I often get asked questions about the difference between Effiji Breathwork and Wim Hof. I’d like to address directly what is similar and different about these two techniques.
For those of you who don’t know about Wim Hof’s breathwork, it’s probably the most popular breathwork in the world right now. It’s based around a man named Wim Hof. You can look it up and study up on it.
Breathwork practices are some of the oldest practices in the world because breathing is the one thing we have always been doing. In fact, it’s the first thing you do when arrive here on earth.
Every breathwork practice offers you an opportunity to develop some part of yourself. Practices can be for inspiration, balance, stability, calm, stamina, and endurance. There are many breath practices in many traditions; all of them have something to do with giving you some mastery over your body and mind.
In the Sufi tradition, Hazrat Inayat Kahn said the person who masters his own breath controls the atmosphere of a room. I love this quote because it says your own state affects everything around you. We can’t underestimate the power of having an even, natural, and relaxed breath. It brings great health and a clear mind. Breathing consciously is the journey from the outside to the inside world, from the conscious to unconscious, from life to death. We do that in every breath!
The thing that makes Effiji Breathwork different than most of these practices, is it comes from an ancient style of hyperventilating through the mouth. These practices are less about training and more about experiencing higher states of consciousness and encountering what is “in the way” of that.
Wim Hof’s practice has some roots in that. Unlike most of the other breathwork practices, it can be very challenging to do and will take you to altered states very quickly.
To be clear, every time you inhale and exhale repeatedly and consciously, you will move into an altered state, namely your inner world. We call it an “altered state”, but it’s really just the world that we don’t know about inside you. That’s different than the state we’re in even right now while you are reading.
There are two main differences between Wim Hof’s practice and ours. We see that all suffering comes from unprocessed experiences, trauma and conditioning. Those patterns are held in the mind and the body. The mind is constantly and vigilantly protecting us from re-experiencing the pain of those unprocessed experiences.
We see Effiji Breathwork as freeing you so you can live according to your potential. In Wim Hof Breathing, there is more focus on conquering the mind and becoming a master of yourself, like the founder himself who has done some extraordinary feats with his body and mind.
In our technique, the reason why it’s nonstop and through the mouth is because it’s the most powerful, quickest way past the mind. It will remove the controls that the mind has in place preventing you from accessing this material.
I tried every breathwork technique out there, especially the ones similar to what my teacher taught me. I saw that giving the mind anything to do other than to focus on keeping going in breathwork, gives power to the false self that keeps the tyranny of suffering going.
Many other breathwork techniques give you the illusion of some power which is another ego you’ll have to let go of later. Any activity that the mind does during the breathwork, other than focusing on the breath, gives the mind more power, which is not what we want.
To be clear, Wim Hof’s technique is different than ours. It involves a certain amount of concentration to learn the technique and do it. It is powerful, but toward a different result. We are focused on losing control, not gaining it, because we see it as the only way to clear the trauma.
Effiji Breathwork is very democratic in that it’s so utterly simple that anybody can do it. You don’t need experience or stamina or personal development in order to do it and get immediate results. You just have to have the willingness to encounter what comes up during the process.
The Effiji philosophy is about defeating the mind and ending suffering and liberating yourself.
Wim Hof’s personal journey and life story has a lot to do with conquering the fears of the body and mind in a more direct way. It’s not focused on emotional issues, heartbreak, loss, and the life lessons people are learning through relationships. There is a focus on becoming the master of mind and body, which is more of a training.
Effiji Breathwork is not a training. It is a contact point with the soul and an opportunity to clear trauma. We use other things to help people train themselves.
It’s much easier to get into an ice cold bath (which is part of the Wim Hof method) and work with your fear of it versus breathing into the heart center where you will contact your most primitive and well protected, hidden traumas.
I remember seeing the movie “Ali” with my beloved Tai Chi Teacher George Xu, a powerful martial artist. I asked him what he thought and he said “He could beat people up no problem but he had no ability to stay with a woman”. I laughed, but emotional things are much harder than physical when it comes to conquering fear.
We breathe in the center of the heart for a reason. The heart center is where the infinity of the soul lives within a human. There is so much pain and suffering there.
Breathing into it may be the most terrorizing and frightening thing to do, but ultimately it is the most liberating. We don’t see this practice as giving you control at all because you ultimately don’t have control. You were born and you will die. Better to gain access and an ability to harmonize with the forces of the universe, which are greater than all of us, because you will never have that control ultimately. So why bother thinking you do or becoming the master of the body when the body will eventually die.
This message is not meant to be critical of other breathwork techniques. I am not an expert in other techniques, and I have not studied them deeply.
The point is to make clear the philosophical differences I see and to show that different techniques are focused on different goals.
There’s certainly enough room for different techniques for different reasons.
Choosing the right breathwork technique is more about what you really want for yourself.
I offer Effiji as one of your options, because it is based in a philosophy I believe in.