Breath of Life

Most NLP patterns are designed so that you can condition your neurology ahead of time to naturally trigger an alternate response to a specific situation. 

Breath of Life exploits the following assumption called Chain of Excellence.

Breathing -> Physiology -> State -> Performance. In summary, this assumption means that your breathing pattern affects your performance in any situation.

Breath of Life pattern can be used to condition yourself so that when you are in a challenging situation, you are automatically breathing differently. And hence, perform better.

Caution: Breath of Life is a technique that is helpful when you set it up in advance. There are other techniques like Circle of Excellence or anything based on stacked anchors that can help you when you are in the middle of a situation. But the chances are very rare that the later is useful because most times when you realize you need help you are already out of the original condition.


Skills Required

To learn this pattern and effectively use it for delivering change, the following key skills are pre-requisite

  1. Breathing & State Calibration: Visual (External)
  2. Establishing Rapport
  3. Pacing & Leading Breathing 
  4. Transitioning to Breaker States
  5. Leading to a Clean 3rd (Optional)
  6. Self Calibration: Kinesthetic (Internal) (Optional)

Warning: The procedure looks simple in text and video. We recommend you practice the above skills to get results and to know if you have got what you are after. We have done our best here to mention all the pain points when applying this technique. Please feel free to add you own in the comments section. 



The person who is benefitting from this experience is referred here as the Client.

Establish Context of Change and Calibration

1. Get in Rapport with the Client

2. Ask the Client to see herself in the the situation where change is necessary in a spot ahead of her. Ensure that the client is seeing herself (Disassociated) by asking a question like "What clothes are you wearing?".

3. Get the client to walk ahead to the spot where she saw herself in the situation and ask her to hear what she would hear when she is there. See what she would see. And really experience the situation. Here, you are leading the client into an associated state with the situation. 

4. Calibrate and observe for changes in Breathing Pattern, Skin Color, Twitches or movements in toes or fingers, Shaking in the hands, Muscle tension, Blinking pattern. Remember the ones that strike you as something that you can use for testing your intervention. This step is of prime importance. Though to a layman this will look like just an act, a trained practitioner can recognize the changes that are happening in the physiology of the client even as he is only remembering the situation.

5. Break state. Be careful about this, if you don’t do this right, you may give your client a headache or leave her in the un-resourceful state for the rest of the session till some random event breaks their state.


6. Again looking at herself in the spot ahead, get the client to demonstrate by breathing what she thinks will be the optimum breathing pattern for the selected situation. 

7. Pace the client to calibrate her breathing. So that you can detect when her breathing changes. When doing this it helps to ask the client to show with her hand when she is breathing in and breathing out with up and down movements. You can with her permission hold her hand to maintain the breathing pattern.

8. Once you are confident that this is an optimal breathing pattern for the client, you have calibrated it to be able to detect change and you are pacing the client’s breathing by moving her own hand up and down – Lead her slowly to the spot where she saw herself.

9. Continuously calibrate and look for changes in breathing pattern. If there is any. STOP. This is most important. Step back a few steps. Lead her to the optimum breathing pattern and only then continue walking.

10. As soon as she reaches the spot, notice any integration. At this stage she will show the initial signs in step 4 with noticeable changes. This is good. This means A) You have reproduced the original situation. B) You have successfully made a change. If you do not see any of the changes you calibrated in Step 4, it could either mean the changes were so complete or the original situation didn’t even get re-elicited. Be careful. Looks for changes not the absence of the original response. That is if there was muscle tension in hand. Look for changes in the muscle tension to a lesser degree or muscle tension first and then relaxation. Not noticing anything most often means no change.

11. As you notice the client integrates the changes, WAIT, do not talk unless you are trained in Milton Model and know to enforce or amplify the changes. Allow the client to fully experience the change.

12. Break State. The break state is important here for you to be able to test the work. Remember in this situation you were leading the clients breathing. You want to check if she can get into that situation again and breath differently without your intervention.


13. Ask the client to see herself again in the situation where she wanted change. Ask her to notice how she is breathing and if it is the new breathing pattern that she desired.

14.  Ask the client to walk into the spot and be fully associated with the situation. To see what she would see. To hear what she would hear. To experience the situation fully. Notice her breathing. And check for the original responses that she demonstarted when she was in that situation earlier. Notice if she has got the desired change.

15. Ask the client if she is satisfied with the new response.

16. If both of you are not satisfied, you may want to repeat from Step 6.

What do you need to do this on yourself?

You only need a coach who will look at you to ensure you are breathing at an optimal rhythm and confirm that you are automatically triggering the desired response when you experience the situation in which you want a change. You can easily train your friend or relative to help you with that.

How are the optional skills useful?

5. Leading to a Clean 3rd

This is useful when the client is unable to see her doing what she does in the situation that requires a change. The skill of the practitioner to lead her into this non-verbally can be of great assistance.

6. Self Calibration: Kinesthetic (Internal)

In the above procedure, your primary aid to calibration and detect changes was calibration. If you can tune in your kinesthetic to be able to detect how you feel when you breathe like the client. Then you can additionally detect changes in the client’s breathing positive or negative using your own feelings as a guide.

Want a demonstration?

Watch a Video or Ask someone in the next NLP Samosa.

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