What is Holotropic Breathwork?

“Holotropic Breathwork is an experience approach to self-exploration and therapy.” – Stan Grof

Coined by founder and psychiatrist Stanislav Grof, holotropic comes from the ancient Greek words (holo + tropé) meaning ‘whole’ and ‘movement towards,’ indicating that Holotropic is all about moving towards wholeness. Psychotherapist and breathwork facilitator Andrea Anstiss explains more about this trending protocol:

Initially, Stan Grof and his partner Christina Grof began their research by experimenting with the ways in which they could achieve altered states of consciousness through the usage of LSD. After LSD’s prohibition, they discovered that these states of consciousness could be achieved without the use of any hallucinogens.

Stan Grof explains that “Holotropic breathwork utilises incredibly simple measures to realise different domains of our being. From deeper and fuller breathing, powerful and evocative music, to wise and safe spaces.” During this process, connecting to one’s inner healer is key and “leads the participants to a state of expanded self-awareness.” Watch Stan Grof say more about this:

What are the benefits of Holotropic Breathwork?

In line with the increasingly popular zeitgeist of today, many Transpersonal therapists believe that to induce non-ordinary states of consciousness without the use of drugs is seminal to those who are yearning to better understand the ways in which we conduct emotional enquiry.

“Holotropic breathwork shatters illusions, smashes glass ceilings, takes you beyond yourself and yet deeper into yourself.” Andrea Anstiss, Holotropic Breathwork Facilitator

“Through meeting your inner healer, using connected breathing, opening to a spectacular soundscape and receiving the support of experienced facilitators in a safe space, you are able to enter deeply into your inner process, heal, and transform,” she says.

The breathwork opens up four main domains that participants experience in distinctive ways. It is important to note that these stages are not usually experienced linearly, but often overlap, intersect, or interconnect.

The first domain is the Sensory/Somatic Realm

Participants may experience intense feelings that emerge as impulses or movements in their body while lying on the ground. If your body needs to move, then it is encouraged to move. However, it is not uncommon for some participants to have still experiences. Whether there is movement or stillness, the journey ahead remains remarkable.

The next domain is the Biographical Realm

This involves the re-experiencing of past events that may or may not have been traumatic. This realm delves deep into experiences participants could have suppressed in the interim from their birth to their current present. With Holotropic Breathwork, these events or experiences have a chance at being released and resolved. (For tips on how to deal with sadness in a meaningful way, click here.)

The third domain is the Perinatal Realm

Experiences and memories from conception until the moment the umbilical cord is cut may surface.

The fourth domain is the Transpersonal Realm

Participants may have experiences that take them beyond their skin encapsulated ego. Some may find themselves talking with angels and deities from one’s particular culture and religion. One may even find themselves talking with ancestors. There are many astounding transpersonal experiences that people have chronicled, and some say, according to Andrea Anstiss, that people have mentioned it being the only real spiritual experience they have encountered. (For more information on dealing with trauma through Transpersonal Psychology, click here.)

Interested in attending a Holotropic Breathwork workshop?

Andrea Anstiss is giving a talk on June 26 in Dubai to better prepare those who wish to participate in the Holotropic Breathwork workshop happening on  June 28 from 9am to 8pm.

Please visit her website for more info: http://www.andreaanstiss.com/

Andrea is also available for private sessions.

Feel free to contact her via email or mobile number: