Holotropic Breathwork: How To Do It?

Last Update on July 27, 2022 : Published on July 27, 2022

Holotropic breathwork has recently gained a lot of popularity, especially among those people who are inclined toward practicing self-healing and are interested in achieving a state of wholeness. Holotropic breathwork is all about how you focus on self-recovery.

Did you know many holotropic practitioners view and use holotropic breathwork as a spiritual approach and not as a therapeutic approach? This is so because the derivation of holotropic breathwork had a strong influence from a spiritual framework.

Basic Knowledge About Holotropic Breathwork


Holotropic breathwork was introduced by Stanislav and Christina Grof (psychiatrists) in the 1970s. They found this technique of self-healing while they were in the process of finding new ways to attain an alternate state of consciousness.

Holotropic breathwork is said to influence your overall well-being. It has a significant impact on your emotional, mental and physical wellness. Holotropic breathwork is said to increase self-awareness and aid personal growth. The main technique that is used while practicing holotropic breathwork is controlling and quickening breathing.

Holotropic breathwork may focus on self-healing but you cannot perform it without the guidance of a professional. Holotropic breathwork ideally should be practiced under the watch of a licensed holotropic practitioner.

Anyway, without further ado, let’s learn how to do holotropic breathwork…

How To Practice Holotropic Breathwork?

If you wish to learn how to do breathwork on your own you will need to get in touch with a professional. The holotropic professional will guide you through all the steps involved in holotropic breathwork. Once you get a hang of all the steps of holotropic breathwork, I think you will be able to practice holotropic breathwork on your own.

Let’s look at how to practice holotropic breathwork, here’s a sneak peek into what happens when during holotropic breathwork;

how to practice holotropic breathwork

  1. Holotropic breathwork usually takes place in a group setting so before you begin you will be asked to find a spot for yourself in a group that will be led by a holotropic facilitator.
  2. Once you find yourself in a group, you will further be divided into pairs within the group. One of you will take up the role of the ‘breather’ and the other will be the ‘sitter’
  3. The sitter only has one job, they have to ensure that the breather is safe since holotropic breathwork involves intense breathing.
  4. Once both breather and sister are ready the holotropic facilitator will guide you through instructions and the breather is supposed to breathe just as directed by the facilitator. Here’s a list of instructions involved;
  • “We shall begin with deep breathing with our eyes closed”
  • “We shall now increase the speed and rhythm of our breathing”
  • “Now, I want you to breathe even deeper and faster”
  • “Make sure your breath is even but fast”
  • “Continue breathing like this for a little more time with your eyes closed”
  1. While the holotropic breathwork is being administered, the sitter has to pay close attention to the breathwork of the breather so that the case of hyperventilation can be addressed as quickly as possible. The breathwork is intense, it can make someone hyperventilate.
  2. The entire holotropic breathwork session can take about 2 to 3 hours to complete.
  3. Through the process, the breather might be advised to lay down and follow the breathing. It’s easier to breathe better while laying down.
  4. Music has an active part to play in holotropic breathwork. Music with a fast rhythm is played to encourage the breathers. Music also helps them achieve an alternate state of consciousness easily.
  5. The session is left open to interpretation. Each breather can take a different meaning from the experience they had while practicing holotropic breathwork.
  6. The breathers can discuss their experiences and feelings that they had while during their session. They can even draw mandalas to express their feelings.
  7. Now, it’s time for both breather and sitter to swap their roles and continue with further sessions.

Benefits Of Holotropic Breathwork

Holotropic is said to have a lot of benefits on our mental, emotional and physical health. Now, this kind of breathwork is a lot more intense than other types but it sure has even better things to offer.

Holotropic breathwork can help in reducing various symptoms of many psychiatric illnesses like depression, anxiety, trauma, etc.  It also has been seen to help in reducing stress and relaxing the body. Holotropic breathwork can aid self-awareness and personal growth as well.

It has to be noted that no matter how beneficial holotropic breathwork can be, it is not a replacement for traditional treatment. Holotropic breathwork can be practiced along with other scientific treatments.

That’s All Folks!

I hope you found this blog about holotropic breathwork and how to practice holotropic breathwork helpful and informative. So share this blog with your friends and family because it can benefit you emotionally, mentally as well as physically.

Thanks for reading.

Take care and stay safe.

About The Author

Kirti Bhati
Kirti Bhati

I am an English literature (major) and psychology (minor) graduate from St. Bede’s College, Shimla. Postgraduate in Clinical psychology from IIS University, Jaipur. She has published a Research paper on Music therapy in the military population and Workplace stress in a national seminar conducted by Fortis hospital (gurugram) and international seminar conducted by St. Bede’s College, Shimla, Respectively. Authored a dissertation work on ‘effect of social media addiction on the mental and physical well-being in adolescents’ Currently working at calm sage as a writer.

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