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Table of Contents
- Holotropic Breathwork
- Integrative Breathwork
- Radiance Breathwork
Holotropic and Integrative Breathwork are a merging of Shamanic journeying and other
time-honored techniques of obtaining nonordinary states with a form of deep
inner feeling psychology. There is anthropological evidence that the overwhelming
majority of cultures have had some form of ritual to induce nonordinary states
of consciousness. Radiance breathwork has similar aspects, but there appears to have
slightly more emphasis placed on the deep inner feeling work. Vivation also has
some aspects of nonordinary states, but a great emphasis is placed on deep inner
feeling work and integrating those feelings.
Breathwork is about reconnecting, embracing and integrating all aspects of
ourselves. This includes unresolved and feelings (pleasant and unpleasant)
surrounding events (recent, biographical/childhood events, birth process events,
past lives, etc.) which we have kept buried in our subconscious minds and which
can have significant impact on our psychological and physical health. Such a
process, while difficult at times, can be tremendously healing.
Use of the breath and a sincere willingness to feel whatever comes up
are the keys to accessing these unresolved issues. The process involves
using the breath and sometimes other techniques as a way to get beyond our
ego and defenses and locate issues in the subconscious mind (and often
reflected in the body as tightness or energy blockages) that need to be
felt, embraced and integrated. There is no need to direct the mind to
specific events as the breath will take the person where is needed.
Once an unresolved issue is brought to the surface, it is felt and experienced
deeply and then embraced and integrated into our beings. This causes a permanent
change in the energy surrounding this issues. Depending upon the type of
breathwork used and the issues which are accessed, there may be anywhere
from alot of emotional expression to none.
Using the breathwork process over time, one goes deeper and deeper into the inner
journey, reconnecting with and integrating aspects that have been unresolved. This
results in a significant healing of the body, mind and spirit which is very deep
The breath is also a key element which can be used to get in touch with our spirit
and creativity so that we can reconnect with aspects of ourselves that give meaning
and enjoyment to our lives. This too is one of the goals of the breathwork process.
Pursuing the process of healing and transformation using the breathwork techniques
can be an enormously rewarding process. However, it must be said that it can be
difficult at times, joyous at times, frustrating, invigorating -- just what one
might expect from a deep inner adventure!
The breathwork process is not a panacea for all ills. It is not a substitute for
other fundamental holistic healing techniques. Nor is it a substitute for treatment
from a qualified holistic healthcare professional. But it can be a very powerful
and useful technique for healing the body, mind and spirit.
I have found that there are three additional things which have helped me
considerably in between the breathwork sessions:
I didn't use all of these things when I started the breathwork and do not
think that they are prerequisites to doing the breathwork, but I have
since found the activities helpful to me in between the breathwork
- Activities which help me keep in touch with my body and stay grounded so
that I am not stuck in my mind all of the time. For me this included hiking,
racketball (and other sports), Bioenergetics (body-centered therapy),
and yoga. There are many activities that would be helpful for staying
grounded and in touch with one's body. Some of these include: dance, tai chi,
walking, swimming, martial arts, etc.
- Regular social activities.
- Meditation or other inner peace or spiritual practices.
- Health Conditions can have a significant effect on
whether or when it would be beneficial to use breathwork. For example,
a person with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (and possibly others) may need
some preliminary activities before they are ready to get significant benefit
from breathwork. Please read the first
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome case history & analysis for an excellent
example as to preliminary holistic healing techniques which may be needed.
- Addictions such an eating disorders (food addiction, anorexia,
bulemia), alcohol addiction, drug addiction, gambling addiction, etc. are sometimes
considered psychological or spiritual emergencies. I believe that the eventual use
of breathwork techniques can be very helpful in addressing some of the core issues that
contributed to the development of these conditions. However, I have found that it can
be much better to first stabalize and begin to heal the situation
using one or more of the following techniques:
- Regular supportive counselling/psychotherapy.
- Twelve-Step program (e.g., actually working of the steps in a concentrated way).
- Seeking out supportive atmospheres and living situations to the extent possible.
- Healthy Nutrition
- Body-oriented practices (e.g., Bioenergetics, yoga, tai chi)
- Meditation (part of the 11th step in the Twelve-Step program)
- Psychological Conditions such as depression, anxiety attacks,
etc. may be helped significantly (over time) using these breathwork techniques. I
believe that it is very important to have a supportive environment and/or regular
visits to a psychotherapist during the breathwork process to help work with issues
that can come up as one gets more in touch with both the pleasant and unpleased
feelings that may have been suppressed. In some cases, breathwork may be
contraindicated. In other cases, it may be prudent to use other holistic healing
techniques and other inner healing techniques (e.g., meditation) initially before
exploring breathwork. Please talk openly with the breathwork facilitator and your
healthcare practitioner about the situation.
- Physical Illnesses Including Chronic Pain can effect the
breathwork session. Some facilitators are trained and/or experienced in working
with people who have quite a variety of physical illnesses or chronic pain. Please
discuss these issues with the breathwork facilitator.
Spiritual Emergence Network
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Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Membership includes newsletter.
- Books & Magazines
Common Boundary Magazine
5272 River Road, Suite 650
Bethesda, MD 20816
Subscription Inquires: Common Boundary, P.O. Box 445, Mt. Morris, IL 61054,
"Exploring Psychology, Spirituality, and Creativity"
Personal Transformation Magazine
Lotus Publishing, Inc.
4032 South Lamar Blvd., #500-137
Austin, Texas 78704
"Deeply felt transformation often requires an inward journey of heroic
proportions. The journey requires that we free body, mind, and heart from
the past, connect with our deepest essence, and fill our consciousness
with truth, love, and wisdom. Personal Transformation is dedicated to
supporting your inner journey."
The Stormy Search for the Self: A Guide to Personal Growth
Through Transformational Crisis
by Christina Grof and Stanislav Grof, M.D.
Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam Books, c1990