Neurodynamic Breathwork A Doorway To An Altered State Of Consciousness

Neurodynamic Breathwork; A Doorway to an Altered State of Consciousness

Connecting the Dots

I recently participated in a Neurodynamic Breathwork session (an evolution of holotropic breathwork) and was inspired to share a bit about this unique experience.

Michael Stone facilitates a live, online (via Zoom), group experience several times a week. I had watched an abbreviated session on YouTube for a segment that was taped for Yoga Journal, after which, I received a code to try a free session myself.

For the past few weeks, I have been sensing that it’s time to (again) try some type of breathwork activity. Perhaps, like many of you I tend towards shallow breathing. In addition, I’ve been in an exercise slump, which means that I am in a constant state of oxygen deprivation. 

I’ve tried different breathing techniques over the years, but nothing really helped me quiet my monkey mind, let alone get into any type of meditative state. In fact, once I start to focus on or alter my breathing pattern, my heart seems to then beat faster and I become uncomfortable – pretty much the opposite of relaxed.

Everyone seems to have a favorite strategy:

“Try breathing for eight counts in and eight counts out.”

“Hold the right nostril closed while you breathe in and then the left nostril as you breathe out.”

“Navy Seals do box breathing –  breathe in for 4 counts, hold for 4, out for 4, hold for 4…”

I get it…breathing is important! It’s the first action we take once we burst forth into this world, and without it, we perish. But more importantly, our breath acts like a mysterious gateway – a bridge to spiritual awareness. And I was determined to find out where it led.

So, last week, I joined a group of 30 other “breathers” on Zoom. I had done the prep work. I was dressed comfortably, the room was ready, and I had gathered my headphones, tissues, Chap Stick, water, and blanket. Michael went over the process, explaining what to expect, the stages we might go through, and what to do if we needed assistance. It was important, he said, that we relax and allow our higher selves to direct the process.

After a quick mic check to adjust the volume of the music, we were ready to begin. The music started and there was a bit of guided instruction, helping us find the rhythm of our breath. We were instructed to initiate a circular type of breathing, where there is no gap between the inhale and exhale. We were encouraged to breathe deeper and faster. The process was not unlike learning to ride a bike – Michael ran along with us, helping us build momentum, and then he gently let go…freeing us to embark on our own adventure.

My whole body felt rigid. I tried to lift my arms but it was impossible. I kept breathing. Eventually, even the muscles of my face and mouth stiffened into what I can only imagine bared an eerie resemblance to van Gogh’s Scream. Interestingly, rather than being frightened, I was curious.

Michael had thoroughly prepared us, explaining that first-timers tend to have a mostly somatic experience, including a phenomenon called tetany. Sometimes, he said, before the body can release any pent up energy, it must first collect it within the muscular system, which causes the body to tense up. Once it has reached a tipping point, the body will release into a healing state of relaxation.

I continued to surrender to the experience, silently intending that my Higher Self take me wherever I need to go; show me what I needed to see. 

At what I can only guess was about halfway in, I let go – allowing my breath to find its own comfortable rhythm, my body to fully relax. That was when I found myself just “being” in the moment, fully present. My mind was engaged, in that it was aware of what was happening, but it wasn’t in control. For probably the first time ever, I was able to remain in a state of relaxed awareness – a space of no-time, no-place. Near the end, I was visited by a majestic lion, who lay down facing me. Although he didn’t communicate a message, I understood the meaning behind his presence.

At the end of the hour, which felt like an instant, the music quieted and Michael gently asked us to come back into our bodies, into the present. We spent the next 20-30 minutes attempting to integrate our experience. We were informed that the integration process can continue for days, depending upon what was processed. Michael also offers to answer private emails if participants have further questions or concerns after the session.

Overall, I am excited about the potential that this practice has for those who seek an altered state of consciousness, but may not be comfortable with plant medicine or psychedelics. 

I definitely plan to try it again. Now that I know what to expect, I believe I will be able to dive even deeper.

Article by Allison Brown, EdD, NBCT

Find your perfect practitioner at
Editors: Chrysilla Lewies / Diana Adair
Picture: Pexels

Comments are closed here.

Skip to content