Shamanic Breathwork–What the Heck Is That?

Not too long ago, one of my best friends, Nea, came back from a business meeting out west. “Have you ever heard of Shamanic Breathwork?” she asked.

“No. Shamanic Breathwork? What the heck is that?” I replied.

“It clears trauma. It was so wild. My body felt electric.”

In my opinion, anything that can clear trauma and make you feel electric is worth exploring. Here’s what I discovered on shamanic breathwork.

Shamanic Breathwork

Shamanic Breathwork was created by Linda Star Wolf, who started out as a therapist in the mental health and addictions fields in the 1980’s. She holds a BA in Human Services from St. Leo College and a Doctorate of Ministry and Ph. D. in Spiritual Psychology from the University of Integrative Learning. According to her website,

“Star Wolf was originally introduced to Holotropic breathwork by its founder, Stan Grof, and trained extensively with Jacquelyn Small, founder of Integrative Breathwork, becoming one of the lead trainers at Small’s Eupsychia Institute. Star Wolf also studied shamanic earth wisdom teachings with the late Grandmother Twylah Nitsch, a Seneca Wolf Clan elder and founder of the Seneca Indian Historical Society. Grandmother Twylah adopted Star Wolf as a Spiritual Granddaughter and gave her the spirit name of Star Wolf.

Star Wolf created the Shamanic Breathwork™ Process as a synthesis of her personal exploration and direct healing experiences with breathwork, shamanic wisdom, depth psychology and addictions recovery methods. The Shamanic Breathwork™ Process utilizes the breath, sound healing through chakra-attuned music, energetic bodywork, soul return and extraction, shamanic art processes, scribing and group processing. Journeyers enter an altered state of consciousness that transforms and integrates trauma experienced earlier in life, creates a connection with their soul and spirit guides, and receive visions about their sacred purpose in the world.”

Linda Star Wolf offers Shamanic Breathwork experiences and training through the 501c3 non-profit organization, Venus Rising. Currently, she offers workshops, retreats, and online training.

Nea’s Experience

shamanic breathwork
This is a room set up for a Shamanic Breathwork Experience. Thanks to the Digestive Wellness Center for use of this image.

In the session that Nea observed, participants spent 15-30 minutes laying down and using a “deep patterned breathing”. It is optional to use shamanic music, “which involves lots of deep drumming and tones that work their way vibrationally up through one’s chakras”. With the breathing and music combination, you achieve “a super-originated state”.

When you enter into this state, your body releases certain chemicals which help you have epiphanies or visions.  As you breathe naturally, your body releases these natural visions. Then, you get into Savasana to meditate. “In Savasana, you enter a waking dream state where you can work through trauma, problems, seek answers, and find inspiration.”

Nea adds, “I personally experienced the ‘aliveness’ of the cells in my body and actually felt the sensation of electricity coursing through my body and buzzing from head to toe, especially in my hands.”

At the end of a session, the practitioners pass out paper and crayons so you can draw your experience and the answers that came. Sometimes deep traumas are worked through and released, so the practitioners are there to help that process.

After her time at the retreat, Nea was impressed with the effectiveness of Shamanic Breathwork. In her opinion, Shamanic Breathwork is a process that could help people heal from a wide variety of issues. As we release past trauma, we also open ourselves to receiving greatness in the future.

Have you tried Shamanic Breathwork? What did you think? Let us know in the comments.

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Sarah Stockett is STOTT certified in Matwork, Reformer, Cadillac, Chair, & Barrels, Injuries & Special Populations, and CORE; a Yoga Alliance RYT-200; and has studied Active Isolated Stretching. When she is not trying to discover the best exercises to get rid of pain, she likes watching movies and travelling with her family.

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