In any style of Conscious Connected Breathwork, the consciousness-expanding effect of breath is further enhanced by the use of evocative, heartfelt music. Like breathing, instrumental music and other forms of sound technology - drumming, rattling and chanting - have been used for centuries as principle tools in shamanic practice, healing rituals and rites of passage in many different parts of the world.
Some spiritual traditions have developed sound technologies that not only induce a general trance state, but also have a specific effect on consciousness, the human psyche, and the body. Carefully selected music serves several important functions in Holotropic states of consciousness. It mobilises emotions associated with repressed memories, brings them to the surface, and facilitates their expression. It helps to open the door into the unconscious, intensifies and deepens the healing process, and provides a meaningful context for the experience.
Creating Breathwork Music Sets can be considered a creative art since there’s so much feeling and creativity that goes into putting together a flowing playlist. With my Conscious Breathwork sessions - the musical flow is inspired by the layout of traditional Holotropic Breathwork music. Music is used in the Holotropic Breathwork experience not to guide the breather in one direction or another, but to allow a participant to go deeper into the transformational experience - relevant to that person on that day.
In order for the experience to be considered a “Holotropic Breathwork” experience and produce the intended results, the music set must be between 2 1/2 and 3 hours long. With my Conscious Breathwork sessions I find that sets of 1h15mins or 1h30mins works really well to complement an organic completion of the breath cycle.
From personal experience with my own sessions - I found that my body actually wants to rest after about 45mins of active breathing, after which you organically go into a blissful/ integrative state. Within these 45 mins the breather might retain/hold the breath for certain periods of time and also experience different breathing rhythms, which usually gets activated by the music. In the case of full Holotropic Breathwork sets - the music and volume really carries the breather for the duration of the session.
If CCB is done without music, the experience follows a natural trajectory that resembles the curve of an orgasm; the intensity of the emotions and physical feelings builds up to a culmination point and then gradually subsides, even if the person continues to breathe faster (only in some 1:1 cases the breather might have another peak). This provides the guiding principle of the selection of music for the sessions.
In CCB sessions, it is essential to surrender completely to the flow of music, let it resonate in one’s entire body, and respond to it in a spontaneous and elemental way. This includes manifestations that would be unthinkable or frowned upon in modern society. Be open to give full expression to whatever the music is bringing out, whether it is laughter, crying, chanting, screaming or groaning.
Not to control any physical impulses such as bizarre movements, sensual movements of the pelvis, shaking, tremoring or touching. It is also advised to leave your “monkey mind” - to not try and judge the music, guessing the composer or cultural background. This will allow the music to become powerful in supporting expanded states of consciousness.
The general rule for the choice of music is to respond sensitively to the phase, intensity and content of the participants experiences, rather than trying to program them in a any way. Get in touch to find out more about music in Conscious Breathwork, or even better, join in for an in-person or online session to experience it!