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A Breathing Exercise To Take You Higher

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A few years ago, one of my teachers taught me a powerful breathing exercise that I’d like to share with you today.

Variations of this technique have been used for millennia to induce altered states of consciousness and connect more deeply with the divine.

On the surface, it’s hard to fathom how breathing alone can take us to such great heights. I had doubts myself – until I gave it a try.

As it turns out, I hadn’t given my lungs enough credit – the experience was cathartic in ways that defy description.

This exercise comes with a special note of caution – please make sure to read it below!

The Art of Conscious Breathing

When was the last time you thought about how and when you breathe?

Biologically speaking, breathing is a rhythmic, involuntary process regulated by the body. Most of us do it about 12 to 20 times per minute. It’s kind of a requirement on the standard “staying alive” checklist.

But spiritually speaking, your breath is far more than that.

When we were filming The Sacred Science in Peru, one of the shamans, Roman Hanis, showed me the power of using the breath to access higher realms of awareness. He led me through some deeply transformative breathing exercises that combined both Amazonian and Tibetan mystic traditions.

Before beginning each session, he reminded us that we all begin our lives in a primordial state of peaceful love and kindness and through breathwork, it’s possible to return to that place.

In Roman’s words:

“Within many archaic languages, including Andean Quechua, Amazonian Quechua, Tibetan, Aramaic, Latin, Greek, Hawaiian and others, the word for “breath” is the same word that is used to describe life, spirit, and soul.”

This begs the question I’m always asking myself – what did the ancients know that we’ve forgotten?

For thousands of years, up to this very day, people have used conscious breathwork for many reasons. Here are just a few:

  • To access healing and insight
  • To expand consciousness
  • To release stress or anxiety
  • To re-energize the body
  • To gain clarity and vision
  • To connect with higher forces / spirit guides

A Simple Yet Powerful Breathing Exercise

The breathwork exercise I’ve shared below is intended as a simple intro, to give you a taste of what your breath can do. I was on the fence about whether or not to share this, because it can be intense and needs to be used with care.

A Friendly Warning Before Proceeding:

This type of breathwork should be avoided by anyone with a history of the following: cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, glaucoma, retinal detachment, aneurisms, significant recent physical injuries or surgery. Pregnant women should avoid this type of breathwork as well.

Keep in mind that during the process, it’s common for you to experience a wide spectrum of feelings. Such sensations can include deep relaxation, joy, serenity, sleep or meditative states, and possibly the release of past trauma. Reliving the birth process or even past life experiences have been reported too.

With this in mind, it’s strongly recommended that you have someone with you who is aware of what you are doing and is willing to assist if you need anything along the way.

Remember, if you experience any overwhelming sensations it is OK to stop at any time.

The Practice:

Preparing your space:

Find a firm, flat surface to lie down on – a yoga mat on the floor is ideal. Many people also put a pillow under their head and a rolled blanket under their knees. An additional blanket can also be used for warmth if you become cold during the exercise.

Important: If this is your first time trying an exercise like this, I strongly recommend keeping it to 20 minutes max, before gently bringing your breath back to normal and letting your body relax for 10 minutes in a laying position.

Again, this practice should be done with a partner who can supervise you. Take turns at 20 minute intervals, one experiencing while the other holds space.

*Using a timer with a gentle sound is also recommended when trying this outside of a workshop or class setting.

Read through all of the steps below before starting and familiarize yourself with them.

1) Lie down on your back, with pillow under the knees and any blankets positioned in a way that makes you comfortable. Close your eyes and relax your body and breathing for a few minutes.

2) Take in a slow, deep breath. Gently breathe all the way to the bottom of your lungs so that your stomach moves outward a bit. At the end of your inhale, immediately begin to exhale at the same speed. At the end of your exhale, immediately begin breathing in again, slow and steady.

3) Be mindful of continuous, “circular” breathing – where there are no gaps between inhale and exhale. And be sure not to hold your breath. When your lungs are almost full, begin to exhale, then before your lungs are empty, inhale again. You want to create a pattern of constant breathing either in or out. Think about the breath as making a circular motion in, through, and out of your system, and repeat.

4) You will need to breathe a little bit faster than you would under normal circumstances. However, and this is very important, you don’t want to breathe so fast that you create tension anywhere in your body. The lungs and entire body should be as relaxed as possible. In this way, the breath cycle can be maintained for a longer period of time.

5) Breathing in and out through the mouth will support emotional release more completely. But if you find that it’s more comfortable to nose breath, that’s ok too. In about 10 minutes or so, your body will find its own rhythm and way of breathing.

(At about the 10 to 15 minute mark, you may begin to feel a tingling sensation in your extremities, a feeling of euphoria, or an “altered” state of awareness.)

6) After 20 minutes, your preset timer will sound (remember to set a peaceful alarm sound) and your partner will gently put a hand on your shoulder to let you know that it’s time to slowly and intentionally bring your breath back to normal. Take some time in this in-between state to notice how what you’ve learned integrates and interacts with the reality that comes back into focus around you. *Some find this to be the most revelatory piece to this exercise.

7) You are complete 🙂

I hope this practice gives you a glimpse of the innate wisdom that is available when you tap into the power of your breath. Conscious breathwork is yet another way to stay connected to the sacred in your life.

Thank you to the ancient masters who gave us this deeply transformative wisdom.

Stay Curious,

Nick Polizzi
The Sacred Science Team

PS: This practice is similar in many ways to The Rebirthing Method from Leonard Ore, and Holotropic Breathwork, which was brought forward by Stanislov Grof. Both of these modern methods have origins in ancestral wisdom traditions and are great resources if you are looking to further explore this area of inner work.

Leave a Reply


  1. Name says:

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful wisdom and for everything you do to help the planet and all of us living here. You are a blessing.

  2. Robbie says:

    Hello there! I do have HPB, and was wondering why one should not do this excercise in this case.

    • Don says:

      It is is standard protocol to address any treatment with your healthcare provider. This is standard practice that a person will encounter for massages, acupuncture, yoga, as well as the obvious, such as joining a gym, starting a new job that requires body manipulations, etc. It is also required in our litigious society, unfortunately we must protect ourselves. If anything is outside our scope of experience, knowledge or license, one must refer to a specialist to rule out possible harm.

  3. Maxine says:

    This is made more powerful if done in bath with Epsom salts, frankincense and Myrrh. Candle light and beautiful music create mind transcending connection with all that is..
    Thank you for sharing x

    • Nadia says:

      Yes! simple yet powerful. Thank you Nick for this article, in doing so you share ancestral wisdom: it still applies in today’s world; perhaps even more so.

  4. Patricia says:

    You are so amazing. Thank you for sharing! Love, light, & blessings! Namaste

  5. Darlene Capalbo says:

    I have done breath work a long time ago and it was phenomenal. Thank you for reminding me about how powerful it can be. I will try this exercise and be sure to have a friend with me.

  6. Sylvia says:

    I had detached retinas that surgery repaired…can you please explain why I can not do this exercise? I am intrigued but clearly don’t want to put myself in danger???

    • Joe says:

      Its probably just a precaution – but with any breathing exercise, the danger is that it could change the pressure behind the retina. Chances are it won’t – but for example: weightlifters need to be really careful when doing the Valsalva maneuver to increase the weight they can lift… its a sort of holding the breath which puts a big strain on the retina, and its not uncommon for them to have detached retinas. My detached retina re-attached itself – but I’m always careful with weights / pressups / inversions. Personally, I don’t see such a danger in this breathing exercise, but I could be wrong!

  7. Andree says:

    Really interesting article,I understand the reasons why one should not do the exercise except if one has osteoporosis. Please could you explain why. Thanks

  8. Andrea says:

    I am not clear why one cannot use this breathwork with cardiovascular issues. Breath is healthy. I practice a Toltec breathing exercise and I have a stent in my right artery so that labels me with cardiovascular disease. Anyway, I feel there is no harm but someone should be present when the exercise is being done. Thanks for sharing this wisdom.

  9. Anne says:

    SacredScience is a blessing to us all. Thanks sincerely for sharing with us.
    I was wondering, however, why osteoporosis was included in the precaution list for this breathing practice.

  10. Abhai says:

    Hi: I’ve done this several times; they used to call it re-birthing. So glad it’s being discussed again. Thank you so much for telling people about it – I had experiences that changed my life and thinking. Now I want to do it again!
    Sat Nam
    Abhai Preet

  11. She says:

    Many thanks to you for sharing. We are worth taking the time to show up for ourselves in breathing!

  12. Shannon says:

    I have the best cd ever for doing breath work called Bliss Breath. It’s really hard to grasp this technique from written instructions I’m afraid. You can find the cd and listen to a sample of it at http://www.blissbreath.ca

  13. Tina says:

    Thank you. I find this article very interesting. I’ve had experiences with breathing that were transformative, but they involved deep breathing. I always laid down and just deep breathed. It would eventually slow down to about 3 or 4 breaths/min. When it got really slow, I became aware it felt like I wasn’t the one doing the breathing (not the physical me). A part of me was observing me breathing, and I felt so amazingly peaceful and yet so alive. It was simply effortless, and I felt as if I moved out of my way and allowed the soul/spirit that we really are breathe into my body. When I thought of someone. they instantly appeared before me in clear vision (like a TV screen). Even the very air I was breathing was different……more fresh/clean, even though I was inside my house. Has anyone else experienced something like this?

  14. Kirsten Kairos says:

    I offer individual sessions as well as co-facilitate workshops as a Grof-certified Holotropic Breathwork facilitator. I also feel plants are allies when approached with the utmost respect. I’m happy to see the conversation continuing about the importance of breath as a tool for journeying. With the resurgence of people clamouring to join medicine circles, it would be wise to approach the inward journey with breath first…thoughtful preparation, safety is key, and making certain you have a certified “sitter” in whichever method you choose. We are all trained to assist the breather, only as they request it, to move beyond a difficult situation and encourage the release of energetic blocks through movement or sound. May we all continue to support one another through our awakening.

  15. April Leigh Shular says:

    Thank you this feels new and yet familiar. Brightest blessings.

  16. Raimonda says:

    This is so effective. Thank you so much! infinite blessings on your path..

  17. Nicolette says:

    thanks Nick for that article.
    I have participated in breath works before, and it’s awesome!
    I went right back to in-Utero, and being born again.
    It was an amazing experience!
    Thanks for reminding me about the breath, and how powerful it is, I haven’t done breath works for years.
    It’s time to do it again!
    Om Tat Sat

  18. rincike says:

    hi there, can’t find the free ebook that was offered

  19. Rex says:

    I have done a very similar practice called transformational Breathing and found it very powerful.

  20. Rosie says:

    Thank you Nick

  21. 'Lucky Uliyemi says:

    Dear Sir, thanks for your amazing teaching, l have done breathing for some time, my experience is that I lose consciousness sometimes and began to dream one thing and the other. Please can you teach me more on breathing. or any tools that can increase my my spiritual energies and to increase my consciousness and and awareness.thanks

  22. Marie Lomeo says:

    This is wonderful. Please send the above reading on Breathing to my e-mail address so I man
    keep it for future reference. Thank you for your kind attention in this request.

  23. Mary says:

    I am looking forward to trying this.

  24. Yogini says:

    This is very similar to how we do our supernatural Healings, we focus on the breath as well and have done meditation practices along the same line as what you’ve described. Our teacher (from Java) told us that there are 2 other enlightened beings that practice this, He said that one of them lived in South America, I have the feeling that one of your healers could be this person. it is so good that we are awakening all together to heal each other.. This is our simple website, please have a look. Love and light. http://www.purimetamba.com

  25. Alberto says:

    I tried it alone yesterday before sleep after smoking a joint. The high transformed into a light-intense psychedelic high, and noticed I have done it other times by trying to do an astral trip, but because I hadn’t read it, I didn’t understand what happens, I thought before that marijuana was causant of this high, because of the way I spent it (lying with closed eyes) but by doing the excercise consciously I noticed what happens clearly. I just can’t figure out you how to thank you for this, I believe this technique makes your pineal gland release a bit of dmt, and marijuana (like with other psychedelics) maximizes the high. I do not recommend to do this before sleeping, because you may get euphoric and feel full of energy. I started to meditate about how life works, and it was all extremly clear to me and the feeling i got was just amazing. THAT MEANS DMT IS A NATURAL OCCURING NEUROTRANSMISSOR, AND WITH TRAINING YOU CAN THINK WITH IT WICH IS JUST THE MOST AMAZING THING I HAVE EVER DONE (or if it isn’t DMT, it puts your brain in psychedelic-like modus when high (i haven’t done it sober)).

  26. Jackie says:

    Why is it better to in hale through the mouth in preference to the nose? Love from Ukraine

  27. Jackie says:

    I had a left breast masectomy one year ago should I be doing this?

  28. Transformational Breathing says:

    This is exactly what Transformational Breathing is about. Judith Kravitz has been teaching this for years all over the world and has a very effective method to work with the breath to open it up. It is truly amazing and I recommend it to everybody. Check it out : http://transformationalbreath.com

  29. yorrie says:

    I find your emails non-invasive,interesting and most helpful,thank-you,Nick!

  30. Barbara says:

    Thank you very much for sharing this information.

  31. Inamullah Khan says:

    Nice article You can link here to my blog

  32. Raul says:

    Thank you for the knowledge & I will share it with others to help them too thank you for this blessing

  33. Lois says:

    Thank you

  34. Isabel@isabelvaldes.com says:

    Yes I am interested! IV

  35. Lee Ann says:

    I’m interested in doing breath work, however I read your warning about retina detachment. What is the reason not to practice if I have a detached retina, what would happen if I chose to do it anyway?