One of the pioneers of psychedelic psychotherapy, Stanislav Grof, M.D., began his exploration into the therapeutic potential of LSD and other psychedelic substances in 1960. His research confirmed that under highly controlled conditions, many subjects entered a non-ordinary state of consciousness, which was exactly the same as those described in the ancient mystical traditions of Eastern philosophies and Western religions. Dr. Grof discovered that these non-ordinary states of consciousness can lead to deep transpersonal transformation and spontaneous healing.

After clinical use of LSD was outlawed in the United States, Dr. Grof and his wife, Cristina, developed Holotropic Breathwork, a safe and effective way of using one’s own breath to induce the same non-ordinary states without the use of psychedelic substances.

Holotropic Breathwork is conducted in a group setting. The Grofs describe this very simple process as a combination of “deep accelerated breathing with evocative music in a structured set and setting. With the eyes closed and lying on a mat, each person uses their own breath and the music in the room to enter a non-ordinary state of consciousness. This state activates the natural inner healing process of the individual’s psyche, bringing the participant a particular set of internal experiences. With the inner healing intelligence guiding the process, the quality and content brought forth is unique to each person and for that particular time and place. While recurring themes are common, no two sessions are ever alike.”

During the actual breathwork, which lasts approximately two hours, the breather may have transpersonal peak experiences, also known as transcendental, mystical or spiritual experiences. These peak experiences may include:

  • Deep feelings of joy and serenity
  • Emotionally intense visions
  • Awareness of becoming a non-physical being
  • Feeling that one has left one’s body; i.e., out-of-body experience
  • Feelings of ego dissolution and loss of identity
  • Re-experiencing the birth process
  • Vivid dreams and memories of past incarnations
  • Encounters with archetypal beings
  • Visits to mythological realms of consciousness
  • Experience of psychological ego death and rebirth
  • Feelings of cosmic unity with humanity, nature, the universe and God

Holotropic Breathwork is a natural and highly effective method of experiencing profound transformation, supporting the transition to a healthy, wholesome lifestyle that contributes to wellness and longevity.