Shamanic Breathwork is about awakening and connecting to your “inner Shaman,” your inner healer, that is, it’s foremost a self-healing Breathwork modality, one that taps into your subconscious emotional and traumatic blockages, exposes those, to finally digest and expulse them out of your system.
It’s based on the idea that traditional Shamans would connect with the spirit world and use expanded (or altered) states of consciousness induced through breathing techniques in order to receive guidance for self-healing purposes or for healing of other people. Mind that Shamans also use other techniques to gain knowledge, such as drinking psychedelic brews like the Ayahuasca tea.
The Shamanic Breathwork technique involves breathing in deeply through the nose and breathing out immediately (but unforced) through the mouth in a circular i.e. connected flow, to again immediately inhale deeply via the nose. This breathing technique is a form of controlled and conscious Circular Breathing. This then is continued for a sustained period of time during a session.
During a session, the participant would lay down, relaxes, and listens to rhythmic music, while carrying out the breathing technique guided by a Breathwork facilitator, Shaman, or professional therapist. Nevertheless, Shamanic Breathwork can also be carried out as a solo activity or even in a group. The setting of a session may be typically “Shamanic,” that is, decorated with special Shamanic artifacts, accompanied with drumming, burning of incense, or medicinal tobacco smoke, or with carrying out rituals for energetic cleansing, and so on.
Because of its obvious relationship with other induced psychedelic experiences, you will often find Shamanic Breathwork sessions (but also other types of Breathwork) being offered in combination with San Pedro Cactus, Kambo Frog, Psilocybin (Magic Mushrooms), Peyote, or Ayahuasca ceremonies and retreats, to give some examples.
In any case, it’s said that each Shamanic Breathwork session has different effects; it may transport you to memories of old trauma, impart you with “psychedelic” visions, open-up energy channels and energy flow in the body, or give you pointers for self-healing, among others.
The health benefits of Shamanic Breathwork seem to vary widely, and are often anecdotal, that is, participant claim experiencing altered states of consciousness, feelings of bliss and calm, increased vital energy, emotional and trauma release, increased creativity, and relief of stress, tension, depression and anxiety.
It’s advised to be cautious or even avoid Shamanic Breathwork if you suffer from cardiovascular problems, physical injuries, osteoporosis, vision problems, respiratory issues, high blood pressure, severe mental health issues, or if you have had recent surgery or are pregnant or breastfeeding.