Personal Note from John Stamoulos:

 The perspectives in this article are my personal point of view developed out of experiences and observances during my years of international travel while facilitating Breathwork in many cultures.



The past 30+ years of global travel with Breathwork has been an enlightening process. It has taught me how to connect with numerous cultures and has shown me that despite different ethnicities, cultural beliefs and practices, Breathwork is a universal technique that offers profound healing and change at a mental, emotional, spiritual and physical level to anyone who is open to the process.



My Background


In the 1990’s as I began facilitating and training others in the Breathwork process in Australia, I worked with a broad cross section of participants – from children, to parents, to couples –in various parts of the country. Learning how to modulate the process to meet each client at their level of comfort and safety and to develop a trusting relationship with them were valuable tools for the international work I eventually came to do.


Eventually, opportunities to travel to Europe provided the ability to connect with Breathworkers from other countries and to begin networking internationally, which grew a multi-cultural clientele.


I also had to privilege to accompany some of the pioneers of Breathwork to various countries to observe how they worked and had the advantage of learning firsthand the many techniques they used for presenting Breathwork. I traveled to India where I spent time with Kriya yogis immersed in their cultural, spiritual and breathing practices.


Eventually, through the connections I made within the Breathwork community, my journeys resulted in offers to facilitate Breathwork in USA, Canada and to South East Asia. Asia is where I now conduct regular Breathwork group and individual processes.



Global Cultures and Breathwork


How Breathwork processes are conducted depends on the practitioner’s school of training. Globally, Breathwork has many identities – Transformational Breathwork, Clarity Breathwork, Holotropic Breathwork, Radiance Breathwork, Integrative Breathwork and in Asia, Tai Chi and Qi Gong breathing practices is part of the mix.



The effectiveness of any of the Breathwork processes I have used or have observed others using, comes from my belief that, quite simply, Breathwork is Breathwork and, even though it may have a broad bandwidth and scope in presentation, the outcomes of the technique are universally similar. The participant still experiences change and healing based on the level to which they open to the experience and are willing to allow emotional release.


In my personal experience, what is different in the international groups or individual sessions is that acceptance of Breathwork and the doorway through which it is introduced is considerably different for different cultures.  Pushing the conversation from the point of view and belief structure of the Breathworker without regard for what is meaningful to the people of the country you are in is counterproductive and can result in misunderstanding and resistance as well as loss of safety and comfort for the participants.


Thus, it is important to establish trust and connection by learning about each cultural group’s beliefs, traditions and rules and by conducting the Breathwork process around those understandings. This allows for more open communication in the mental, spiritual and emotional language that feels part of the participants’ reality and helps them feel understood and respected.  


For example, in a culture, which is more left-brained in its approach, it is not useful to introduce Breathwork from a metaphysical point of view, as there is no common ground upon which to build a connection.



 In my global outreach with Breathwork, I follow three simple rules:


1] learn about the culture – what beliefs, customs, rules and interests prevail;

2] consider what approach and entry level of Breathwork is reasonable to introduce

     – beginner (group), explorer (individual) or teach it (trainee);

3] decide how to communicate in the language of the culture – work from a mental,

    emotional, or spiritual common ground.




Breathwork Around the World – Similarities and Differences



Canada and USA


Breathwork in USA and Canada was more readily accepted because self-healing and personal growth from a metaphysical perspective, were part of the culture. This openness allowed for greater ease in introducing Breathwork here. Presentations in groups and individually were not culturally or religiously obstructed and the emotional groundwork was already laid for Breathwork.


Particularly in the US, rebirthing breathing (part of Leonard Orr approach) and Holotropic Breathwork (Dr. Stanislav Grof body of work) were readily known in the personal growth circles in the country.  



South East Asia – Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Brunei,


Breathwork was not known in Asia when I first worked there so it was a gradual and slow introduction of it to people that began with my participation in Money & You®, (an innovative program which teaches abundance in business and life for socially conscious entrepreneurs.)


Money & You seminars held in South East Asia helped me learn that the cultural focus was all about being abundant, affluent and prosperous in life.  I began running workshops focused on prosperity and abundance and eventually introduced Breathwork for groups who were interested in discovering tools to open to affluence in their lives.


One significantly unique requirement of working in Asia is the need to honor the cultural, religious customs and rules of Muslim participants. During group sessions, there was respect shown by not touching women; women support staff were part of the group Breathwork and men and women were separated during the group sessions.



Iran, Greece


By contrast, Iran and Greece are naturally passionate cultures and I found that any offering to access or work with emotional release was the doorway in to acceptance of  Breathwork process there.





Bulgaria is similar to Iran and Greece in its affinity for passion and openness to the to exploring emotional healing techniques. Thus Breathwork was naturally popular there.

In Holland, Germany and UK, there was some resistance to exploring the process. Before they engaged the experience, they desired a deeper understanding and mental clarity about the process.


 I have discovered that the core healing experience of Breathwork will take people as deep as they want to go no matter where they come from, what their cultural differences or diverse life experiences might be.  In the end, at our essence, we all seek acceptance and safety.  Breathwork helps us break down the blocks to our differences and helps us embrace the one most powerful truth that unites us – authentic love is at the heart of who we are.


I have learned and grown personally from experiencing other cultures and have discovered that when culturally diverse people do Breathwork together, their shared experience can be the basis for continued connection and relationships even after the session has ended. It has been a fascinating journey !  ~ John

    Enter your contact information for instant access!

      Enter your contact information for instant access!