The Absolute Best Holotropic Breathwork Instructions

Using the right holotropic breathwork instructions can help you breathe your way into your next high.

Dr. Grof “is one of the early scientific researchers who was dedicated to LSD therapy” (Ponvelle, 2016). “His work was mostly centered around exploring the mind in this susceptible tripping state to determine where trauma has affected an individual” (Ponvelle, 2016). Unfortunately, in the 60s, when there was a mass of  drug crackdowns taking place, Grof was “no longer” allowed to focus on LSD therapy, and instead, he “developed a formalized breathwork discipline that he trademarked as “Holotropic Breathwork” (Ponvelle, 2016). He actually “worked with LSD for many years as a therapeutic tool back in the 1960s” (Ponvelle, 2016). During this time, he actually discovered “that the ‘non-ordinary states of consciousness” that his patients were able to access during these experiences had a tremendous healing power. 

“When LSD was banned”, he believed that, “since these healing states could be accessed with a substance, that the receptors for that type of experience existed in our brains” (Ponvelle, 2016). This meant that there must “be a way to access the same states without the LSD” (Ponvelle, 2016). Therefore, with this mindset, “he spent the next period of time researching… how traditional societies had accessed these states and he also studied modern consciousness theory. From his research, and…by working with groups of volunteers at Esalen over a period of several months, he developed a one day workshop modality that allowed participants to access these incredibly healing non-ordinary states through the use of breath and music” (Ponvelle, 2016). He called this modality “Holotropic Breathwork” (Ponvelle, 2016). “It is a logical hypothesis that Holotropic Breathwork works in a way that is very similar to how scientists currently think that using substances such as LSD and psilocybin work, i.e. by slowing our “default mode network” down” (Ponvelle, 2016).

Even though he is now in his eighties, “Stanislav Grof is still certifying practitioners of holotropic breathwork and leading seminars for individuals to try it out first hand” (Ponvelle, 2016). In fact, the actual word “Holotropic” means to “move toward wholeness,” “and the breathwork can perhaps be best explained as a practice of opening to a state of consciousness that moves us toward wholeness” (Psychedelic Times Staff, 2017). It is actually quite interesting to note that “many countries utilize this technique as a spiritual practice rather than a therapeutic one” (Cuncic, 2019). In this way, some people participate to expand their awareness, rather than using holotropic breathwork as means of “overcoming a problem of some sort. Its practitioners propose that this technique moves you forward to the ‘next part of the picture” (Cuncic, 2019).

So, now you have been given a mini-history lesson on Holotropic breathwork, but aren’t you eager to know how these holotropic breathwork instructions will help your mind and body? Indeed, we are going to be exploring the 3 main benefits you can derive from simply engaging in this breathwork, and later on in this article, I will also be explaining how exactly you go about performing it. Sounds exciting, yes? All right then, let’s get started!


  1. Gets Rid Of All Negative Thoughts, Including The Fear Of Death (Cronkleton, 2017)
  2. Relieves Stress, And Helps In Personal Growth & Self-Awareness (Cuncic, 2019)
  3. Allows Us To Access Our Deepest Emotions and thoughts 

Holotropic breathwork “uses music, and “deep circular breathing” as a catalyst to access deep emotions and unconscious thoughts, feelings, emotions, and tensions” (Gordon, n.d.).

All right readers, thank you for reading about the 3 most amazing benefits that holotropic breathwork can provide us. Now that you have been introduced to this style of breathing, have some background info about it, and also know its main benefits, I now want to actually discuss how to perform it with you all.

Holotropic Breathwork Instructions

All right, so before we begin, I do want to make one thing clear from the beginning: “There is not necessarily a ‘proper” way to do holotropic breathing, other than the instruction to ‘breathe deeper and faster than normal”, therefore, “this is not a ‘guided’ breathwork experience (Stone, n.d.). “The important thing” to remember is “to move more air through your system than you normally do (Stone, n.d.). After 15 or 20 minutes, your body will normally find its own rhythm and you will generally no longer have to think about it. However, if you are one of those people who definitely loves the feeling of “additional guidance,” other people in the past “have found the following suggestions helpful when they start the holotropic breathing session” (Stone, n.d.). Therefore, I have included the suggestions below on how you could possibly perform it in four different ways (Stone, n.d.).


1. Full Deep Breaths

The first way you can perform this type of breathing is by taking in full, deep breaths. To do this, all you do is take in full and deep breaths constantly, ensuring that you breathe all the way into your lungs. You should do this in such a way that “when you breathe in, your belly should move out” (Stone, n.d.). This is also known as “diaphragm breathing” (Stone, n.d.)

2. Continuous, Circular Breathing 

Continuous, circular breathing is a type of breathing where you should not be taking gaps between your breaths or holding your breath in at any point. “When your lungs are almost full” with the inhale, you have to now begin your exhale (Stone, n.d.). Then, “when your lungs are empty, you immediately turn the breath around and start inhaling. “Doing this helps creates a breath pattern where you are always breathing in or breathing out, creating a circle of breath” (Stone, n.d.).

3)  Faster than Normal Breathing 

The third way to perform holographic breathing is by breathing “a bit faster than you normally would” (Stone, n.d.). The key here, “however,” is not “to breathe so fast that you create tension in your body (Stone, n.d.). It is vital to remember to keep your “body, and especially your lungs” “relaxed, and without straining, so that the breath can be maintained for a long period of time without tiring yourself out” (Stone, n.d.).

4) Mouth Versus Nose Breathing 

One thing to remember here is that it “is easy to move air quickly through the mouth” (Stone, n.d.). In addition, “mouth breathing tends to be more supportive of emotional release”, so most people find that breathing in and out through the mouth supports their process better than nose breathing (Stone, n.d.). However, some people find that mouth breathing is uncomfortable for them, in which case, nose breathing is fine” (Stone, n.d.). Typically, “after 15 or 20 minutes, everyone’s body will generally find their own rhythm and way of breathing” (Stone, n.d.). There are as many breathing styles as there are breaths” (Stone, n.d.).


  And voila! There you have it, folks! Your guide to how to do holotropic breathing, and the astonishing benefits that it provides us all. To refresh our minds, this type of breathing banishes all negative thoughts, including the fear of death, is an amazing stress buster, and it also helps in furthering personal growth, and increasing self-awareness as it allows us access to our deepest emotions and thoughts. Last, but not least, if you wish to reap these amazing benefits, and wish to perform Holotropic Breathwork, just remember that there are four different methods you can use to perform it. These four methods are full deep breaths , continuous, “circular” breathing, faster than normal breathing, and lastly, mouth vs nose breathing. Sounds easy, right? So folks, the next time someone offers you a joint, just shake your head, and say, “Hey, have you heard of Holotropic breathing?” We can’t wait for you to try this breathing out! Let us know your thoughts on this breathing, and if you have done it before, how was your experience? We’re (literally) dying to know! Till next time then. Ciao!

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Prathima lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. In her free time, she likes watching YouTube videos about unsolved crimes, as well as beauty tutorials. She loves crafting theories about her favorite TV shows and enjoys reading good books that make her temporarily forget about her own life. She also secretly works as an undercover detective, but only on the weekends. Fly with her at Take snapshots with her at