This page addresses how to do Holotropic Breathwork and how to maximize results from participating in a Holotropic Breathwork workshop. For a schedule of upcoming Holotropic Breathwork Workshops in Los Angeles, Click Here.
Dr. Stanislav (Stan) Grof created the structure of Holotropic Breathwork Workshops (the word “Holotropic” is from the Greek ὅλος holos “whole” and τρέπειν trepein “to turn or direct towards a thing”; meaning “moving toward wholeness”) through a multi-year process of exploration with hundreds of people, using principles based on insights from both modern consciousness research and historical
spiritual practices. He brought together elements that include “holotropic” style breathing (see below), creative self-expression, group processing and a specially designed three hour musical journey to create a transformational personalized healing breathwork experience
In a Holotropic Breathwork Workshop, while there is music playing, a support structure, a safe secure setting, a specific type of bodywork and a group dynamic that supports the process, the breath itself is what anchors and defines each participant’s individual journey. The Holotropic breathing creates changes in both the psyche and the body that work together to help create the Holotropic Breathwork workshop experience. The Holotropic breathing technique involves breathing in a manner that includes the following elements:
Holotropic Breathing Technique Used In Holotropic Breathwork Workshops –
There is not a “proper” way to do holotropic breathing other than the instruction to “breathe deeper and faster than normal” so this is not a “guided” breathwork experience except in a very general sense. The important thing is to move more air thorough your system than you normally do. After 15 or 20 minutes, your body will normally find its own rhythm and you will generally no longer have to think about it. However, for people who want additional guidance, prior participants have found the following suggestions helpful when they start the holotropic breathing session.
1) Full deep breaths – make each breath full and deep, breathing into the “bottom” of your lungs so that when you breathe in, your belly should move out a bit.
2) Continuous, “circular” breathing – the breathing should be done in such a way where there is no gaps in the breath..i.e. you should not be holding your breath at any point. When your lungs are almost full, you want to turn the breath around and start exhaling. When your lungs are empty, you want to immediately turn the breath around and start inhaling. This creates a breath pattern whereby you are always breathing in or breathing out, creating a circle of breath.
3) Faster than normal – You also want to breathe a bit faster than you normally would. However, you do not want to breathe so fast that you create tension in your body…your body, and especially your lungs, should be relaxed, without straining, so that the breath can be maintained for a long period of time without tiring yourself out.
4) Mouth vs Nose Breathing – It is easier to move air quickly through the mouth and mouth breathing tends to be more supportive of emotional release so most people find that breathing in and out through the mouth supports their process better than nose breathing. However, some people find that mouth breathing is uncomfortable for them in which case nose breathing is fine also.
But, again, after 15 or 20 minutes, everyone’s body will generally find their own rhythm and way of breathing. There are as many breathing styles as there are breathers.
NOTE: HOLOTROPIC BREATHWORK IS A TECHNIQUE THAT CAN EVOKE POWERFUL RELEASE OF SUPPRESSED TRAUMA AND SHOULD ONLY BE DONE UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF A GROF CERTIFIED HOLOTROPIC BREATHWORK FACILITATOR