Short description Exploring Holotropic Breathwork™, edited by Kylea Taylor, collects 144 field reports from a widespread practice of contemporary, non-drug, altered-state work. These articles were first published from 1991-2002 by 85 authors, trained in Holotropic Breathwork by Stanislav Grof, M.D. Originally written to share their professional experiences and emerging theories with their peers, this is a rich source of information, not only giving information about the practice of Breathwork and anecdotes of psychological and physical healing in deep states of consciousness, but also discussing traditional therapy, Kundalini, shamanism, addiction and trauma recovery, astrology, and the integration of Breathwork with many other theoretical and practical systems and with ordinary life in general. The book happily includes a previously unpublished, 21-page article by Stanislav Grof, "Physical Manifestations of Emotional Disorders" in which he concludes that faster breathing creates a biochemical situation in the body that facilitates emergence and resolution of old emotional and physical tensions associated with unresolved psychological and physical traumas. A 16-page Index and an 18-page annotated Table of Contents facilitate using this book as a reference. Detailed description Kylea Taylor talks about Exploring Holotropic Breathwork "Preface" to Exploring Holotropic Breathwork At the time of this publication tens (perhaps hundreds) of thousands of people have experienced life-changing experiences in the context of Holotropic Breathwork™. Since 1988, 827 people from 36 different countries of the world have completed the Grof Transpersonal Training's extensive, structured, experiential training and are certified to Facilitate Holotropic Breathwork. A significant percentage of certified practitioners are now Facilitating regular group or individual sessions of Holotropic Breathwork. Holotropic Breathwork is a powerful process for inner exploration, which was wisely designed for simplicity and safety by Christina and Stanislav Grof, M.D. The technique's format and the trained skills of its Facilitators support participants' willingness to explore unknown parts of the psyche. The technique and trained Facilitation together provide participants security enough to experience both internal and external freedom of expression. In this atmosphere of trust conjoined with permission, a participant often experiences reconnection to parts of self, others, and spirit in a way that is healing, enlivening, and expansive to sense of self and relationship. Martin Boroson writes eloquently about this in his article, "Radar to the Infinite" (page 29), which serves in this volume as a fine introduction to Holotropic Breathwork. During this decade and a half (since 1988), practitioners trained by Stanislav and Christina Grof were returning to their far flung communities around the globe and beginning to provide Holotropic Breathwork workshops to local participants. Facilitators originally wrote many of the articles that are included in this book for the newsletter, The Inner Door.(1) They wrote in the spirit of sharing their thoughts about and their experiences of the practice of Holotropic Breathwork. In this way, the accumulating professional experience was disseminated to the growing, worldwide Holotropic Breathwork community. Practitioners who were geographically isolated (and most were) felt connected to their professional peers through reading The Inner Door. Exploring Holotropic Breathwork collects this body of literature so that those who are interested in the theory, practice, and history of Holotropic Breathwork, and in non-ordinary states in general, now can have easy access to it. A few of the articles have been updated at the request of their authors, but most remain substantially in their original form. In assembling these articles and working with them during one concentrated period of time, I was impressed anew by the range of subjects covered in the articles and also by their authors' diverse and knowledgeable backgrounds. The broad ranges of both are congruent with the vast scope of the Grof cartography of the psyche and with the wide spectrum of possible experiences that can occur in Holotropic Breathwork. For the most part, these articles are written by people whose "day job" is not the practice of Holotropic Breathwork. The biographies of the authors in this book are notable for the breadth and depth of their experience and service in the world. Eighty-five different authors have contributed a total of 144 articles and poems, five informed consent forms, and three research questionnaires to this book. The authors include medical doctors, psychiatrists, nurses, researchers, ecology activists, psychotherapists, philosophers, astrologers, bodywork practitioners, writers, artists, ministers, publishers, shamanic practitioners, university professors teaching in several disciplines in several countries, poets, salespersons, meditation teachers, students, specialists in recovery from chemical dependency or trauma, organizational consultants, directors of non-profit organizations, hypnotherapists, psychiatric social workers, professional and amateur musicians, an astronomer, a priest, a lawyer, a playwright, a radiologic technician, an acupuncturist, a cartographer, a stock trader, and a television producer. These authors all bring their unique educations, their own languages and cultures, their particular vocational expertise, and their life experiences to the tasks of describing their own and others' Breathwork experiences and the effects of those experiences. They aim their own lenses to view the interface between Holotropic Breathwork and other psychological models and spiritual systems. Some of the authors are trained in other breathwork schools as well, such as Integrative Breathwork, Hendricks Body-Centered Transformation, and rebirthing. The authors' native countries include: Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Russia, South Africa, and the United States. I want to thank all of these authors for their willingness to share these articles again with us and for their generous donation of the author's royalty for this book to the Association for Holotropic Breathwork International. See Table of Contents for more detail. I included in this book only articles which had appeared in The Inner Door, with one partial exception. I was delighted that Stanislav Grof offered an article on his research and observations of the physical manifestations of emotional disorders and their resolution in non-ordinary states of consciousness and the psychophysiology of hyperventilation. The article, previously unpublished in its entirety (although a section of it had been published in The Inner Door), is a wonderful addition to this book and to his other published writings. ### "Exploring Holotropic Breathwork" Annotated Table of Contents Preface 7 Table of Contents 9 --Introduction to Holotropic Breathwork-- Radar to the Infinite 29 ----Martin Boroson Boroson provides a major exposition of Holotropic Breathwork and its place as a meta-technique, one that embraces and assists many paths and processes. No Place Like Home 35 ----Martin Boroson Boroson responded to the request of the editor of The Inner Door for him to share with us one of his profound holotropic sessions. This one illustrates the main point Boroson made in the previous article in this volume, "Radar to the Infinite: Holotropic Breathwork and the Integral Vision" -- that the Holotropic model is broad enough to encompass and validate whatever material emerges from the psyche. --Holotropic Breathwork and Related Theory-- Awakening to the Power of Passion 41 ----Tav Sparks Sparks makes the point that we will never fully be able to embrace the whole of existence unless we awaken the fundamental power of passion from deep within. This article is from a book-in-progress and may make minor references to material covered in previous chapters of that work. COEX Systems and Biographical Trauma 46 ----Cary Sparks, M.A. Sparks writes one of the earliest articles addressing the confusion that both Facilitator and Breather may have in differentiating between "real" biographical experiences and "real" perinatal and transpersonal experiences. Consciousness 49 ----Lenny Gibson, Ph.D. Gibson discusses "feeling" as the fundamental reality and proposes that consciousness is a quality of feeling. The Physiology of Hyperventilation 52 ----Michael Mithoefer, M.D. Mithoefer surveys the medical literature on the effects of hyperventilation. He advocates for Holotropic Breathwork research to document the beneficial effects which have been reported anecdotally and to test for any adverse effects. Using the Model of Perinatal Matrices in Psychotherapy 59 ----Ted Riskin, L.C.S.W. Riskin describes his use of Grof's cartography in psychotherapy, particularly with depression, as a way to encourage hope and motivation. Perinatal Subdivisions 63 ----Kevin Prosnick, Ph.D., L.P.C.C. Prosnick suggests categorizing the transitions between the Grof matrices in order to correlate them more accurately with astrological transits and participant experiences. On Being Seen, Heard, and Touched 66 ----Kylea Taylor, M.S., M.F.T. Taylor writes about the value of the gift the Sitter gives to the Breather in deeply witnessing and receiving the Breather's experience. The Divine Feminine 68 ----Judy Forester Forester theorizes that when breathwork participants have a history of deficiency or omission, it is important to use systematically nourishing physical contact for healing and corrective experience. "Nothing Happened" 71 ----Melody Sullivan Sullivan explores the possible explanations and ultimate mystery in the phenomenon of "nothing happened" in a Breathwork session, a report made by a small percentage of Holotropic Breathwork participants. --Practicing Holotropic Breathwork-- Is Trusting the Inner Healer Enough? 79 ----Sean O'Sullivan, L.R.C.P.S.I., M.D. O'Sullivan shares a brief, but important account of a participant who reported consistently in the sharing groups that "nothing is happening during my Breathwork sessions" and discusses our commitment as facilitators to trust the process even in such a case. Projection and Holotropic Breathwork 80 ----Ted Riskin, L.C.S.W. Riskin discusses the common ways in which we distort the perception of our environment to attribute the cause of our feelings, with emphasis on the way we do that in Holotropic Breathwork. "I Breathed Them" 84 ----Kylea Taylor, M.S., M.F.T. Taylor suggests that our words communicate subtle messages about what Breathwork is and is not. Honoring Resistance 85 ----Judy Forester Forester explores the value of resistance and the importance of trusting the Inner Healer even if what the Inner Healer brings forward appears as resistance. Shame Prevents Communication 87 ----Thomas Merton Brightman Brightman shares some communication techniques that tend to induce shame and some words and phrases that can be substituted in working with participants in order to empower and support. "Mask" Memories 90 ----Ray Kelly Kelly discusses the confusion participants can feel between metaphorical experience and historical experience. "You Just Never Know" 92 ----Thomas Merton Brightman Brightman recounts the story of a woman client who had an experience of "cosmic set-up" or synchronicity between the external events of a Breathwork process and the inner material that was opening up for her. Statistics, Statistics 94 ----Sean O'Sullivan, M.D. O'Sullivan discusses with humor the question of what makes clients dissimulate about contraindications when it is in their own best interest to be honest. "My Heart is Shutting Down" 96 ----Thomas Merton Brightman Brightman tells of a woman client who had a heart attack after not revealing pertinent medical history prior to Breathwork. He discusses the metaphor of "heart problems" in this case as well as the difficulty in getting relevant medical information from prospective participants. What is Healing? 99 ----Judy Forester Forester argues in this article for broadening the scope of healing beyond relief of symptoms and discusses the need to be with suffering rather than to try to fix or eliminate it. Trust Your Body 101 ----Vinette Harrington-Terres, L.M.T. Harrington-Terres emphasizes the role of the body in helping us to know intuitively what we need to further our process in Holotropic Breathwork or in integrating material which arises in the Breathwork sessions. Which Patients Leave Holotropic Groups Prematurely? 103 ----Kevin C. Martin, Paul Grof, M.D., and Arlene Fox These authors observed that early drop-outs, in this Canadian psychiatric hospital group, tended to be less motivated, less able to identify psychological components in their own process, less introspective, sophisticated, less able to establish mature relationships, and more fearful of self-disclosure. There were more diagnoses of personality disorder in the drop-out group. A Family Breathes Together 108 ----Laurie Weaver, M.S. Weaver and this family tell in their own words of their experiences and effects on their family while participating in Holotropic Breathwork. Relationship in the Breathwork Experience 111 ----Thomas Merton Brightman Brightman offers case examples of family and intimate relationships enhanced by Holotropic Breathwork. Breathwork, Talk Therapy, and Rolfing 113 ----Karen Helle Grue, M.P.F. with Elizabeth Gibson, M.S. Grue's case study of a 49-year-old depressed woman shows how various therapeutic modalities can support the profound changes that Holotropic Breathwork engenders. Premonitory Vision in Holotropic Breathwork 115 ----Max Rossler, Ph.D. Rossler presents three cases where pre-knowledge of events during a Holotropic Breathwork session came to pass in reality in various ways. A Brief Marketing Plan for Everything 117 ----Martin Boroson Boroson contends that the greatest marketing challenge of Holotropic Breathwork -- its enormous scope -- can be turned into an advantage, as its umbrella can shelter and contain all forms of process. Marketing Holotropic Breathwork 123 ----Jim Compton-Schmidt, M.Div., C.M.P., Stephen Dinan, M.A., Ed Willard, Ray Kelly, Don Baker, C.M.T., and Thomas Merton Brightman Six writers produced a collection of essays on the issues of pricing, profit, service, consistency, and the integration of good business into good mission in providing Holotropic Breathwork workshops. "Dying Among Friends" 131 ----Stephen Dinan, M.A. Dinan discusses the importance of meeting the needs for safety and community with creative containers for deep death/rebirth work. A Call to Community 134 ----Sandi Jones, M.S.W. Jones discusses the need for community and the factors conducive to community in the practice of Holotropic Breathwork. Breathwork, Community, and the Spiritual Path 139 ----Ken Sloan Sloan poses the question: "What is the Holotropic Breathwork community, or communities, and what support is offered in these kinds of communities?" Issues Surrounding Therapeutically Induced Non-Ordinary States of Consciousness 142 ----Kylea Taylor, M.S., M.F.T. Taylor discusses the differences and similarities in ethical issues when working with clients in non-ordinary states rather than ordinary states of consciousness. The article evolved into her book, The Ethics of Caring, which was published three years later in 1995. The Ethical Practice of Holotropic Breathwork and the AHBI Ethical Agreements 145 ----Kylea Taylor, M.S., M.F.T. Taylor describes the historical process of constructing ethical guidelines for Holotropic Breathwork. The AHBI Ethical Agreements are included at the end of the article. Self-Reflection, Self-Disclosure, and a Paradigm Clash 148 ----Pamela Cappetta, Ed.D., L.P.C., L.M.F.T., N.C.C. Cappetta shares her difficult experience as a psychotherapist being investigated for her work because of the paradigm clash between traditional therapy and transpersonal approaches, such as Holotropic Breathwork. She also shares the methods she has put in place to document her work for self-protection. All charges against her were dropped. She wrote this description of her experience as a cautionary tale to others. Our Top 80 Breathwork CDs 151 ----Stephen Dinan, M.A. Dinan conducted a poll online in 1997, asking Holotropic Breathwork practitioners to list their favorite music for Breathwork sessions. Dinan organized the results to provide direction to those who want a cost-effective guide to buying CDs that provide both quality and quantity in Breathwork music. The Art of Integration 156 ----Diane Haug, M.A., L.P.C.C. Haug addresses the very important integration phase of the Holotropic Breathwork technique and suggests various tools and methods to assist and support participants in utilizing and assimilat-ing the material that arises in Holotropic Breathwork. Ways of Integration 162 ----Anne H¯ivik, M.A., Exp. ATh. H¯ivik describes, with metaphor, poetry, and stories, her experiences of physical and spiritual healing, illustrating the importance of the arts in integrating experiences in non-ordinary states of consciousness. Working with Dreams, Mandalas, and Claywork 166 ----David Edwards, Ph.D. Edwards describes his use of art therapy with Breathwork. SoulCollage®: An Art Process to Use with Breathwork 168 ----Kylea Taylor, M.S., M.F.T. Taylor describes SoulCollage, an expressive art process that has been used in GTT modules and has been welcomed and integrated as an alternative to mandala drawing as a means to express one's Breathwork experiences. --Holotropic Breathwork and Trauma Recovery-- Winter Undresses Me 174 ----Loriel Starr Poem. Overcoming Blindness 175 ----Mary-Louise Gould, Ed.M., L.C.P.C. Gould writes that understanding the personal and societal effects of trauma is essential to providing a safe and therapeutic container for Breathwork participants. Gould provides an overview of the effects of trauma. "Protection, Permission, and Connection" 181 ----Patricia Meadows, M.S., R.N. Meadows writes this report on The Grof Transpersonal Training's (GTT's) Trauma and Transformation module held in Sedona, Arizona in May 2001. Using Holotropic Breathwork with Multiples 184 ----Ingrid Pacey, M.B.B.S., F.R.C.P/c Pacey, a pioneer in observing the special needs of trauma survivors in Holotropic Breathwork, shares the knowledge she gained from her first years of doing Holotropic Breathwork groups with severely dissociated trauma survivors who were multiple. Breathwork with Trauma Survivors 188 ----Ingrid Pacey, M.B.B.S., F.R.C.P/c Pacey describes her ten years of doing Holotropic Breathwork groups with severely dissociated trauma survivors. Holotropic "Rules" Apply to Dissociation 194 ----Amy Louise Miller, Ed. M, C.A.S. Miller compares various transpersonal experiences with the experiences of dissociation. Sexual Abuse and the Second Matrix 196 ----Judy Forester Forester ties the reliving of her own sexual abuse history to BPM II rather than BPM III and offers some suggestions to Facilitators for how to work with participants who are experiencing their abuse history in this way. Healing the Sacred Wound 199 ----Cynthia DeFilippo, L.Ac. DeFilippo recounts her own experiences of reliving and healing from her sexual abuse history during several years of regular Holotropic Breathwork sessions. She talks about the transpersonal as well as biographical experiences that related to her healing. Bones 201 ----Elizabeth Gibson, M.S. Gibson writes a personal account of how she experienced Holotropic Breathwork having a healing effect on her biographical wounds. Being Present with Trauma 204 ----Terri Harmon, M.A., M.H.R.O.D. Harmon describes her own experience of healing from trauma through Holotropic Breathwork, Hakomi, and the work of Peter Levine. Multiples Speak for Themselves About Their Breathwork 208 ----Amy Louise Miller, Ed. M, C.A.S. Miller compiles these experiences in Breathwork sessions, excerpted from multiples' own reports of their Breathwork sessions. Colin Ross Presents on Multiple Personality 210 ----Carleen Blum, M.A., L.M.T., and Richard Blum, M.S.W., C.I.S.W. The Blums report on the 1993 Grof Transpersonal Training's Advanced Training on Multiple Personality Disorder. Colin A. Ross, M.D., presented and dialogued with Stan Grof, M.D., about the transpersonal aspects of multiple personality. --Holotropic Breathwork and Addiction Recovery---- Meeting at the Full Moon 214 ----Sandi Jones, M.S.W. Poem. Working with the Recovering Community 215 ----Kit Wilson, M.S.W., C.I.S.W. Wilson writes for Holotropic Breathwork Facilitators who find their workshop groups often include persons in recovery from addiction to drugs or alcohol. This article is a combination of two articles, containing both a primer on 12-Step language, how to discuss Holotropic Breathwork with recovering addicts in 12-Step programs, and essential information on relapse behavior. Holotropic Work in Addictions Treatment 220 ----Brack Jefferys, Ph.D. Jefferys discusses the importance of translating language and re-framing concepts in order to bring Holotropic Breathwork to traditional settings -- especially how to discuss the experiences of the transpersonal or perinatal in a non-threatening way. Codependency and the Basic Perinatal Matrices 224 ----Barbara J. Jefferys, M.A. Jefferys relates Timmen Cermak's criteria for diagnosing codependency to Grof's four matrices. Breathing at Sunflower House 227 ----Kylea Taylor, M.S., M.F.T. Taylor writes about her Facilitation of regular Holotropic Breathwork sessions in a long-term, residential treatment center for court-referred, adult addicts. Addiction Recovery and Holotropic Breathwork 230 ----John B. John B. tells his personal story of early sobriety and participation in Holotropic Breathwork, and stresses the importance of a personal supportive community. Two Bridges 232 ----Robert A. Mesaeh, C.S.A.C., with Melody Sullivan Mesaeh tells his personal story of addiction recovery using the 12 Steps and Holotropic Breathwork. --Holotropic Breathwork and Psychiatric Issues---- Holotropic Approach to Recurrent Depression 239 ----Arlene Fox Fox describes her Holotropic work with a group of patients from a psychiatric facility. Holotropic Breathwork and Psychotropic Medications 242 ----Sean O' Sullivan, L.R.C.P.S.I., M.D. O'Sullivan describes his experience with the interaction of psychotropic medications and deep process, such as Holotropic Breathwork. Holotropic Breathwork, Medication, PTSD, and Depression 250 ----Ingrid Pacey, M.B.B.S., F.R.C.P/c Pacey discusses various psychotropic medications, their indications and contraindications, and the use of them in conjunction with Holotropic Breathwork. --Holotropic Breathwork and Physical Healing-- Physical Manifestations of Emotional Disorders 257 ----Stanislav Grof, M.D. Grof wrote this previously unpublished article from which the article, "Holotropic Breathwork and the Hyperventilation Syndrome", was extracted and published in The Inner Door in May 1997. We are pleased to publish the article here in its entirety. Grof reviews the literature regarding somatization and psychosomatic disorder and recounts his observations during the research with non-ordinary states. He concludes that the traditional concept of the "hyperventilation syndrome" is obsolete and has to be revised to reflect that faster breathing creates a biochemical situation in the body that facilitates emergence and resolution of old emotional and physical tensions associated with unresolved psychological and physical traumas. In the light of the observations from Holotropic Breathwork, spontaneous episodes of hyperventilation, occurring in psychiatric patients and the normal population, should be seen as attempts of the organism to heal itself and should be supported rather than suppressed. Holotropic Breathwork and the Resolution of Physical "Dis-Ease" 279 ----Judith Nourse, R.N., C.R. Nourse discusses, based on her own research, the spontaneous remission of physical symptoms following Breathwork sessions. Interstitial Cystitis 284 ----Camille McSeveney, M.S.W. McSeveney writes of the spiritual journey brought about by her cystitis and the effects of Holotropic Breathwork upon the pain and upon her attitude toward the pain. Illness as a Path to Soul 288 ----Sandy Steckling, M.A. Steckling writes a personal account of radical healing of her severe rheumatoid arthritis through her work with Holotropic Breathwork and other related techniques. Curative Factors of Holotropic Breathwork 292 ----Pamela Cappetta, Ed.D., L.P.C., L.M.F.T., N.C.C. Cappetta writes a personal account of physical and emotional healing during a period of regular Holotropic Breathwork sessions. Holotropic Reflections 297 ----Stephen Linsley Linsley describes his process of learning to trust the Inner Healer through his medical crisis with Gastroenteritis and Polycythemia Vera. Lupines, Wolves, and Lupus 300 ----Anne M. Gresham, R.N., M.S., C.N.S., with Melody Sullivan Gresham describes her challenges with physical wellness, especially with her diagnosis of Lupus and the role Holotropic Breathwork has played in her process. Some Anecdotes of Healing and Holotropic Breathwork 303 ----Michael Mithoefer, M.D., Thomas Merton Brightman, Thomas A. Tepfer, and Max Rossler, Ph.D. Participants have reported these anecdotes of physical healing to Holotropic Breathwork practitioners in the United States, Germany, and France. They attribute these improvements in health to their Holotropic Breathwork experiences. Bodywork and Holotropic Breathwork 307 ----Jay Gilliland, C.M.T. Gilliland proposes bodywork as useful for integration after Breathwork sessions and describes some signs that indicate integration is taking place. --Holotropic Breathwork and Living Life-- BelovedÖ 312 ----Loriel Starr Poem. Here I Sit 313 ----Jack Silver, J.D. Silver muses that Breathing is only a means of distracting our attention away from the power of Sitting. His thesis is that Holotropic Breathwork has two practices, Breathing and Sitting. Stretching the Limits 316 ----Jay Gilliland, C.M.T. Gilliland, an experienced inner journeyer, practiced breathwork in an unusual way and noticed some interesting changes in his physical body and consciousness. Although he does not recommend this method to others, he believes it merits further study. Bringing the Work to Life 319 ----Ray Kelly Kelly recounts his moment of realization that the holotropic paradigm is relevant to living life as well as to participating in or Facilitating Holotropic Breathwork. When Darkness Brings Light 323 ----Rebecca B. Browning Browning writes from her personal experience about the gift of "the dark night of the soul" and how she trusts that part of the process as much as any other part. My New Journey 326 ----Lenny Gibson, Ph.D. Gibson describes, in a letter to the readers of The Inner Door, his commitment to descend into the underworld of chemotherapy and notes the prescience of his mandala from a Breathwork experience. The Breathwork session and the drawing both preceded his medical diagnosis of cancer. The Importance of the Voice in Breathwork 328 ----Stephanie Burns Burns discusses the effect of Holotropic Breathwork on finding one's voice metaphorically and on clearing and developing the voice physically. Relationships Post-Breathwork 330 ----Carolyn Green, M.Sc. Green describes the difficulty that sometimes occurs when one partner does Breathwork and brings "process" back to the relationship. Pockets of Compassion 332 ----Kathleen Silver Silver gives a personal account of how her deep work has opened her to feel more compassion. A View from the Window 334 ----Kathleen Silver Silver discusses the healing process of life review in Breathwork and in shamanic systems after sitting with her dying father during his life review at the end of his life. Sitting with Life, Sitting with Death 338 ----Kylea Taylor, M.S., M.F.T. Taylor tells the story of sitting with her dying father and reflecting on the value of the Holotropic Breathwork training as a unique preparation for being present for both life and death. --Holotropic Breathwork and Astrology-- Integrating Astrology with the Practice of Holotropic Breathwork 345 ----Matthew Stelzner Stelzner describes ways of using astrology in an amplifying and non-threatening way with Holotropic Breathwork participants. Planets, Signs, and Houses 347 ----Mark Seelig, Ph.D. This article is a basic archetypal astrology lesson for Breathwork practitioners on the "Actors," "Stage," and "Script" of a natal astrological chart. Timing Sessions for Non-Ordinary States of Consciousness with Astrological Transits 350 ----Matthew Stelzner Stelzner gives a brief summary of a complicated topic, listing some of the ways astrology might be useful in timing personal work with Holotropic Breathwork and other kinds of sessions in which one experiences non-ordinary states of consciousness. Resources for Learning Astrology 352 ----Matthew Stelzner Stelzner offers suggestions for books, software, and other resources for the Breathwork participant or Facilitator who is a beginning student of astrology. Transits for My First Breathwork Session 355 ----Matthew Stelzner Stelzner uses his own first Holotropic Breathwork session to illustrate how the archetypes of the major planets transiting his natal chart correlate with the archetypes of his experience. The Stars and My Spiritual Emergency 358 ----Anne Little, M.A. Little illustrates the archetypal energies at work during the time of her spiritual emergency with information about the transits to her natal chart. Transiting Toward Wholeness 360 ----Marcia Shantee Buckminster Buckminster references each experience in this Breathwork session with the planetary archetypes of the transits on that date. How Stan Grof Came to Expand His Cartography to Include Astrology 362 ----Matthew Stelzner Stelzner tells the story of how Stan Grof has come to embrace the astrological worldview as part of his own. Richard Tarnas Discusses Stanislav Grof's Astrological Birth Chart 364 ----Richard Tarnas, Ph.D. This is a transcript of Richard Tarnas' comments on Stanislav Grof's astrological natal chart, recorded on March 11, 1998 and edited for publication in two parts for "The Inner Door" by Matthew Stelzner. It is a fascinating tour through the archetypes that have a prominent place in Stan's life and work. Tarnas is widely regarded as one of our most gifted living astrologers, and for the past several years, along with Grof, has been teaching graduate seminars and leading workshops on the synthesis of transpersonal psychology and archetypal astrology. --Holotropic Breathwork and Kundalini-- Willing 374 ----Melody Sullivan Poem. Kundalini 375 ----Steven King, M.A., C.M.T. King provides a background of information on Kundalini for Holotropic Breathwork practitioners. Kundalini and Holotropic Breathwork: An Interview with Stuart Sovatsky 380 ----Steven King, M.A., C.M.T. Steven King asked Facilitators in our Holotropic Breathwork community to submit their questions about Kundalini; then he took those questions to this interview with Kundalini expert, Stuart Sovatsky, Ph.D. The Arousal of the Kundalini 385 ----Mark Seelig, Ph.D. Seelig writes the account of his own experience with the arousal of Kundalini. Embodied Mid-Life Awakening 390 ----Patricia Meadows, M.S., R.N. Meadows tells her personal story of Kundalini awakening. Deflected and Healthy Kundalini Risings 395 ----Kiu Eckstein Kiu Eckstein reflects on his Kundalini experiences and personal work with a Kundalini master in Rishikesh, India. --Holotropic Breathwork and Shamanism-- Shamanism and Holotropic Breathwork 403 ----Sheelo and Ahmayo Bohm The Bohms describe shamanic work done in conjunction with Holotropic Breathwork and illustrate with participants' own descriptions of their experiences and the resolutions of problems and issues. Dismemberment 406 ----James C. Nourse, Ph.D. Nourse describes a classic shamanic initiatory experience in Holotropic Breathwork sessions. He makes links between the Transpersonal/ Holotropic psychological perspective written about by Christina and Stanislav Grof, and archaic psychospiritual technologies and initiation sequences (as written about by Western scholars such as Mircea Eliade and Joseph Campbell). The Ones Who Went Before 412 ----Sheelo and Ahmayo Bohm The Bohms describe their intense sessions working with a man who worked through a transpersonal aspect of a COEX related to his ancestors. Ecstasy and Healing 415 ----Maria Marotti, Ph.D. Marotti writes of her experience in the Grof Transpersonal Training module in Sedona, Arizona which focused on shamanism and was facilitated by Diane Haug. --Holotropic Breathwork and Therapeutic Systems-- Holotropic Breathwork and Experiential Talk Therapy 419 ----Timothy J. O'Connell, Ph.D. O'Connell discusses which kinds of talk therapies best interface with transpersonal, experiential self-exploration such as Holotropic Breathwork. Trance Formation of Consciousness 423 ----Rudolf Elterich, M.D. Elterich provides a well-referenced discussion of Ericksonian technique and a discussion of the use of hypnotherapeutic tools at various stages of the Breathwork process. Hypnosis and its Function Related to the Practice of Holotropic Breathwork 426 ----Michael Vancura, M.A. Vancura discusses the differences and similarities of Breathwork and hypnosis and the uses of hypnosis in conjunction with Breathwork. Applying Self-Relations Theory to Holotropic Breathwork 430 ----Kylea Taylor, M.S., M.F.T. Taylor applies the concepts of Stephen Gilligan's Self-Relations theory to some of the concepts, principles, and practices inherent in Holotropic Breathwork. The Kubler-Ross Stages of Grief (and Change) and the Holotropic Breathwork Model 437 ----Jim Compton-Schmidt, M.Div., C.M.P. Compton-Schmidt shows how the Grof Basic Perinatal Matrices are consistent with Kubler-Ross' stages of grief and loss. Holotropic Breathwork with Voice Dialogue 440 ----Sasha (Alex) Lessin, Ph.D. Lessin describes how he uses the work of Hal and Sidra Stone, Voice Dialogue, with his therapy a complement to Holotropic Breathwork. Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Holotropic Breathwork 442 ----Anne M. Gresham, R.N., M.S., C.N.S. Gresham outlines the principles and stages of Linehan's Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and how she advocates using DBT as a structure to help persons with Borderline Personality Disorder heal themselves before and during the time they participate in Holotropic Breathwork. --Holotropic Breathwork and Other Spiritual Systems-- Under One Roof 449 ----Martin Boroson Boroson writes his personal account of his experience at Insight and Opening, the retreat at which Jack Kornfield and Stan Grof combine vipassana meditation with Holotropic Breathwork. Post-Modern Monk and Modern Shaman 454 ----Stephen Dinan, M.A. Dinan compares and contrasts the theories of the eminent transpersonal theorists, Stanislav Grof and Ken Wilber. Yogic Sleep and Meditation States During Holotropic Breathwork 459 ----Kylea Taylor, M.S., M.F.T. Taylor offers a description of tandra, yoga nidra, murcha, jada samadhi, sabija samadhi, and nirbija samadhi, and links these various meditation states to experiences that occur at times during Holotropic Breathwork sessions. Ecstatic Remembrance 462 ----Tim O'Connell, Ph.D. O'Connell writes about participant experiences in the Ecstatic Remembrance module of the Grof Transpersonal Training. Birthing and Breathwork 465 ----Patricia Anne Meadows, M.S., R.N. Meadows gives an appreciative description, from a nurse's viewpoint, of the parallels between giving birth and doing Breathwork, as well as the usefulness of "midwifing" as a Feminine approach to facilitating Breathwork. Lucid Dreams and the Modified States of Consciousness in Holotropic Breathwork 468 ----Max Rossler, Ph.D. Rossler compares the surrender to a Holotropic Breathwork non-ordinary state of consciousness with the more intentional lucid dreaming described by Stephen Le Berge. Experiential Work in an Academic Setting 470 ----John Stocke, Ph.D. Stocke describes the experiential exercises he has used in a university class on "Science and Mysticism". --Holotropic Breathwork and Other Breathwork Systems-- Two Forms of the Breath 477 ----Lorri A. Kesich-Shank, R.T., Ms.T. Kesich-Shank, a certified Holotropic Breathwork practitioner, who also trained in rebirthing, compares the two techniques. Rebirthing to Holotropic Breathwork 481 ----Max Rossler, Ph.D. Rossler compares Holotropic Breathwork and rebirthing techniques, from his perspective as someone trained and qualified in both. Grof Holotropic Breathwork and Hendricks Cathartic Breathwork 483 ----Brack Jefferys, Ph.D. Jefferys, certified in both Holotropic Breathwork and Hendricks Body-Centered Transformation, compares the two methods. Breathwork inTherapy; Breathwork as Therapy 487 ----Brack Jefferys, Ph.D. Jefferys provides a brief exploration of four main categories of breathwork interventions in therapy and their utilization: behavioral, emotional, self-explorative, and transpersonal methods. --Holotropic Breathwork History and News-- Saturn 492 ----Melody Sullivan Poem. AHBI's Second Conference Builds Community 493 ----Kylea Taylor, M.S., M.F.T. Taylor writes a brief account of the second conference of the Association for Holotropic Breathwork International, held in Orlando, Florida in 1992. The ITA in Prague 1992 494 ----Kylea Taylor, M.S., M.F.T. Taylor writes a personal account of attending the International Transpersonal Association's conference in Prague, Czechoslovakia in 1992. Vaclav Havel Speaks of Stanislav Grof at Stanford University 496 ----Kylea Taylor, M.S., M.F.T. Taylor reports how Vaclav Havel, President of the Czech Republic, risked ridicule to talk about his belief that transcendent mystical experience could unite all cultures and peoples. In his talk he praises Stanislav Grof's work in describing the universal and archetypal experiences of human beings in non-ordinary states of consciousness. ITA in the Jungle 498 ----Sean O'Sullivan, L.R.C.P.S.I., M.D. O'Sullivan reports on his experience at the International Transpersonal Association's conference in May 1996 in the Amazon rain forest in Manaus, Brazil. Stan Grof Visits Albert Hofmann 502 ----Maya Preisig, Lic. Phil. Preisig describes Stan Grof's visit with Hofmann, discoverer of LSD, at his home in Switzerland. Maya accompanied Stan on his visit to the Hofmanns'. Esalen Conference Held on Grof's Work 504 ----Kylea Taylor, M.S., M.F.T. Taylor writes a brief account of the March 2000 conference, at Esalen Institute, Big Sur, California USA, on the work and theory of Stanislav Grof. The Bones of 9/11 505 ----Melody Sullivan Sullivan interviewed many people in the Breathwork community to discover how the September 11, 2001 World Trade Center tragedy in New York City affected people's experiences in non-ordinary states of consciousness (NOSC) and what insights had come as a result of these events. Near Ground Zero 512 ----Oliver Williams Williams describes his own experience near ground zero at the World Trade Center in New York City after September 11, 2001 and subsequent experiences of those for whom he facilitated Holotropic Breathwork after the terrorist attack. Obscurity 514 ----Melody Sullivan Poem. --Holotropic Breathwork and Research-- Suggested Research Projects 517 ----Stanislav Grof, M.D. Grof, the co-developer of Holotropic Breathwork, suggests eight research projects that could be done with Holotropic Breathwork participants. In submitting this list of research projects to "The Inner Door," he called it "a beginning list". Research Protocol for Non-Ordinary States 520 ----John Freeman Freeman excerpts text from a research protocol using Holotropic Breathwork with addicts in recovery. The premise is that peak experiences and/or emotionally cathartic experiences are correlated with successful long-term drug and alcohol abuse treatment. Examining the Effects of Holotropic Breathwork in the Recovery from Alcoholism and Drug Dependence 524 ----Byron Metcalf, Ph.D. Metcalf describes the results of his research showing Holotropic Breathwork to be effective with ten men and ten women in recovery. This article also includes a discussion of the difficulties in doing research on Holotropic Breathwork. Breathwork as a Shamanic Strategy 527 ----Byron Metcalf, Ph.D. Metcalf writes a brief overview of his study combining breathwork and shamanic technique. Russians Study Transpersonal Aspects of Childbirth 531 ----Dmitri Spivak, Dr.Sc., Ph.D. Spivak reports about the work of researchers D. Spivak, L. Spivak, and K. Wistrand who interviewed new mothers about their transpersonal experiences during childbirth. The P300 Cognition Brainwave Appears After Breathwork 532 ----D. Spivak, Dr.Sc., Ph.D., and L. Spivak, M.D., Dr.Sc., Ph.D. These Russian researchers report on an unexpected and interesting finding while doing brain research study on breathwork participants. --Global Holotropic Breathwork-- How Many People are Certified to Facilitate Holotropic Breathwork and Where Do They Live? 537 ----Kylea Taylor, M.S., M.F.T. Taylor lists numbers, through December 2002, of certified Holotropic Breathwork practitioners and their countries of residence. Holotropic Breathwork in the Czech Republic 538 ----Stanislav Kudrle, M.D. Kudrle reports on the history and current practice of Holotropic Breathwork in the Czech Republic, especially noting those who were the original Holotropic Breathwork Facilitators there and those who are working with the technique with special populations for special purposes. Holotropic Breathwork in Ireland 539 ----Nienke Merbis and Martin Boroson Boroson and Merbis report on the history and current practice of Holotropic Breathwork in Ireland. Holotropic Breathwork in Russia 542 ----Vladimir Maikov, Ph.D. Maikov reports on the history and current practice of Holotropic Breathwork in Russia. Holotropic Breathwork in Scandinavia 545 ----Karen Helle Grue, M.P.F. Grue reports on the history and current practice of Holotropic Breathwork in the Scandinavian countries. Holotropic Breathwork in Argentina 547 ----Lic. Silvina Alterman, Norma Panno, and Prof. Gustavo Florio Alterman, Panno, and Florio document the beginning and growth of Holotropic Breathwork in Argentina. Holotropic Breathwork in Brazil 550 ----¡lvaro Jardim and Carmen Maciel, M.S. Jardim and Maciel document the beginning and growth of Holotropic Breathwork in Brazil. Holotropic Breathwork in Egypt 553 ----Elizabeth Gibson, M.S. Gibson writes about traveling to Egypt with her husband to Facilitate Holotropic Breathwork for therapists there. Holotropic Breathwork in India 557 ----Francis Padinjarekara, S.J., Psy.D., and Diana Medina, M.A., PA-C. Padinjarekara and Medina describe the Breathwork workshop, "Breath and Spirit", given by three volunteers at the Sadhana Institute, a therapy institute in India. --Holotropic Breathwork Forms-- Informed Consent For Holotropic Breathwork™ Group 563 ----Michael Mithoefer, M.D. Mithoefer designed this informed consent form for his own use. He graciously has allowed us to print it and gives permission for certified Facilitators to use it as they see fit. It contains a thorough disclaimer of any scientifically proven benefits, a list of all possible risks, and a factual description of the physical process of Holotropic Breathwork. A General Release to Participate in Breathwork Workshops 567 ----Thomas Merton Brightman Brightman shares this general release form, composed by him and his lawyer for his workshops, early in his Holotropic Breathwork work. It provides a contract of accountability between the Facilitator and the participant, shows that the participant has been informed, and gives consent to participating in the Breathwork method. Medical Information Form 569 This is the standard medical information form which has been used, since 1991 with updates and revisions, in most Holotropic Breathwork workshops and trainings. After the Group 571 ----Ingrid Pacey, M.B.B.S., F.R.C.P/c and Wendy Barrett, M.C.S.P. Pacey and Barrett prepared this handout to give participants at the close of their Holotropic Breathwork workshops. Integration and Aftercare 575 ----Lynda Griebenow, M.S., and Scott Egleston, C.C.J.S., C.A.S.O.C. Griebenow and Egleston use this handout after their workshops to encourage self-care and assist with integration. Questionnaire for Effect of Holotropic Breathwork on Physical Symptoms 577 ----Judith Nourse, R.N., C.R. Nourse shares the questionnaire she uses to collect anecdotal information on changes in physical symptoms related to participation in Holotropic Breathwork. Pre-Questionnaire for Holotropic Breathwork Participation 579 ----Kylea Taylor, M.S., M.F.T. Taylor's questionnaire is designed to obtain demographic, birth, and trauma history information, using open-ended questions and the Likert Scale prior to Holotropic Breathwork participation. Post-Holotropic Breathwork Questionnaire (Same Day) 582 ----Kylea Taylor, M.S., M.F.T. Taylor's questionnaire is designed to obtain demographic data and descriptions of non-ordinary experiences, using a checklist of possible experiences, an open-ended request for a description of the experience as a whole, and the Likert Scale, after each Holotropic Breathwork experience. --Index-- 589--605 ### Excerpted Article from Exploring Holotropic Breathwork "Radar to the Infinite" by Martin Boroson (The Inner Door, 10(4)5-6, November 1998) Copyright © 1998 by Martin Boroson Abstract: Boroson provides a major exposition of Holotropic Breathwork and its place as a meta-technique--one which embraces and assists many paths and processes. Author biography: Martin Boroson is the author of Becoming Me, a modern spiritual parable based on his holotropic experiences of love and play at the heart of the Kosmos. He was certified to facilitate Holotropic Breathwork by Stanislav Grof, M.D., in 1994. In the last four decades, the West has seen a flowering of new forms of therapy, new spiritual paths, and the unprecedented availability of Eastern spiritual traditions. But with so many products in the supermarket of transformation, how do we find the product we need, when we need it? Many people have spent years -- and a small fortune -- in some form of therapy or spiritual practice that was not well-tailored to their needs. Finding the appropriate therapy is made even more difficult by the outright disagreement amongst the various schools of psychology and spiritual paths about technique, values, and even about the nature of reality itself. The integral vision Ken Wilber, considered by some to be the "Einstein of consciousness," has carefully developed a theory that gives coherence to this problem. It is a blueprint for a "total" path of self-exploration, a vision that he calls "integral". Marshaling considerable evidence, he suggests that consciousness is arranged as a spectrum, encompassing matter, life, mind, soul, and spirit. In modern times, each of these levels has been the concern of a different branch of knowledge: physicists look at matter; biologists look at life; psychologists look at mind; and mystics have focused on soul and spirit. Unfortunately, each discipline tends to ignore or downplay the importance of the others. A truly holistic or integral path would encompass all levels of the spectrum, acknowledging that we are composed of all of these dimensions.(1) Wilber suggests a "plan" for therapy or self-exploration that would address each level: "Take a practice (or practices) from each of those levels, and engage whole-heartedly in all of those practices. For the physical level, you might include physical yoga, weight lifting, vitamins, nutrition, jogging, etc. For the emotional/body level, you might try tantric sexuality, therapy that helps you contact the feeling side of your being, bioenergetics, etc. For the mental level, cognitive therapy, narrative therapy, talking therapy, psycho-dynamic therapy, etc. For the soul level, contemplative meditation, deity yoga, subtle contemplation, centering prayer, and so on. And for the spirit level, the more non-dual practices, such as Zen, Dzogchen, Advaita Vedanta, Kashmir Shaivism, formless Christian mysticism, and so on. "I hesitate to give that list, because, as you know, there are literally thousands of wonderful practices for all of those levels, and I shudder at excluding any of them. But please just focus on the general idea: take one or more practices from each of the levels of your own being -- matter to body to mind to soul to spirit -- and exercise all of them to the best of your ability, individually and collectively."(2) This is a noble path, a truly royal road, and one that gives a radically new and expansive way for individuals to develop their potential. This spectrum idea, Wilber suggests, can also be used by physicians and therapists to diagnose patients -- to ascertain where in the spectrum the patient's illness originates, and then create an appropriate treatment plan.(3) But Wilber's approach, although typically thorough, probably strikes most people as an impossible challenge. Imagine coming home from a difficult day at work, after a long commute, and then doing the chores, spending quality-time with the kids, and then beginning a regimen of jogging, Tai Chi, psychotherapy, chanting, and meditation (not to mention community service and political activism). It is a great theory, but hard to imagine in daily life. However the work of another leading light of transpersonal studies, Stanislav Grof, may provide a more efficient and practical solution, embracing the entire spectrum in one path. The Holotropic practice Stanislav Grof, a Czech psychiatrist, is one of the pioneers of clinical consciousness research, and has been cited by Wilber as "arguably the world's greatest living psychologist".(4) With Christina Grof, he developed a technique called Holotropic Breathwork, in which clients gain access to a non-ordinary state of consciousness through deep, fast breathing. This process is strengthened by evocative music, and is supported by a considerable degree of preparation and personal attention. Clients lie on a mattress and close their eyes, but are free to move their bodies, or cry, scream, sing, chant, shout, move, spit up, meditate, laugh, yawn, etc., as the inner experience demands. In this state of consciousness, clients can remember, discover and explore any level of the spectrum of consciousness. They can experience aspects of their own birth, repressed or unfinished trauma (e.g., childhood abuse, car accidents), bioenergetic release, unconscious family dynamics, intuitive wisdom, psychic awareness, shamanic journeys, past lives, deities, angels, and formless mystical consciousness. In addition, each of these experiences is normally carried into consciousness by a particular form of practice (one of the "thousands of wonderful practices"), helping the client to explore it in the most appropriate way. Holotropic means moving toward wholeness, and Grof believes that each holotropic experience moves the individual to the next appropriate step on his or her journey toward wholeness. We can now consider Holotropic Breathwork in three ways -- as diagnosis, healing, and prescription -- each illustrating its benefits as an integral or full-spectrum path: 1. Diagnosis: Holotropic Breathwork selects the level of the spectrum at which a person's effort is most effective. When we enter a holotropic state with an open mind and no agenda, the psyche seems to "select" the experience that is most charged or "ripe" at that time. Grof calls this the "radar function." The experience that emerges could not have been predicted or planned, but it invariably turns out to be highly relevant to the participant's growth. It is as if we open ourselves completely to discovering what is really going on at the deepest levels of our being at that time, and we allow that experience to evolve and teach us. In other words, the holotropic session brings an individual directly to the cutting-edge of his or her personal evolution. From Wilber's point-of-view, we could say that Holotropic Breathwork determines the level of the spectrum that is most efficient for present growth. The radar function is like a highly sophisticated diagnostic tool that instantly pinpoints the problem or potential that is most charged emotionally and most significant. Like a form of internal triage, Holotropic Breathwork sorts out what is the most urgent. Some examples: A person believes that he needs to express anger toward his mother, and has been talking about this for years in therapy. But during his holotropic session, he re-experiences a car accident he had many years ago. Revisiting the moment of impact, the sudden fright, the need to scream, and the way he froze in terror, he is able to release his scream from a frozen state. This unlocks his anger. A person feels blocked in her practice of meditation, is starting to despair, and may give up practice altogether. During her holotropic session, she re-experiences a moment of her birth when the passage was blocked, and she went into fetal distress. She releases this trauma at physical and emotional levels, and then finds that her concentration and ability to sit still in her meditative practice has improved. A person who has taken drugs recreationally is being overwhelmed by mystical images, and is desperately trying to avoid a psychiatric admission. During his holotropic session, he re-experiences a near-death experience in childhood in which he "left" his body. Working through this trauma emotionally and physically helps to "ground" him back in his body. A person who has been in therapy for many years, working on issues of sexual abuse, feels locked in a pattern of blame. In her holotropic session, she encounters an angel who opens her heart. She is overwhelmed with compassion and is able to forgive her abuser. In these cases, intensive work at the wrong level of the spectrum would be inefficient, if not actually counterproductive. It would be far simpler to invite the psyche to choose the appropriate level for the next step. 2. Healing: Holotropic Breathwork selects the form of practice that is most appropriate to an individual's present needs. Every form of therapy or spiritual path has its list of do's and don'ts, and its own prescribed method for treatment or spiritual progression. In meditation, you sit absolutely still, and in trance-dancing, you move until you're ecstatic. In bioenergetic therapy, you express your anger, and in kundalini yoga, you direct this energy internally. But Holotropic Breathwork is extraordinarily method-free. Clients are simply encouraged to allow whatever is emerging as they breathe deeper and faster. They are only "required" to keep their eyes closed, so that the experience is not projected onto others, and to stay on their mattress, so that they can be kept safe. There is no time limit, no noise limit, no rules of posture or diet, no institutional hierarchy, no guru, no sacred text, and no dress code. If the inner experience wills it, clients can scream, cry, chant, pray, regress to infancy, speak in tongues, meditate, move into yoga postures, laugh, yawn, leave their body, enter their body, punch a pillow, shake, sweat, gyrate -- the list is endless. An inner healing mechanism is allowed to do whatever is necessary for healing and transformation of the individual, dictating the actual form of practice or therapy, without imposition of anyone's academic framework, cultural background, or religious belief. The Holotropic Breathwork session provides a physical and emotional space in which the deepest dimensions of our being are given encouragement to work their magic. The actual form and method of transformation is chosen by the emerging experience. We could say that Spirit itself chooses the form and method of its evolution. 3. Prescription: Holotropic Breathwork directs a client to forms of self-exploration that will be most effective outside of the holotropic experience. Holotropic Breathwork provides a prescription for other forms of healing. In this sense, it is like an all-embracing referral agency. If you are confused about what therapy or spiritual practice to pursue, simply gain access to a deep, non-ordinary state of consciousness, and see what emerges naturally. One client found herself vacillating between a commitment to T'ai Chi, hatha yoga or zen meditation. But after a series of holotropic sessions in which her body spontaneously went into yoga postures, each accompanied by physical healing and spiritual insight, her path was clear. She committed herself to a formal practice of hatha yoga. Another person found that in spite of his intense spiritual quest, his holotropic sessions focused on a lonely part of his childhood. This was an important "prescription" to do some inner child work, or supportive psychotherapy, outside of the sessions. In this sense, Holotropic Breathwork is not simply one of the "thousands of wonderful paths", but is a meta-path, a post-modern clearing house for everything from biofeedback and psychoanalysis, to Alcoholics Anonymous and past-life regression, to Sufi dancing and kriya yoga. These additional therapies can augment the practice of Holotropic Breathwork, until, perhaps, the inner dynamic shifts and a different form of practice is "prescribed". A big experience of everything Grof acknowledges the importance of working through all levels of consciousness. From extensive clinical observation, he discovered an extraordinary phenomenon that is consistent with Wilber's concept of the spectrum. Grof noticed that an individual's issues are grouped along certain themes. There are common patterns linking one's emotional issues, physical problems, birth dynamics, and profound universal spiritual questions. Grof calls these threads or chains "systems of condensed experience", or COEXs for short. Here is the way a COEX might emerge in a series of Holotropic Breathwork sessions: Samantha has suffered most of her life from persistent throat infections. Emotionally, she feels inhibited from expressing herself. During her first Holotropic Breathwork session, she remembers a music teacher from elementary school who viciously told her that she "couldn't sing a note." In another session a childhood incident emerges in which her brother tried to strangle her. In re-experiencing this, she screams and screams -- releasing long-held muscular tension in her throat. As her process deepens in subsequent sessions, she experiences a moment of her birth when the umbilical cord was around her neck, and she realizes that at a deep, unconscious level, she has always confused the drive to emerge and be free with a life-threatening, choking sensation. When her process deepens to the transpersonal level, she re-lives a past-life as a man be-headed for his religious convictions. And then one day, she has a shift on an entirely symbolic level. She experiences herself as a swan, singing as it dies. For the first time in her life, she has an image of singing while dying, rather than singing or dying. In this session she feels her voice restored to her, and her fear of death is diminished. Having released so much fear and tension in her throat through this process, she now rarely gets a throat infection. According to Grof, COEXs are finally resolved when they have been addressed at all levels.(5) This embracing vision offers hope to those die-hard seekers who have been through encounter groups and re-birthing, psychoanalysis and magic mushrooms, but have found that the same old problems keep reappearing. To those many weary souls, Holotropic Breathwork offers the possibility that other dimensions of the psyche, and other forms of release, when accessed, will do the trick. The most transformative experience may have been right there all along, awaiting only the humility of the ego, the freedom from method, and the openness and safety of the setting. Most spectacularly, in Holotropic Breathwork, we can have experiences that touch on several levels of the spectrum at once, or even embrace the entire spectrum. It is common for individuals to have a profound spiritual realization at the same time as a major physical release. In this simultaneous experience, we also become aware that all levels of Being are deeply interwoven. Long before the end of our journey, before we have solved all our problems or united with the Infinite Divine, we experience an ever-deepening awareness -- in the fabric of our Being and the fibers of our body -- of the seamlessness of Creation. The whole spectrum embraced Ken Wilber has been credited with unifying Freud and the Buddha, creating an integral vision that spans the past and future of consciousness, and more. And Holotropic Breathwork, free to meander everywhere and anywhere across this spectrum, brings us directly to the cutting edge of our evolution. It requires only that we lean toward the truth that is emerging now and here, in the deepest and farthest reaches of the present moment. With unprecedented openness -- in theory and method -- it embraces all the ancient forms of worship and all the modern means of personal growth, and even holds space for those paths yet to be invented. Through it, we can gain access to the entire spectrum of consciousness, to all the magnificent dimensions of Being, and we can travel along any or all of wonderful therapies and paths, aiming always, steadfastly, at the one, integral goal. Endnotes (1) A truly integral path, he maintains, would also include the inner ("interior") and the outer ("exterior") of everything, as well as the cultural or social aspect of each level. Following his lead in the citation, I am simplifying his work here. (2) Wilber, K. (1997.) "A Ticket to Athens", an interview in Pathways: A magazine of psychological and Spiritual Transformation. (3) Wilber, K. et. al.(1986.) Transformations of consciousness. Boston: Shambhala. 144-146. (4) Wilber, K. (1997.) The eye of the spirit. Boston: Shambhala. 165. (5)In Grof's version of the spectrum, these are the sensory, personal unconscious, perinatal, and the transpersonal. References Grof, S. (1992). The holotropic mind. HarperSanFrancisco. Grof, S. (1988). The adventure of self-discovery. State University of New York Press. Wilber, K. (1993). The spectrum of consciousness. Quest Books. Wilber, K. (1996). A brief history of everything. Shambhala Publications. ### Critical reviews Midwest Book Review A unique, invaluable guide. The price tag of Exploring Holotropic Breathwork: Selected Articles From A Decade Of The Inner Door is weighty indeed but so is the information packed within its covers. This guide gathers well over a hundred field reports related to a non-drug altered-state work. Over eighty authors trained in breathwork published these articles between 1991-2002, providing a foundation of important information to practitioners in fields ranging from medical to spiritual areas. From work with trauma survivors to work with lupus and HIV patients, this details a range of effects of breathwork and offers invaluable advice on how it can blend with traditional and alternative therapies. A unique, invaluable guide highly recommended for the new age health library. James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief Midwest Book Review May 1, 2003 Chris M. Bache. Author of Dark Night, Early Dawn An essential volume for libraries, schools, and serious collectors of transpersonal and clinical theory. Exploring Holotropic Breathwork is an excellent book on the theory and practice of Holotropic Breathwork and represents an important contribution to the literature. In addition, it addresses many challenging aspects of spiritual practice not often discussed outside circles of committed practitioners. Thus, there is a "hands on" quality to this volume that is both refreshing and inspiring. Since 1988, more than 800 persons from 36 countries have completed Stanislav and Christina Grof's training program in Holotropic Breathwork, a widespread, non-drug psycho-spiritual practice that the Grof's developed after therapeutic work with psychedelics was no longer legally sanctioned by our culture. Holotropic Breathwork employs evocative music, deepened and accelerated breathing, and focused bodywork to enter powerful non-ordinary states of consciousness. This volume contains 144 articles published in the training program's in-house journal, The Inner Door, between 1991-2002. Most of the 85 authors are professionals in medical, academic, therapeutic, and spiritual fields who are here sharing their insights and experiences with other practitioners. Most of the articles are short (3-4 pages) and therefore efficient in their delivery of information. They cover a wide variety of personal and professional topics that emerge from the breathwork. Anthologies as large as this one (600 pages) all too often are ponderous tomes, unwieldy and tedious to use. Not so here. Kylea Taylor has done an excellent job of shaping her material into a well-organized and easily accessible reference work. Each article is annotated in the Table of Contents (very useful) and collected into categories that are well aimed. The reader will find articles on Holotropic Breathwork and shamanism, trauma and addiction recovery, Kundalini, astrology, other breathwork systems, and more. The result is a rich compendium of information written by insiders about the nuts and bolts of Holotropic Breathwork, with many anecdotes of physical, psychological, and spiritual healing, and placing Holotropic Breathwork in dialogue with other systems of healing. As valuable as the individual contributions are, what I enjoyed most about this book was the opportunity to enter the community of Breathwork practitioners and "listen in" to their conversations as they processed their experiences and pushed the boundaries of their disciplines. One gets the sense that one is following a social movement that is consciously breaking new ground, watching them take risks, and listening as they learn from each other's experiences. There are too many excellent articles to pick and choose favorites, but for its historical significance alone I would draw attention to the articles discussing the role of natal and transit astrology in deep therapeutic work (many written by Matthew Stelzner). This is truly paradigm breaking work. Rick Tarnas' discussion of Stan Grof's natal chart is not to be missed. In sum, Exploring Holotropic Breathwork is an essential volume for libraries, schools, and serious collectors of transpersonal and clinical theory. Review by Chris M. Bache Youngstown State University May 28, 2003 Gunnel Minnet, in Scientific & Medical Network Journal One of the important reference books in this field. The Inner Door is the publication of the Association for Holotropic Breathwork International and from it; Kylea Taylor has selected articles from 85 authors and professionals in the Holotropic Breathwork field. They cover a wide range from an introduction to Holotropic Breathwork and related theories, to a practical overview of the technique, as well as a previously unpublished article by Stanislav Grof. It also includes various specialist aspects of Holotropic Breathwork such as trauma recovery, addiction recovery and psychiatric issues and physical healing. From that it moves on (reflecting a common pattern in breathwork) to more transpersonal aspects such as living life, astrology, kundalini and shamanism to other spiritual systems. The final chapters compare Holotropic Breathwork with other breathwork systems, its past and present, its relationship with research and its representation around the world. Because of its wide range the book offers a very good introduction as well as an overview of Holotropic Breathwork. The fact that the technique is presented in a number of short articles by many different authors, all with their own expertise, provides the reader with a very varied view. The grouping of articles reflecting various aspects makes the book easy to use as a general reference source for Holotropic Breathwork as well as other breathwork techniques. Although some of the articles are aimed for more 'in-house use', this book is an absolute must for breathwork therapists of all kinds. It will probably remain one of the important reference books in this field for a long time to come. ~reviewed by Gunnel Minnet, former General Secretary of the International Breathwork Foundation and author of Breath and Spirit This review was published in the Scientific & Medical Network Journal, No. 83. Winter 2003 (p. 70) Customer Reviews