Holitropic Breathwork

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Breathwork has been utilized through the ages by Indigenous cultures around the world, to activate shifts in one’s mental state; for some to tap even deeper into spiritual realms. 


Holitropic Breathwork is a specific type of breath work developed by Doctor Stanislav & Christina Grof. Holitropic. Holotropic, derived from the Greek language holos: whole and trepein: to move toward. In essence, the meaning sums up the technique: moving towards wholeness. 


Breathwork was developed as a treatment for individuals seeking to release trauma and move towards wellness, using only breathing.


Most often Breathwork is led by a professional holotropic breathwork facilitator in group sessions of about 2-3 hours long.


My first session with “breathwork” was during one of the Four Worlds Gatherings in Lethbridge in 1992 when I was 17 years old. The session was held in a group setting, fortunately, I attended with others whom I was very close with, which helped me to feel safe and supported. I would recommend anyone who has experienced abuse or trauma, to have a grounded support person present just to hold energy for you as intense emotions are sure to arise. Generally people are paired, as one is doing the accelerated breathing technique the other sits, to hold space for the other. Personally, I was happy to do this with a familiar safe person and not be paired with a random stranger.


The primary purpose for us trying this technique was to release emotional wounds. What the breathing does is alter your conscious state, allowing your sub-subconscious to bring forward memories, feelings, or beliefs that need to be released. There are energies, residual from traumas inside us that are stuck, and need active healing to be released. This method certainly is effective for bringing issues and energies to the surface for release.


  • non-verbal

  • simple

  • supportive

  • non-intrusive

  • possible to release a lot in a small amount of time

  • afterwards a feeling of calm, or even euphoria


  • like many healing modalities it can bring up fear and resistance

  • can be quite intense emotionally, spiritually, physically

  • resisting the process can be painful


For more insight into this healing method, please click on the arrow below which will lead you to a 3 minute YouTube video featuring Dr Stan Grof. Exploring the ancient origins of this technique.


Additional references on the topic of Holiotropic Breathwork will be found by clicking the arrow below, leading you to Grof Transpersonal Training Website.