After conducting pioneering work in the therapeutic use of LSD in psychotherapy, Stanislav Grof and his late wife Christina developed a safe means for inviting nonordinary states of consciousness through use of deep breathing and evocative music. Training in Holotropic Breathwork and related facilitation skills is continued by Stan and his wife Brigitte.
In a New Yorker magazine interview, fashion designer Eileen Fisher explained: “You lie on the floor breathing in a specific way, a kind of heavy breathing that gets you into a sort of dream state. You go through all this stuff and let it go. It’s like thirty years of therapy in an hour.” (Malcolm, Janet (2013, September 23). Profiles: Nobody’s looking at you: Eileen Fisher and the art of understatement. The New Yorker, p. 60.)
Holotropic Breathwork is typically experienced in groups and always under the guidance of trained facilitators. While no two experiences are identical, breathwork opens the door for an "inner healer" to bring forth memories, images, emotions, body movements, vocal expressions, and countless other forms of release for processing what may be stored in our bodies and needing release for us to "move toward wholeness." Many people find access to wisdom and healing from the deepest layers of the unconscious and from transpersonal realms beyond the individual self. Facilitators are available to assist in "energy release work" and to help breathers move ever more deeply into their process.
Holotropic Breathwork is typically experienced in two sessions, one as "breather" and one as "sitter." The sitter offers compassionate witnessing to the breather's process and practical help such as providing tissues, blankets, or other assistance as requested. Usually, breather and sitters are paired at a gathering without previously knowing each other and often form deep and lasting connection.
In Moving through Grief, Reconnecting with Nature, I describe the importance of Holotropic Breathwork in helping me remember my place in the natural world and find the life I wanted to lead. Many people report a sense of deep and lasting transformation from experiences in breathwork.
After experiencing Holotropic Breathwork, Father Amirtharaj Arockiyam, a Salacian priest teaching at the Don Bosco Theological Centre in Panpakkam, India, remarked: “This is a deeply spiritual practice, leading us beyond the level of dogmas and doctrines of organized religions; as such it could transform the world.”
I have had the honor of working with Holotropic Breathwork experiencers in India, China, the United Kingdom, Canada and various parts of the United States. The work has been a powerful part of my life journey since 1995. I began attending Grof certification training modules in 2009 and was certified as a Holotropic Breathwork facilitator in 2015.
Please check my Events page for information about Holotropic Breathwork workshops. Along with colleagues, I am available for facilitating Holotropic Breathwork experiences in your community, organization, church or other group.