Holotropic Breathwork


Since the beginning of human civilization, we have used music and the breath to help us heal, reach higher states of consciousness, and connect with the divine.  In a society largely devoid of shamans, healers, and magic we must create those experiences for ourselves.  Join us in exploration through a series of unique breathwork journeys. Dr. Smith provides a wide variety of Holistic Healthcare Services in Placitas for the surrounding areas of Bernalillo, Rio Rancho, Abq, and Santa Fe.

About Holotropic Breathwork | ABQ

What is a Breathwork Journey™?

You might consider this a form of spiritual technology.  Using a combination of carefully curated, supportive music and intentional breathing, we will attempt to induce a transcendental state.  What happens there can be transformational. Depending on the energy of the group, we often also incorporate live percussion to help elevate the experience.

Your experience will be entirely unique to you.  You will have the journey that you are supposed to have.  It may be intense, but it will never be more than you are ready to address, take on, or let go of.

Phases of Breathwork

  1. Induction: we begin with a grounding meditation to quiet the mind and relax the body.
  2. Separation: we will then use sonic driving (rapid, repetitive, rhythmic beats) to induce a trance-like, shamanic state.
  3. Descent/Initiation: this phase is calmer, generally more centering and numinous.  We will descend deep into our internal realms, explore their depths, and experience the extraordinary.
  4. Return to the Ordinary World: having had whatever experience was open to and meant for us, we will begin a gentle return to body and waking consciousnes.

Proper Breathwork Technique

We will be using a very simple, yet powerful form of breathing which is both circular and diaphragmatic.

Diaphragmatic Breathing:

Put one hand on your chest and the other on your belly.  When you take a deep breath, where is the movement? 

When we do diaphragmatic breathing, only the lower hand moves. Breathing with your diaphragm requires less effort and draws air deep into the lungs. Imagine that you are breathing all the way down into  your feet.  For this practice we will breathe in and out through the mouth.

breathwork journey

Circular Breathing:

Our breath will also be circular.

That means there is no pause between the inhale and exhale.  You take a deep diaphragmatic breath into the belly and then let it release effortlessly.  It is not a forced exhale.  This is immediately followed by another deep diaphragmatic inhale which is immediately followed by a gentle exhale.

The inhale is longer than the exhale, otherwise you may begin to hyperventilate.

Holotropic Breathwork Journey
Create a comfy space
diaphragmatic breathing
Breathe into your belly

Group Breathwork

While breathwork can be performed individually, it is much more powerful in a group setting. The energy of each individual helps to raise the vibrational level of the group as a whole. We offer monthly breathwork sessions at the office in Placitas, typically on a Wednesday evening.

We are also looking for local venues who might be interested in hosting breathwork groups of their own. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you are interested.


This type of breathwork was originally developed in the 1960’s by a group of transpersonal psychologists. They worked with clients to help them overcome trauma and release it from the body. In their work, they utilized LSD and psilocybin to help put their clients in an elevated and more open state.

After these drugs were made illegal, they developed this type of breathwork (originally termed holotropic breathing) to bring clients to that same transendental state. We have altered the breathing a bit to make it more safe and cut down on side-effects. Also, we specially curate new musical arrangements for each breathwork experience. That in combination with a soundbath makes our experience truly unique.

By and large breathwork is extremely safe.  When was the last time that you didn’t breathe?

However, we are going to be using our respiratory capacity to its fullest.  If you have uncontrolled heart or lung problems, you should not do this.

Breathwork has also been known to trigger psychotic episodes in those who have such tendencies.


Every breathwork session is different. It depends on the cycle of the moon, the energy in the room, your state of mind, and how well you stay with the breath.  Over the past decade or so I have had a number of recurring experiences:

  • Sometimes you lay there breathing for 60-90 minutes wondering why nothing is happening but feeling very relaxed in the end.
  • Sometimes you have an emotional release.  You may find yourself laughing or crying.  You may know why, but you may not.  Just go with it.
  • You may have a spiritual experience connecting with ancestors, entities, or loved ones who have passed. 
  • Your body may start moving of its own accord, and you may spontaneously find yourself in yoga-like postures.
  • You may start performing energy work on yourself. 
  • You may stop breathing for what feels like a really long time.

The best thing to do is have no expectation and follow the breath where it leads.

  1. Don’t eat before doing breathwork.  A full stomach will siphon off the energy and leave you with a lack-luster experience.
  2. Pee first!  Even if you don’t think you need to, go to the bathroom.  In the middle of a session, it can be hard to use your hands.
  3. You are in control.  If you force the exhale and start to hyperventilate, you will get cramping in your hands and feet. It hurts. Don’t fight it. Relax into it and breathe normally.  After your body calms down, come back to the breath.