There are so many reasons people want to alter their state of mind.
Maybe it helps you deal with stress. Perhaps it’s an interesting or eye-opening experience. Or, maybe it just feels good.
Getting high alters our thoughts and behaviors. We experience ourselves in brand new ways. We learn things about ourselves, and we give our minds a chance to heal.
Here, we will talk about holotropic breathwork, one non-chemical method that has been proven to help people not only get high but deal with trauma as well.
And all you need for this high is a friend and the ability to breathe. They haven’t made breathing illegal yet, have they?
Well, keep on reading to learn more!
What is Holotropic Breathwork?
Holotropic Breathwork is an intensive way to control your breathing. Doing this for a long enough time can alter your state of consciousness, getting you high.
The word holotropic has Greek origins, with holos meaning whole and trepein meaning to move towards. This can be translated to mean moving towards wholeness.
Holotropic breathwork uses intense breathing to transcend consciousness. This is used as a method of healing. It uses short, intense breaths followed by long, deep breaths.
So, basically, it’s a more intense type of meditation.
What Are the Benefits?
Holotropic breathing was created with trauma healing in mind. This makes it, at its core, the perfect tool to use in psychotherapy.
People with anxiety and avoidance disorders can see great benefits from this practice.
It has said to relieve stress, open a path to self-discovery, increase creativity, promote calmness and clarity, and help the practitioner navigate personal issues.
How Do I Do It?
Normally, it’s wise to practice this type of breathing in a controlled setting, aided by a certified professional holotropic breathwork facilitator. Group sessions are the popular choice, but one on one sessions are a good option too.
In a group setting, you will be paired off as one of two parts.
One part is the breather. The breather is the one who performs the exercise.
The other is the sitter. This person ensures the comfort and safety of the breather.
Later, the breather and the sitter will switch positions.
Can I Do it by Myself?
Well, sure. That’s always an option. Maybe you can’t afford a session like this one, or you’re more comfortable reaching a higher state of consciousness on your own.
If that’s the case, here’s a how-to for you.
1) Set the Scene
Play some music. In the group settings, there’s usually some kind of rhythmic music playing. Music without lyrics might be preferable, so you can focus on clearing your mind properly without trying to mentally sing along.
Go somewhere cool and dark. Put a mat on the floor and lay down.
1) Breathe Deep
It’s best to do this totally reclined. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.
When you’re breathing, start making an effort to stick your stomach out as far as you can. This allows you to get as much air as possible in your lungs. This is also called diaphragm breathing.
Once your lungs are at full capacity, push it all out as far and as hard as you can. Really dig deep to deplete as much air as you can from your lungs.
This feels weird, but it shows you what your lungs are capable of.
When you are focused on controlling your breathing in that manner, do this for a few more minutes.
Just focus on your breath. Clear your mind. Think “breathe in, breathe out” over and over, in time with your breaths, if you need to think about something.
Take breaks if you get too dizzy, but try to get used to these sensations. That’s kind of the sort of feeling you’re looking for.
3) Faster Now
Here’s where the work begins.
Take a breath in the same way you were before, as deep as you can, stomach extended.
But now go faster.
Try to make this as rhythmic and quick as possible. Do not rest at any point. You want your lungs always to be moving, always cycling oxygen in and out.
Do not leave any gaps between your breaths. This is called circular breathing, and musicians use it to play without stopping. When your lungs are almost at capacity, turn the breath around and exhale. When they’re almost empty, turn it around and inhale.
This is a difficult thing to do, but with practice, it is totally possible.
From here, you’ll want to switch to exclusive mouth breathing, if you can. It goes quicker that way and allows you to get the speed you’re looking for.
Stay comfortable, but go as hard as you can.
The goal here isn’t to take in a bunch of oxygen into your brain. When you’re doing this, you are hyper-oxygenating your lungs but aren’t keeping it in there.
Stay relaxed. Don’t tense up. Slow down when you tense, but don’t stop.
You’ll find out that this is easier said than done due to some of our bodies’ methods of protecting itself, but the more you practice, the better at it you’ll be.
How Does Holotropic Breathwork Work?
Basically, this action throws your body into hyperventilation. It messes with the balance of the carbon dioxide and oxygen in our lungs.
This increases the pH of our blood and causes dizziness. It can also cause our brain to generate vivid imagery.
Other Things to Consider
- Due to our bodies’ natural fight or flight instinct, this type of breathing can create a panic feeling in some people.
- To stop that intense sort of panic, stop breathing exclusively through your mouth.
- Go back to the initial method of inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. If you need to use your nose exclusively, that’s totally okay for a while, though that can cause dry skin and discomfort in the area.
- Sometimes you can go back to all mouth when you have given your body a minute to adjust.
- This is a practice just like meditation so stick with it.
- Holotropic breathing will be uncomfortable at first, even if it’s all in your head. You are trying to rewire your brain to think about breathing instead of just doing it automatically. Consider having someone with you while you do this.
- Lie down! You will get lightheaded. This will also help you get more air.
- Close your eyes and focus. Keeping a clear mind can be hard, but with practice, you will get there. This is a lot like meditation. We can’t stress that enough. It’s a practice.
- Be smart and safe. If you have a disorder like asthma, don’t attempt this.
Air is Still Legal
We all have our reasons for wanting to expand our consciousness. It’s always important to be safe. But in today’s society, staying legal is a huge consideration you want to keep in mind.
Holotropic breathing is only one way of legally getting high. Maybe you aren’t ready for this sort of labor-intensive breathing technique. There’s nothing wrong with that!
That’s why we’re here. We want to help you find a way to open your mind legally. So come and check us out for other legal, safe ways of expanding your consciousness!