathwork session look like? 

Breathwork sessions usually last between 30 minutes to a few hours. The goal is to create an environment where people feel safe enough to explore their inner world without fear of judgment.

A breathwork session begins with an introduction to the technique followed by a series of guided meditations. The goal is to relax your body and mind while simultaneously inducing a state of relaxation and heightened awareness. During this time, you’ll be asked to focus on your breath and feel anything that arises without judging, analyzing, or suppressing it.

A breathwork session can be done alone or with others. Some people find that they need to do multiple sessions over time to fully experience the benefits. Others feel the power of the medicine in a single session and repeat the practice to deeper their experience and healing.

breathwork sessions

What can happen during a holotropic breathwork sessions

A well-guided breathwork session allows people to experience what they call holotropic effects, such as:

  • Bodily sensations that include tingling, numbness, pressure, warmth, lightness, floating, spinning, and flying
  • Feelings of joy, peace, love, bliss, ecstasy, surrender, unity, compassion, gratitude, awe, wonderment, and serenity
  • Visions of colors, shapes, forms, landscapes, and beings
  • Perceptions of oneself as one of many parts of a whole

What are the results of a breathwork session?

While there are no scientific studies proving the efficacy of HB, there are reports of successful outcomes. There are even some medical professionals who believe it could potentially help treat conditions like depression, anxiety, OCD, and much more. There’s also anecdotal evidence that suggests it has helped people overcome addictions, heal trauma, and improve their relationships.

How do I know if I’m ready for a breathwork session? 

If you’ve been feeling stressed out lately, have trouble sleeping, or find yourself constantly worrying about things, then you may benefit from a breathwork session. However, you should only try them under the supervision of a trained practitioner.

If you want to learn more about Holotropic Breathwork, check out Breath Masters’ other articles on the subject.

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