Breathwork Techniques for Healing and Stress Relief: Transformational Breath®, Holotrophic Breathwork and Rebirthing
Breathwork to Clear Trauma and Jump-Start Healing
TransformationalBreath® and Holotrophic Breathwork are both ways of tapping into the power of something we usually take for granted – our breath – to help us de-stress, jump-start healing, and infuse our lives with more energy. By using our breath consciously instead of automatic-piloting our way through life, we can experience more clarity and move on from past events that are still running things behind the scenes. Some participants say that Transformational Breath®, Holotrophic Breathwork, and rebirthing breathwork work better than talking therapies because they actually clear trauma from the body.
Busting Stress, Healing Medical Problems and ‘Rebirthing’
Transformational Breath® has been endorsed by Deepak Chopra and Christiane Northrup, names that would be hard to beat in the field of holistic medicine. Transformational Breath® won’t magic all your problems away but it can beef up your immune response, mental clarity, and general health – plus you can bust your stress as your whole body will experience better oxygen supply. This type of breath work can address medical problems like asthma, headaches, and even addictions. It’s natural, safe and healthy. And even if low energy and physical problems aren’t an issue for you, you can expect to experience an expanded state of consciousness – experiencing the unlimited you – and feeling more spiritually connected, whatever that means to you.
A Transformational Breathwork facilitator will observe your breath and see where your breath is being held, and where you might have blockages. The facilitator uses gentle hands-on techniques, body adjustment, sound techniques and positive affirmations to get your breath opened up and moving again. If you give Holotrophic Breathwork a go – and it’s recommended to only do it with a certified practitioner – you’ll find yourself lying down on a mat, eyes closed, and using a certain kind of breathing to a background of evocative music. Each experience is unique, but you can expect to experience some interesting visuals, and get a sense of where your energy is blocked or where it is free-flowing. Like Transformational Breath®, you could revisit memories, conflicts and traumas from the past – including images and feelings from your own birth – the rebirthing partof the process. More ‘out there’ experiences include past life memories and out-of-body experiences.
With both types of breathwork, be prepared for an intense time as emotions and memories break out – you might have been holding onto them for a long, long time! But this is a good thing for your healing – it’s only when these feelings and experiences become conscious, that you can re-integrate them and return to wholeness and health. You’ll practice the breathwork techniques regularly to feel the full benefits.
Breathe Deep, Laugh Louder and Change your Habits
Maybe you’ve noticed that when you’re upset or stressed out, your breathing becomes more shallow – you might even hold your breath. Sometimes we carry on breathing in this restricted way even when the moment of stress has passed – it becomes a habit. And the result of this is short-circuited energy, physical illness and feeling drained. It’s only when we breathe deeply, using our full diaphragm, according to Transformational Breath® theory, that we can access the deep wisdom inside us – the part of us that feels joyful and in love with life. Transformational Breath® was developed by Dr Judith Kravitz and is a powerful combination of conscious breathing techniques and other healing and spiritual ideas. ‘Breath Deep, Laugh Loudly’ is her book which fully explores this method The breathing technique involves breathing in deeply through the mouth, expanding your abdomen. You then exhale with a gentle sigh, imagining you are misting up a mirror.
Holotrophic Breathwork, which has its roots in rebirthing therapy, brews up a healing mixture with some different techniques such as hyperventilation (a kind of intensified breathing), group process, music that evokes moods and emotions, focused body work, and expressive drawing. It is informed by Transpersonal Psychotherapy, which looks to the most evolved, wise and thriving humans to learn about our true potential – rather than focusing on di-ease and stuck-ness. Unlike Transformational Breath®, this type of breathwork does not suggest one correct way to breathe – you only have to breathe faster and deeper than you usually do, with continuous, “circular” breathing.
Workshops, Tasters and Other Ways to Sample the Power of Breathwork
You can experience Transformational Breath® in a one-to-one session, or if your budget is more limited try a group/workshop setting or have a facilitator come to your home to give you and some friends a taster or a short talk. Introductory workshops will give you a more in-depth idea. However you decide to sample Transformational Breath®, make sure you wear loose, comfortable clothing and ideally bring a mat, blanket and pillows for optimal relaxation. Come to a session with an open mind and a positive intention. You will be taught by a fully trained facilitator how to work with your own breath – either as a self-standing method or alongside other kinds of therapy or treatment. With Holotropic Breathwork, you will usually work in a group, in pairs – one person practicing the breathing technique, the other person giving their full attention in a compassionate way without getting involved. If you want to become a certified practitioner of Holotropic Breathwork and learn more about the Transpersonal Perspective that informs it, you can study with the Grof Transpersonal Training Program.
Pranayama, Rebirthing and The Origins of Breathwork
The idea of breathing better and living better isn’t a ‘New Age’ idea. For thousands of years people have practiced breathing techniques, with yogis using pranayama (control of the breath) and meditation. The breathing practice known as Rebirthing was developed by Leonard Orr and intended to release traumas from birth. Rebirthing was the start of Dr Judith Kravitz’s journey into mapping out Transformational Breathwork, in the mid-70’s. Kravitz also used knowledge from Kundalini Yoga, breath analysis, sound healing, body mapping and metaphysics, to develop Transformational Breath®. Holotrophic breathwork was developed by Stanislav Grof and Christina Grof, also in the mid-70’s. It combines insights from many different disciplines including anthropology and Eastern spiritual practices, to kick-start self-exploration and healing by bringing us into different states of consciousness. Holotrophic means to move toward wholeness, and it originally developed alongside psychedelic psychotherapy.
Why is it Ripe and Ready?
Transformational Breathwork® and Holotropic Breathwork are two potent ways to use your breath that catalyze your well-being, healing and energy, without needing to take on any belief system.