Breathwork Exercises

Practice, Preparation & Tips From the Book “Feel to Heal” by Giten Tonkow – BBTRS Founder

Self Practice Session structures from Giten’s book “Feel to Heal-Releasing Trauma Through Body Awareness and Breathwork

Throughout this book, we have discussed processes and cautions. Before attempting a solo session, please read the entire book. Take extra care if you have limited movement, lung capacity, or muscle tone; if you  know yourself to react strongly to stimulation; if you suffer from chronic injury or illness, or are recovering from an ailment; or if there are any  other circumstances in which common sense would signal caution (see Chapter 10 for more on age, physical limitations, contraindications, and other considerations).

When setting up your practice space, also use common sense. Set the room’s temperature at a comfortable level; make any necessary adjustments so as to maintain this temperature for at least an hour. Arrange the space so that there is nothing you might knock into.

There will be no one to scoot a cushion under your elbow, so make a padded area that’s the size of at least a single bed, and even a double bed, if you can. Place a box of tissues and a bottle of water where you can reach them. Wear clothes you can move easily in, like yoga or exercise clothes; working without clothing is also fine if this is natural for you. Schedule plenty of time for the session, and don’t plan to immediately rush off to do anything important, like a vote in Congress or operate machinery. Give yourself time to ground and feel “like yourself” before moving on.

There are several demonstration videos on our YouTube Channel. Viewing them can prepare a person for the overall experience. In addition, when setting up to work alone, sound can be very beneficial. You can use the same sort of music you might use in a massage session or download BBTRS-specific soundtracks from Spotify. Just search “Giten Tonkov” on the Spotify app or website.

Finally, you can set timers, preferably using gentle bell sounds or something that doesn’t jar you, to signal rounds. That is, have a bell signify when to go back to resource and another to stimulate another breathing segment.
Before launching into an actual session, let’s begin by getting used to some of the BBTRS elements. Assuming you have no physical injuries or limitations that contraindicate them, try these short experiences:

  • Stop reading for a moment and simply tune into your breath.
  • Put on some music and dance for a few minutes.
  • Close your eyes, scan your body for tense areas and relaxed areas.
  • Breathe into both areas and note what changes.
  • Think about your internal resource, and write down all the physical sensations that make this place stand out.
  • If you are familiar with toning, try toning a few sounds. Feel the vibrations they create within your body.
  • Sit comfortably and experiment with gentle spinal movement. Just move side to side and in a circular motion from the hips upward.
  • Intentionally shake your body for a few minutes. Just sit or stand and let it vibrate. Just shake it out.

Next, try this “practice session,” which should acclimate you further with the experiences in an actual session.

  1. In a standing position, begin with an unwinding movement of neck. Unlock the jaw and face.
  2. Next, involve the shoulders and arms, opening and closing them with the breath. That is, with inhalation, open the arms and
    shoulders wide; with exhalation, close them, or even hug the body. Gradually involve the face in the movement.
  3. Sit down, rotate in spiral motion originating from the hips and waist. Isolate the movement of the spine and involve the neck, assuming that the neck is able to move freely.
  4. Lie down with knees bent, feet on floor. Allow the pelvis to rotate slightly with breath, pushing down and away with inhalations and contracting with exhalations. Press the heels slightly into floor.

Please note: If you feel dizzy at any time while standing, squat down and touch the floor. In all cases, make sure there is plenty of padding under and around you in case you were to lose your balance.

Session structures

At first, you might set relatively short intervals, with perhaps ten or fifteen minutes of deep, connected breathing and shorter resourcing breaks. For those with lung and/or other limitations, breath intervals can begin at two to five minutes, and increase to approximately ten minutes.

As comfort and experience grows, the length of time in each round can grow, and additional rounds can be added. Plus, once a breather becomes comfortable with BBTRS, smaller “refresher” sessions of just one breathing round can assist during particularly stressful days or just son has initiated deep connected breathing.


Sample session 1:

Preparation and scanning: 5 minutes
Breathing round: 10 minutes
Resource round: 5 minutes
Breathing round: 10 minutes
Resource round: 1

Sample session 2:

Preparation and scanning: 5 minutes
Breathing round: 15 minutes
Resource round: 5 – 10 minutes, depending on the activation
Breathing round: 15 minutes
Resource round: 20 minutes


The exercises on this page are taken from “Feel to Heal: Releasing Trauma Through Body Awareness and Breathwork Practice” by BBTRS founder Giten Tonkov. You can buy the book on Amazon or sign up for our newsletter below in case you wish to receive the first chapter of the book for free. 

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Breathwork Exercise Videos

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