What is Holotropic Breathwork™?
My husband, Jeffrey, and I first started taking workshops in Holotropic Breathwork™ in 2013. We quickly noticed rapid transformation in our lives, which included releasing emotional blocks and unproductive behavior patterns, gaining greater confidence and ease, and expanding our capacity for love and forgiveness.
Holotropic Breathwork is a term coined by Dr. Stan Grof to describe a process he created that assists us in moving towards our true nature, or wholeness.
Co-created by Stan Grof, M.D, Ph.D. and Christina Grof, Holotropic Breathwork, is a powerful way to access the innate healing power available on the deeper levels of our psyche. In the process of this breathwork, participants create a transformational healing experience for themselves. “Tropic” means the characteristic of turning toward; for example, heliotropic plants turn toward the sun. Holotropic organisms, such as humans, turn towards wholeness.
Dr Grof is a psychiatrist with over sixty years of research into into deep healing modalities. Dr. Grof’s primary subject of research in his early years was investigating the therapeutic potential of LSD and other psychedelic substances. During the 1960s and 1970s, Dr Grof was one of the key researchers at the Spring Grove Clinic at the University of Maryland working with LSD therapy. The goal of his research was to find out if patients could reverse mental illness after experiencing non-ordinary states of awareness under hospital supervision.
But, by the middle of the 1970's LSD research was shut down. Grof, having seen the value of expanded states of consciousness for producing transformation and greater stability in “ordinary” waking state consciousness, began researching other means of creating expanded or holotropic states of awareness. Out of this search, he developed Holotropic Breathwork.
Grof found ample evidence that in our everyday state of consciousness we identify with only a small fraction of who we really are. In holotropic states, we can transcend the narrow boundaries of the body and ego and reclaim our full identity.
Although Holotropic Breathwork does not generally create the strong visual hallucinations often associated with entheogens, such as LSD, it does assist in opening participants to non-ordinary states of awareness where what Grof refers to as the “inner healer” is accessed. Once accessed, our innate, inner healer naturally unfolds the next step in our personal evolution.
Experiences during Holotropic Breathwork can range from release of energetic blocks in the body, reliving and releasing of psychological issues from childhood, transpersonal experiences (“the sense of identity or self extends beyond (trans) the individual or personal to encompass wider aspects of humankind, life, psyche, or cosmos.” Wikipedia), and satori-like states of union with the universe. Despite a range of individual experience during the breathing, most participants report a substantial increase in sensing their soul essence in their everyday lives.
Through a series of Holotropic Breathwork sessions, obstructions are released and our soul essence comes to the forefront. In this process, we naturally find ourselves moving into greater wholeness, freedom, and self-love. This expands into improved quality of life on all levels. Breathwork sessions are offered either through either individual or group. In the case of group sessions in addition to having a high ratio of trained facilitators to breathers, each participant, while doing the breathwork, is assisted by another participant who is not breathing and simply there to assist in case the breather has a need. This level of individual care create a setting of safety in which each breather can relax deeply into her process.
The Academy of the Love of Learning based in Santa Fe, NM states, "Holotropic Breathwork offers a way to experience one’s self through perspectives that are uncommon in our everyday awareness. It invites discovery and exploration of our internal territory in a way that is new, fresh, and inviting of new insight, awareness, and possibility."
In 2014, Jeffrey and I enrolled in Grof Transpersonal Training in order to certify as Holotropic Breathwork facilitators. We spent two and a half years in training, which included 14 weeks of in-residence training. In July 2017, we completed our training and can now facilitate individual and group Holotropic Breathwork sessions. Please contact us if you’d like to learn more.