Holotropic breathwork (taught and practiced as Grof® Breathwork in our programs) is an intensive experiential method that works with holotropic states of consciousness and combines old spiritual knowledge and the results of modern consciousness research and psychotherapy ("holotropic" means: moving towards wholeness).
For many thousands of years, shamans, yogis, healers and mystics of different traditions have used altered states of consciousness all over the world to obtain healing, to investigate the nature of existence and to connect with the spiritual dimensions of existence.
Originally through his psychedelic research, the Czech-American psychiatrist Dr. Stanislav Grof discovered that people in holotropic states of consciousness have experiences that go far beyond the biographical model of the psyche and resemble the experiences of death and rebirth (perinatal level) and the experience of the archetypal and transpersonal spiritual level of the ancient mystics.
Together with his late wife Christina, he developed holotropic breathwork at the Esalen Institute in California in the 1970s, a method of changing consciousness by deep breathing, music, using a special kind of bodywork, followed by mandala drawing and discussions in the group. Changes in breathing patterns and spiritual music such as drums or ritual chants have always been used to create trance states and for healing purposes. In the holotropic state of consciousness, the inner healing potential of the human being is activated, unprocessed traumas come into consciousness and can be processed, and deep insights into the nature of existence become possible. The process of transformation has its own inner wisdom and encompasses all levels of the psyche, including those from birth and death (perinatal level) and the transpersonal level.
Holotropic breathwork allows all of these experiences to emerge and to be processed and integrated. This often results in a healing of long-standing symptoms and in a profound change of worldview and lifestyle, more inner peace and a greater loving connection with oneself, others, and the spiritual dimension of existence.