11th Feb Venue: Zorba The Buddha, MG Road.
Holotropic breathwork has been the most effective healing modality I have ever used, bringing about some long-lasting changes in my life. It has helped me transition from a condition of perpetual inner emptiness to one of fulfilment and equilibrium. I went to the first holotropic breath work module only for the experience, not to learn about it as a discipline. I was shocked by the technique's outcome because it addressed the same issue that I was finding challenging to resolve with other methods. the capacity to turn off or bypass the conscious mind in order to give the subconscious control. This made it easier for me to let the deep healing happen.
Holotropic breathwork (HB), is a practice that involves controlling and quickening breathing patterns to influence your mental, emotional, and physical states.This unconventional New Age practice was developed by psychiatrists Stanislav and Christina Grof in the 1970s to achieve altered states of consciousness (without using drugs) as a potential therapeutic tool.This approach is used as a spiritual exercise rather than a therapeutic one by practitioners in various nations. Some people engage in this fashion not so much to conquer or manage a mental health illness, but to broaden their understanding..
Holotropic breathing proponents often suggest that practicing this method improves one's consciousness to a higher plane.
Put differently, it has the potential to transport you to a different state, which may appeal to those who feel stuck and unable to go forward in other ways. This sense of awakening can frequently be attained through catharsis.
History of Holotropic Breathwork
Holotropic breathing has its beginnings in the late 1960s when psychiatrist Stanislav Grof began to explore means of entering a non-ordinary state of consciousness. His goal was to facilitate self-discovery among patients dealing with mental illness or substance addiction.
The cofounder of Grof transpersonal psychology, Grof supported the use of psychedelic substances, such as LSD, as part of psychotherapy, but he began exploring breathing patterns after the drug became illicit. With his wife, Christine Grof, he found patients could enter a state of altered consciousness through rapid, deep breathing.
The Grofs called their technique holotropic breathing, deriving from the Greek words hólos (whole) and trépein (to move in a direction towards something). The Grofs’ experiments suggested their breathing practices could increase self awareness and bring patients into closer contact with themselves and the world around them. They also used holotropic breathing to assist in treating a wide range of disorders, from trauma and depression to chronic pain and asthma.
What Does Holotropic Breathwork Do?
The practice of holotropic breathwork involves using a controlled breathing process to access altered states of consciousness.3 The purpose is to obtain enlightenment of some kind. From the Greek words, "holos" (whole) and "trepein" (to move toward), the word "holotropic" translates to "moving toward wholeness."
The primary principle of this technique is that healing comes from within the person practicing the breathwork.1 This premise is also intended to help the participant come away feeling personally empowered
However, the belief is that trauma will only come forward during a session if it is necessary for healing; and that this won't be known at the outset of the session.2 Rather, each person's experience with holotropic breathwork is unique, self-directed, and unfolds on its own as the practice progresses.
During breathwork, participants breathe rapidly and evenly to induce an altered state from which it is believed that a deeper understanding of oneself can be derived. Some describe this experience as a more intense form of meditation.
HB ignites your inner healer
The underlying concept of holotropic breathwork is that each person has an inner healer that can determine the most important experience at a given moment, but we cannot be aware of this experience until it happens.
From this perspective, the facilitator does not need to tell those who are practicing what to focus on. Instead, participants are instructed to figure out what emerges for them as they do the work. Which means its anot a guided breathwork.
People often experience an intense, "therapeutic" crisis that helps flush away negative energies and leads them to a healing place of greater understanding. This will always be specific to the person at that particular time in their life. Eg you want to work on your father trauma but your inner healer has other plans for yoiur healing, thyus it can bring up an old wound of your birth trauma that could bring about bigger shifts and transformation in your life. Thus one iis suggested to participate with openess and willingness to surrender
Holotropic breathwork is most often practiced in a group setting lead by a trained facilitator. It may also be offered in individual sessions or as part of a retreat.
Paired as Sitter and breather
People are paired off in a group setting. There is one "breather" and one "sitter."
Sitters hold space
The sitter only helps the breather if needed. The breather is the person actively practicing and experiencing HB. The sitter ensures that the breather is safe and supported during the session.
A facilitator guides the session
Direction is given to increase the speed and rhythm of the breather's breathing. The breather is told to breathe faster and deeper while keeping their eyes closed. While the speed of breathing increases, attention is paid to keep breathing even, which helps practitioners avoid complications from hyperventilating.
A session might last from 2 to 3 hours in total.and its done 2 parts on the same day. Where Half of the group sits and the other half breathes.
The breather will lie on a mat for the duration of a session.
Laying down grounds the breather and gives them the ability to move freely, in whatever pose their breath takes them.
Repetitive music is played.
The rhythmic music encourages the breather to enter an altered state of consciousness (similar to having a vivid dream). The music starts off with drumming, and eventually reaches a peak and switches to "heart music." From there it eventually changes to meditative music.
The session is open-ended.
This means that each person is able to derive their own meaning and attain self-discovery in whatever form that means for them. In addition to moving in any way that they want, breathers are encouraged to make any sounds that feel right to them.
Afterward, participants draw mandalas about their experience and discuss what happened.
This could be the re-experiencing of past traumas feelings of joy, or the development of spiritual awareness. Essentially, the goal is for holotropic breathing to be a catalyst for bringing to the surface the most important issues a person needs to address.
Breathers and sitters swap roles for part two of the sessions.
There is not a specific guideline or expectation of what must occur or what issues are explored during a session.
Participants are free to work on whatever comes up for them as they enter the altered state.
What Holotropic Breathing Feels Like
A common question is what does it feel like to participate in holotropic breathwork? It might seem scary to breathe in this way, and you might worry about the effects that you will experience.
Rapid breathing can feel overwhelming or unsettling but practitioners are always welcome to back off if the sensations feel like too much. However, breathers are encouraged to (safely) push through if they are able as it is thought that this is the pathway to the enlightenment the practice seeks to reveal.
Rather than calling it an altered state of conciousness some prefer to refer to this as a "non-ordinary state of consciousness" to reflect that it does not necessarily have the negative connotations of altered states.1 In general, the concept of having a dream might be a more useful metaphor.
Holotropic breathwork is an experience that is supposed to bring the person into a deeper dimension of the present moment and to see things in a more colorful, insightful way than reality might appear otherwise.
Benefits of the Breathwork
The therapeutic benefits of holotropic breathing for psychiatric conditions such as depression and anxiety is lacking. However, there is some evidence to suggest that it might be helpful for relaxation, stress relief, personal growth, or Self awareness.
Spending time in a trusting environment, focusing on deeper life concerns, learning how to support other people, trusting in your ability to heal yourself, and developing compassion are all potential benefits.
Who Should Avoid Holotropic Breathwork
This technique can evoke intense physical and emotional changes. Therefore, there is a list of specific criteria that exists to advise against participation. For anyone considering trying holotropic breathing, it is a good idea to discuss possible risks with your healthcare provider before embarking on this alternative practice, especially if you have any of the following conditions:4
Heart attacks, high blood pressure, and angina
Glaucoma or retinal detachment
Recent injury or surgery
Any condition that requires you to take medication
Severe mental illness
Aneurysms (or family history)
You are pregnant or are breastfeeding
Can you do holotropic breathing by yourself?
There are safety concerns with practicing it on your own, including dizziness, fainting, hyperventilation, and psychological distress. Because holotropic breathing can be intense, it is recommended to only practice it with a trained expert while in the presense of others. If you are unable to work with a trained facilitator, an online course and other resources can help you do some breathwork to get an idea of what it is like.
Is breathwork just hyperventilating?
The intended breathing pattern is designed to be even so that the participant avoids hyperventilating. However, some attribute the physical feelings of the experience to a person's carbon dioxide (CO2)-oxygen (O2) balance getting out of whack, which is what happens with hyperventilation.The act of hyperventilation (breathing out too much CO2, which causes respiratory alkalosis or alkalinizing of the blood) may lead to an altered state of consciousness as well as the physical sensations of tingling of the fingers and mouth, lightheadedness, and dizziness.
Venue: Zorba the Budhha Mg Road
To be annunced soon