When I was 17 years old, I bought an alternative magazine that talked about Holotropic Breathwork™. As a teenager who was interested in adventure as well as life-improving techniques, I found this to be a fascinating subject. After reading a few pages, I decided to have the experience for myself. About one year later, I saw a flyer offering this technique as a weekend-long retreat. I signed up for the retreat and kept it private from my parents because I knew they probably would not approve it.
Retreat at Kripalu
The retreat met my expectations, and I was ready for my next journey of self-discovery. Ultimately, I was on a spiritual path. I have since attended many other breath works. My most recent retreat happened at the Kripalu center in western Massachusetts, five years ago. It was led by Stanislav Grof, the founder of the technique itself. The event had about a hundred of participants and probably 10 facilitators helping. There was a great powerful energy there for the whole weekend, and I was delighted to meet Grof in person. He is in his eighties now, yet he is extremely bright in mind and spirit. Many people are currently trained and certified as facilitators, therefore this technique is available to many people around the world.
In Kripalu, I met at least 10 facilitators. One of the facilitators, Allen Howell, is collaborating with me to bring this technique to Cape Ann. We are organizing an event called Breathwork at Floating Lotus in Gloucester on Saturday evening, June 4th, at 6pm. I am really excited to be a part of this powerful technique. Allen Howell is going to facilitate 20 participants for 2-1/2 hours of breath work. This will be a mini version of the full Holotropic Breathwork™. In the future, we plan to host the full version as a full-day or weekend retreat.
Holotropic Breathwork™ is a combination of rapid breathing and music to access the subconscious mind. It guides people through self-exploration; healing old traumas and wounds. The name translates as “moving towards wholeness”, and belongs in the field of ‘Transpersonal Psychology’.
Transpersonal psychology focuses on the human psyche and its transcendental attribute. With the opportunity for psychological transcendence, we have a chance to create deep healing on the soul level. From here, we can heal life-long traumas originating in this life, our prenatal life or even a past life. The founder, Stanislav Grof, describes the experience as a way to access a ‘non-ordinary’ state of consciousness.
“Holotropic Breathwork™ is a new therapeutic technique that enables therapists to induce non-ordinary states of consciousness. These states are similar to those observed in deep meditation, in rituals of various cultures and in other forms of spiritual practice as well as sessions with psychedelic substances. Non-ordinary states of consciousness are effective in helping people gain insight to the sources of their emotional problems and help facilitate rapid healing.”
(quoted from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVILRQ4gHBk)
More about Stanislav Grof
Stanislav Grof, MD, PhD, is a psychiatrist with almost 50 years of experience in the research of non-ordinary states of consciousness. He has held several notable positions in support of psychiatric research:
- Principal investigator in a psychedelic research program at the Psychiatric Research Institute in Prague, Czechoslovakia
- Chief of psychiatric research at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center
- Assistant professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland
- Scholar-in-residence at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California.
It was at Esalen that Stanislav and his wife co-developed the Holotropic Breathwork™ technique.
“Currently, Stanislav Grof is the professor of psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies and the Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, California. He conducts professional training programs in Holotropic Breathwork and transpersonal psychology, and gives lectures and seminars worldwide. Stanislav Grof is one of the founders and chief theoreticians of transpersonal psychology and the founding president of the International Transpersonal Association.”
(quoted from the youtube video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWJC8ZizI0I)
Holotropic Breathwork™ at Floating Lotus
In conclusion, Holotropic Breathwork™ is a powerful way to heal past traumas, and I would recommend it to anyone seeking non-traditional healing. If you are interested in this event, please register using the link below. The space is limited to 20 participants only.