The Inner Healer and Holotropic Breathwork
Among the thousands of healing stories we have heard from seekers who have experienced Holotropic Breathwork, one particular fruit of this deep inner work is regularly reported: the sense of authentic personal empowerment these people receive as they embrace the mystery of the journey toward wholeness — not outward, but inward, within themselves. Seekers consistently relate that every aspect of healing they have encountered in their holotropic journey has been generated not due to some external person, group, or technique but from the mystery at the core of their deepest selves. They share that whatever this mystery ultimately is, the experience is the true heart of the holotropic practice. We often call this profound power within by a most humble name: the inner healer.
Holotropic Breathwork is a dynamic method of self-exploration that uses the power of deep breathing to access what many teachers call nonordinary, or expanded, states of consciousness. It is a child of psychedelic research conducted by Stanislav Grof and his colleagues and birthed by Stan and his wife Christina in the mid-seventies at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California. Holotropic Breathwork accesses the same deep dimensions of the psyche that have been reported by psychedelic researchers and teachers from many of the world’s psychospiritual traditions.
The following description of the components of Holotropic Breathwork is a brief overview of the practice. It is not a how-to, because this work requires a certified facilitator or experienced sitter and cannot be done on one’s own. However, the ideas and underpinnings of this work (especially the notion that healing comes from within) can, with practice, be used at any moment and in any situation in our lives.