Florinda told Castaneda that recapitulation often began with a list of items to be recalled. One then proceeded to work through the list one item at a time staying with the item until all of the emotions around the event had been felt. The recapitulation was done with the breath. While recalling the event, one inhaled slowly, moved their head from the right shoulder to the left. The next breath moved from left to right and was an exhalation. The purpose of the breath was to restore energy. When breathing from right to left one would "pick up the filaments they left behind" and when breathing from left to right they would "eject filaments left in them by other luminous bodies involved in the event being recollected."
Following the Castaneda's introduction of the term recapitulation Victor Sanchez, author of The Toltec Path of Recapitulation: Healing Your Past to Free Your Soul, published in 2001, also wrote about a technique by the same name. For Sanchez, recapitulation is a procedure of self-healing. It is done by reliving the events on one’s past. The damage is caused by repetitive emotional conflicts. When these conflicts persist they drain one’s vital energy. Sanchez says he developed and adapted techniques of recapitulation described in his book from procedures he learned from his time with the Wirrarika people, whom he calls the surviving Toltecs.
According to Kristopher Raphael, author of The Mastery of Awareness, Seeing Through the Eyes of a Jaguar, published in 2003, emotional charges blind one from perceiving reality as it truly is. Recapitulation is used to discharge one’s emotions so that they do not react and one can perceive clearly.