Types of breathwork techniques

Here, we discuss the features and benefits of the various types of Breathwork techniques, like Holotropic breathwork, available to you today.

Apr 30, 2024
Breathwork is a set of practices where you use conscious connected breathing techniques to improve the state of mind, body, and soul.
This will act as a resource page of sorts where you can learn a little about all the types of Breathwork currently available to you. The benefits of breathwork in its entirety will be made clear this way.
We’ve categorized it based on the ways each one has evolved differently in execution because of the various benefits each type’s innovator wanted.
But you will find that they are more similar than they are different. This is simply because the core of breathwork is clear.
It is modifying your breathing patterns to activate your self-healing mechanisms and work through your emotional injuries. This is fundamental to all Breathwork techniques.
What changes is how a session plays out, how the facilitator has designed it, what happens right after, and even some of the benefits you get.
We’ve collected this information for someone who has some understanding of breathwork but is still unsure about the huge number of options within it.
It can get a little confusing when you want to get serious about it after some experimenting, but there are many roads you can take.
So, go through the breakdown of 14 types of breathwork techniques, and make a well-informed choice.

1. Holotropic Breathwork

What is Holotropic Breathwork?
Holotropic breathwork is about using breathing patterns that take you to an altered state of consciousness, where you can address your physical, emotional, and spiritual pain.
What happens in a Holotropic Breathwork session?
In Holotropic Breathwork, the practitioner lies on the ground, with a ‘sitter’ watching over them, for sessions that last 2-3 hours.
The fast-paced breathing is usually done to music that is rich and uplifting with a pulsing rhythm. This focus on rhythm is because drumming is shown to reduce anxiety, ease pain, and access the unconscious.
During holotropic breathwork, participants breathe rapidly to induce an altered state from which it is believed that a deeper understanding of oneself can be derived.
Who founded Holotropic Breathwork?
Holotropic breathwork was developed by psychiatrists Stanislav and Christina Grof.
They developed it because they believed altered states of consciousness are a very useful therapeutic tool.

Benefits of Holotropic Breathwork

Holotropic breathwork is helpful for relaxation, stress relief, personal growth, and self-awareness.
It has been used in the treatment of depression, PTSD, chronic pain, and avoidance behaviors.

Best place for Holotropic Breathwork

Holotropic breathwork can be conducted only by those who have undergone the Grof Transpersonal Training.
Due to the group nature of the activity, you’ll have to find someone in your vicinity to practice under.
But the advantage is that once you find one, you will get a global standard holotropic breathwork session.

Mantra for Holotropic Breathwork

We recommend the Maha Mrityunjaya mantra for Holotropic Breathwork.
You can also try the Om Namah Shivaay track if you’re new to mantras. It’s available on the same album.
Both are part of the highly effective Ancient Healing Chants of Shiva album.

2. Rebirthing Breathwork

What is Rebirthing Breathwork?
Rebirthing-Breathwork, aka Intuitive Energy Breathing or Conscious Energy Breathing, is the ability to breathe Energy as well as air.
Rebirthing also means unraveling the birth-death cycle. This is based on the theory that our bodies store trauma from our birth experiences, and we continue to accumulate more negative emotions.
What happens in a Rebirthing Breathwork session?
In Rebirthing Breathwork, you’ll practice “circular breathing” — quick, shallow breaths without any breaks between an inhale and an exhale. You’ll do this for one to two hours, taking breaks if you need to.
This is followed by a release of emotions in the breather, both positive and negative.
Who founded Rebirthing Breathwork?
Rebirthing breathwork was founded by Dr. Leonard Orr. Orr proposed that correct breathing can cure disease and relieve pain. Orr devised rebirthing therapy in the 1970s after he supposedly re-lived his own birth while in the bath.

Benefits of Rebirthing Breathwork

Rebirthing Breathwork involves healing the eight biggies of human trauma, which are the birth trauma, the parental disapproval syndrome, specific negatives, the unconscious death urge, karma from past lives, religious trauma, school trauma, and senility, etc.

Best teacher for Rebirthing Breathwork

Other than Orr’s own Rebirthing Breathwork international, you should check out Katia Boustani’s classes.

Mantra for Rebirthing Breathwork

We would suggest the Ganesha Mantra for Rebirthing Breathwork.
You can also try the Samudra Vasane Devi mantra if you’re new to mantras.

3. Pranayama Breathwork

What is Pranayama?
Pranayama means the study of breath. In terms of breathwork, it is watching and controlling your breath.
What happens during Pranayama?
Pranayama consists of synchronizing the breath with movements between asanas but is also a distinct breathing exercise on its own.
Who founded Pranayama Breathwork?
Pranayama owes its origins to ancient Hindu texts, specifically the Bhagavad Gita, where it is described as a trance induced by stopping all breathing.

Benefits of Pranayama

Several researchers have reported that pranayama techniques are beneficial for treating a range of stress-related disorders, even more than you would get from a traditional yoga class.
Daily Pranayama trains the lungs and improves the capacity of the respiratory system immensely. It also positively affects the autonomic nervous system which controls and governs essential functions of the body like the heart rate, respiration, and blood pressure.

Best place to learn Pranayama

Try Shivashakti school of yoga and healing arts‘ online certification course for Pranayama.

Mantra for Pranayama

We would suggest listening to Ancient Bell Gold Link meditation for Pranayama Breathwork.
You could try any of the tracks from the Yoga music of India album if you’re new to using mantras.

4. Shamanic Breathwork

What is Shamanic Breathwork?
Shamanic breathwork is the use of breathing techniques to release the inner healer within you.
What happens in a Shamanic Breathwork session?
The Shamanic breathwork process begins by establishing a safe and sacred space through various rituals and ceremonies such as smudging with sage. Individuals lie down and focus on surrendering to their Shaman Within.
They call upon what they consider holy–spirit guides, power animals, and higher powers. Along with music, practitioners slip into an altered state, where their ego is broken and the journey plays out in unique ways.
Who founded Shamanic Breathwork?
Linda Star Wolf is generally considered the founding of Shamanic Breathwork. Her book, Journeying beyond the limit of self, is the definitive book on it.

Benefits of Shamanic Breathwork

Once you successfully awaken the Shaman within, you can reconnect with your Inner Healer. You can finally be free of old wounds and dysfunctional patterns.
This empowerment brings wholeness and healing back into their own lives, to the lives of those they love, and to the world at large.

Best place to learn this type of Breathwork

Levi Banner is a huge name in the Shamanic Breathwork space, and he has major workshops and teacher training under his guidance.

Mantra for Shamanic Breathwork

You should definitely try the Namo Thassa Mantra for Shamanic Breathwork.
If you’re new to mantras, you could opt for the Indian Tabla beat instead.

5. Transformational Breath

What is Transformational Breath?
Transformational Breathwork is focused on teaching you to access your self-healing capabilities.
What happens in a Transformational Breathwork session?
Transformational breath is taking deep in-breaths and then letting the air out — without controlling the out-breath.
Facilitators use hands-on techniques throughout the breathing session, to locate tension points in the body of a practitioner.
Who founded Transformational Breath?
The founder Judith Kravitz first encountered breathwork in a Rebirthing session. She then combined conscious breathwork with her expertise as a counseling minister.
She had insights to make it more effective, powerful, and lasting. It had become its own thing at this point, and she coined the term Transformational Breath to distinguish it.

Benefits of Transformational Breath

Transformational breath improves oxygenation throughout your body, thereby improving energy levels.
It’s instrumental in overcoming addictions and even reducing stress, counteracting psychosomatic illnesses, combating anaerobic diseases, and so on.

Best place to learn Transformational Breath

The best place to learn Transformational Breath is Judith Kravitz’s own Transformational Breath Foundation.
They offer all pieces of training from basic breathwork practices all the way to becoming a certified teacher yourself.

Mantra for Transformational Breath

Sudarshana Ashtakam is the best track for a Transformational breathwork session.
You could also try playing Pranamya Shirasa Devam, if you’re quite new to mantras.

6. Soma Breathwork

What is Soma Breathwork?
Soma breath is a breathwork meditation practice designed to give you better illness-negating powers than traditional medication.
What happens in a Soma Breathwork session?
In Soma breath, you will experience a sequence of therapeutic breathwork techniques combined with brainwave music and guided meditation that awakens you.
Who founded Soma Breathwork?
Soma breathwork was started by Niraj, in response to an ulcerative colitis diagnosis and the refusal of medical advice involving the lifelong use of prescription drugs.

Benefits of Soma Breath

With Soma breath, your body becomes more efficient at using oxygen while building its tolerance to carbon dioxide. It reduces inflammation throughout the body.
Your nervous system will be far more balanced following regular practice. You even have the opportunity to install new beliefs and become your best self.

Best place to learn SOMA Breath

Niraj’s SOMA breath is the best place to get your training done. You can start with their 21-day awakening journey.

Mantra for Soma Breathwork

The Sun Salutation mantra is a great track for someone doing SOMA breath.
Sudarshana Ashtakam is also a great track for this type of breathwork.

7. Radiance Breathwork

What is Radiance Breathwork?
Radiance breathwork is conscious breathing done in a way that the breather settles into a state of ‘bliss’ or ‘radiance’.
What happens in a Radiance Breathwork session?
In Radiance breathwork, the breathwork facilitator will help the breather find a comfortable style and rate of breathing which helps facilitate the process of relaxing and feeling.
After a short time, emotional or personality patterns from the unconscious will begin to come to the surface and appear as behavioral patterns. Bodywork is also used on occasion to help trigger emotional release.
The session ends when the breather feels peace or bliss or research what feels to be the right stopping place for the body and mind.
Who founded Radiance Breathwork?
Radiance Breathwork was founded by Gay Hendricks in the 1970s, along with his wife Kathlyn Hendricks.

Benefits of Radiance Breathwork

The facilitator encourages the breather to experience the released feelings fully and move through them. This allows the material to be integrated.
Throughout the session, more and more material will come off the surface and will be integrated so that energy blockages are released. Your emotional well-being is substantially improved after one of these sessions.

Best place to learn Radiance Breathwork

The Hendricks Institute is the best place to find events and seminars that can teach you Radiance breathwork.

Mantra for Radiance Breathwork

The Ramaskandham Mantra is great music for Radiance Breathwork.
But if you’re new to mantras, you can try Medha Dakshinamurthi Mantra instead.

8. Clarity Breathwork

What is Clarity Breathwork?
Clarity Breathwork is a gentle nurturing feminine approach to healing, transformation, and embodiment.
The idea is that when we start to breathe fully and consciously we are easily able to release what we have been holding on to, leading to an incredible expansion of consciousness, including greater forgiveness and self-love.
What happens in a Clarity Breathwork session?
Every Clarity Breathwork session involves in-depth intuitive counseling, somatic exploration, and one hour of circular connected breathing practice.
Who founded Clarity Breathwork?
Clarity breathwork techniques were formulated by Ashanna Solaris and Dana Dharma Devi, integrating breathwork, light body meditation & transmission, Reiki & energy healing, somatic experiencing, ritual, dance, and movement.

Benefits of Clarity Breathwork

Clarity Breathwork deeply supports the clearing away of old energies, patterns, conditioning, negative thoughts, and emotions and opens the doors wide for new life and greater consciousness.
It is really effective only when done with a certified Clarity Breathwork practitioner.

Best place to learn Clarity breathwork

Ashanna and Dana’s Clarity Breathwork conducts retreats and workshops, and professional training for potential practitioners.

Mantra for Clarity Breathwork

Shiva Rudra Gayatri Mantra is the perfect music for Clarity breathwork.
But if you’re somewhat new to mantras, try Brain Healing Spiritual sounds.

9. Integrative Breathwork

What is Integrative Breathwork?
Integrative Breathwork works on the principle that there is a direct connection between the psychological, emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being and the breath.
How does an Integrative Breathwork session work?
After the Integrative breathing sessions, participants express their personal experiences by creating symbolic artwork that summarizes their meditative journey.
Who founded Integrative Breathwork?
The founder of the Eupsychia Institute and creator of Integrative Breathwork is Jaqueline Small. She is a seasoned psychotherapist and famed author of multiple books pertaining to psychological and spiritual healing and transcendence.

Benefits of Integrative Breathwork

The Integrative breathwork experience can help people clear out blockages of unprocessed and unwanted memories that have been collected throughout their life. This will inevitably reduce stress in your daily life.

Best place to learn Integrative Breathing

The Inspiration Consciousness School & Community is a great resource to take your first steps in Integrative breathing exercises.

Mantra for Integrative Breathwork

Try playing the Kharaharapriya Nivaasam during Integrative Breathwork.
If you’re new to mantras, the Hare Krishna Hare Rama chant is the way to go.

10. Neurodynamic Breathwork

What is Neurodynamic Breathwork?
Neurodynamic Breathwork brings you on powerful journeys into profound states of awareness using only sound and breath.
What happens during a Neurodynamic Breathwork session?
Neurodynamic Breathwork uses a virtual platform to bring a global class to an altered state using a carefully designed powerful music set and a 55-minute breathing session.
Who founded Neurodynamic Breathwork?
Michael Stone created the Neurodynamic modality of breathwork therapy after he got this idea during a breathwork session in 2016.

Benefits of Neurodynamic Breathwork

Neurodynamic Breathwork, like other breathwork therapy forms, help you confront old negative emotions and then re-interpret these experiences in a way that does not strain and stretch your mind.

Best place to learn Neurodynamic Breathwork

You will need to sign up for one of Breathwork Online‘s membership plans.

Mantra for Neurodynamic Breathwork

Neurodynamic Breathwork involves streaming music from the instructors themselves.
But if you don’t have access, play Icchapurti Mantra for this breathwork.
If you’re new to mantras, try Om Mani Padme Hum for a start.

11. Systema Breathwork

What is Systema Breathwork?
Systema Breathwork is a martial art practice that involves breathwork ensuring you’re not expending more energy than necessary.
What happens in a Systema Breathwork session?
A Systema Breathwork session starts off with walking, inhaling through the nose on the first, then exhaling through the mouth on the next step. The sessions get more complicated, but still with the central principle that your breath leads your action.
Who founded Systema Breathwork?
Mikhail Ryabko and Vladimir Vasiliev came up with Systema Breathwork with the idea that it is the school of thought required to produce warriors.

Benefits of Systema Breathwork

You will find there is a natural flow to your body as you practice Systema Breathwork. There will be no stress on your body, as you transition from step to step once you have the breathwork mastered.

Best place to learn Systema Breathwork

DragonDoor is one of the premier academies teaching Systema Breathwork in person and online.

Mantra for Systema Breathwork

Play Andadangaata Mantra during Systema Breathwork.
But if you’re new to mantras, play the Aura Cleansing Mantra.

12. Ecstatic Breathwork

What is Ecstatic Breathwork?
Ecstatic Breathwork is a combination of Biodynamic and Clarity breathwork. Both are focused on the breath and focused on relieving trauma and releasing tension.
What happens in an Ecstatic Breathwork session?
In Ecstatic Breathwork, the guide walks you through your breathing as you lay on a mat. You are encouraged to feel unpleasant feelings, and instead of recognizing them, you work through them.
Who founded Ecstatic Breathwork?
Scott Schwenk founded Ecstatic Breathwork based on his learnings in a Tantric-Hindu monastery as a 20-something-year-old.

Benefits of Ecstatic Breathwork

Ecstatic Breathwork is instrumental in clearing your emotional baggage and increases self-awareness and self-esteem. This, in turn, improves how you show up in the world, and how you are perceived by others.

Best place to learn Ecstatic Breathwork

Scott Schwenk’s One Commune is the best place to learn Ecstatic Breathwork.

Mantra for Ecstatic Breathwork

Try this beautiful version of a Ganesha Mantra for Ecstatic breathwork.
But if you’re new to mantras, listen to the Swadhishthana Mantra.

13. Soulful Breathwork

What is Soulful Breathwork?
Soulful Breathwork offers us an alternative and healthy form of release for all our repressed feelings, emotions, and trauma.
What happens in a Soulful Breathwork session?
In Soulful Breathwork, the facilitator guides a group or an individual through the breathing patterns, with a focus on empowerment. Most sessions provide almost immediate relief from stress.
Who founded Soulful Breathwork?
Christian de la Huerta founded Soulful Breathwork. He is a respected spiritual teacher, sought-after retreat facilitator, and founder of Soulful Power, offering transformational retreats, and workshops.

Benefits of Soulful Breathwork

When practiced regularly and over a sustained period of time, Soulful Breathwork increases our sense of centeredness, giving us greater peace during waking and even sleeping hours.

Best place to learn Soulful Breathwork

Christian De La Huerta’s Soulful Power is the best training option for anyone looking to get into the Soulful variant.

Mantra for Soulful Breathwork

Pranamayam Shirasa Devam is a great mantra for Soulful Breathwork.
But if you’re new to mantras, Nirvana Shatakam is the right one for you.

14. Ananda Mandala Breathwork

What is Ananda Mandala Breathwork?
Ananda Mandala breathwork is an ancient yogic tradition designed to clear the 7 chakras (energy centers) in our body.
What happens in an Ananda Mandala Breathwork session?
Ananda Mandala breathwork consists of rhythmic breathing, in and out through the nose. A full inhale, followed by a forceful exhale. It has been known to cause physical expulsion through the nose.
Where is Ananda Mandala Breathwork from?
The Ananda Mandala breathwork cannot be attributed to any single person. Rather, it is based on the ancient Yogic traditions from the Vedas.

Benefits of Ananda Mandala Breathwork

Once you push through the light-headed and emotionally stressful phases, you will find all your chakras opened, and you will experience a sense of complete calm and tranquility with Ananda Mandala breathwork.

Best place to learn Ananda Mandala Breathwork

Punnu Wasu is the foremost name in the Ananda Mandala breathwork space.

Mantra for Ananda Mandala Breathwork

Karagre Vasate Lakshmi Mantra is great for Ananda Mandala Breathwork.
But if you’re new to mantras, try Vishuddha Mantra instead.

Final Word

That’s the comprehensive list of Breathwork techniques we found during our research into Breathwork as a whole.
As we promised at the start, there are more similarities among these styles than there are differences.
We are hoping that by giving you the options, we’ll start you on your own breathwork journey.
The mantras recommended are a small fraction of the world of mantras you have access to, for your breathwork practice.

Listen to the best mantras for breathwork practice

Here's a list of mantras that you can listen to right now. These are meditation mantras perfect for breathwork.
These were mentioned at various points in the post above. Listen to these mantras while revisiting these sections.