Holotropic breathwork is usually carried out in a group, always forming pairs, with one person beginning in the role of a breather, the other in the role of a sitter; at the next breathing session, the roles are swapped. During the experience, which lasts about 3-4 hours, the breather lies with his eyes closed on a mattress and breathes deeper and faster than usual. This creates a holotropic state of consciousness and the psyche is activated non-specifically, so that the wisdom of the inner healing process brings awareness and processing of the most important experience for the person at the moment. This can lead to strong energy discharges and intense inner experiences, from the biographical, as well as from the perinatal and transpersonal levels of the psyche. The integration of these experiences leads to a feeling of inner clarity and connection with creation. Sometimes one breathing session can make a big difference, but usually several breathing experiences are necessary to support a profound inner transformation.
The sitters sit with the breathing person during the whole session and ensure that they are covered as they may wish with a sheet or blanket, are not disturbed by others, have handkerchiefs, etc., and receive supporting body contact if desired.
The breathing session is accompanied by music, using a combination of drum music, spiritual ritual music or sacred chants from different cultures; the music promotes access to holotropic states of consciousness and facilitates the expression of feelings. At the beginning of the session the music is rather intense and loud, later it becomes more meditative and calmer. In general, the music should follow the organic course of the processes and serve as support.
If there is still physical tension in the breather at the end of the session, the associated feelings and experiences can be expressed and integrated through the use of a special type of body work, so that a harmonious flow of energy arises.
After the breathing session, the experiences are expressed by the participants in the form of a mandala, a circular image. The artistic ability of these pictures is completely unimportant; rather it is about giving the inner experience an outer form again and thus deepening and processing it further.
In the subsequent sharing (group discussion), the breathing experiences are exchanged with the other group members, which often results in a greater understanding of one's own processes and a strong bond with the other participants.
The facilitators (therapists) are present as competent companions and offer their support if the breathing cannot release certain blockages in the long term. The healing process and the inner wisdom of the breathing person are always respected and supported.