Holotropic Breathwork

A powerful breathing technique designed to support the emergence of transformative non-ordinary states of consciousness.

Holotropic Breathwork was developed by Stanislav and Christina Grof in order to facilitate the healing potential of non-ordinary states of consciousness - primarily via the manipulation of the breath.

Given the right setting, it is possible to powerfully alter your normal waking consciousness and allow yourself to become immersed within a rich and diverse inner world of experience. The processing of this experience helps the breather to strengthen self awareness, process trauma and other unresolved life experiences and build a dialogue between the waking consciousness and what Stan Grof coined the Inner Healer (Inner Healing Mechanism).

It is this inner healer that helps to catalyse our movement towards wholeness (the literal meaning of the word Holotropic), by providing inner experiences that can thematically represent important psychological, spiritual, emotional and physical issues that may be present within us. When these elements are processed, we allow for the possibility of transformation of our fears, anxieties and other tensions. The resolution of these tensions help to ground us in our relationship with ourselves, people important to us and the world around us.




What is Holotropic Breathwork?

Holotropic Breathwork is conducted in a very specific set and setting. On the outside Holotropic Breathwork may look like many other forms of breathwork however there are some key differences.

The Holotropic Breathwork Technique is deceptively simple ...

Holotropic Breathwork is a low-tech breathing technique and in fact (paradoxically) how you breathe is perhaps the least important element in a Holotropic Breathwork session. The key instruction for breathing Holotropically is to "Breathe a little bit faster and a little bit deeper - ensuring that your breathing is continuous and without pause".

Holotropic Breathwork is always done with a sitter ...

Any Holotropic Breathwork is done with at least one sitter and ideally with a facilitator. Holotropic Breathwork is a relational breathwork modality and at it's core is the understanding that we heal through relationship with the other. The sitter is a crucial element in the Holotropic container as they ensure that the process can unfold in a safe and undisturbed way, they can offer support to the breather if it's required and can help to ensure that the breathwork process itself is completed as much as possible in that moment. With any type of non-ordinary state work, completing the process will help to avoid any potential for fragmentation after the session has ended.

Holotropic Breathwork is non-directive ...

All Holotropic Breathwork sessions are conducted knowing that the breather is the expert in their process. In that the breathers Inner Healer knows how to provide an experience that will best allow for the opening and resolution of material. This means that the role of the facilitator is simply to help provide a container that is wide enough and deep enough to hold the experience. Importantly, Meaning making is not a part of the facilitators role in Holotropic Breathwork. Moreover their primarily role is that of supporting the breather and helping the process to unfold in a way that facilitates the dialogue between the breather and the inner healer.

Another key element of the non-directive nature of the process is that there is no hierarchy of experience. By this I mean that grand, transcendent light filled experiences are just as important as difficult, emotional and sometimes painful experiences. The key part of any experience is the successful completion of the process regardless of the material.

Music is an important part of Holotropic Breathwork session ...

The music is a key element of a Holotropic Breathwork session as it helps to hold the experience of the breather. It is played at a high volume so it can be used as a support for the breathers process. The arc of a breathwork set is like a wave:

  • The initial phase is a build up -  intense, rhythmic music designed to entrain the brain
  • The second phase contains more emotional / peak music aimed at facilitating breakthrough and release
  • The last phase is a gentle period of prayerful and meditation music.

A Holotropic Breathwork session typically runs for 2.5 to 3 hours.

You can find a curated list of music used in Holotropic Breathwork sessions on my website Music for Breathwork.

One on One Breathwork Sessions

In some cases we may be able to do shorter one on one holotropic inspired breathwork. This form of breathwork differs slightly from what you might experience in a workshop setting however it is suitable as a form of release /exploration in conjunction with ongoing psychotherapeutic support.

What is the process for doing one on one Holotropic Breathwork?

One on one breathwork unfolds in a series of 3 steps:

Step 1 -  Meet for a one hour psychotherapy session where we can chat about Holotropic Breathwork and you can share some of your story about what brings you to do breathwork. Book your first session.

Step 2 - The breathwork session itself. This is a 3 to 3.5 hour session where you experience Holotropic inspired breathwork. The session itself runs for 1 hour and 40 minutes and involves a pre-chat and some integration work after the session.

Step 3 - A follow up one hour integration session where we can work further to deepen the  insight and awareness gathered during the breathwork session. Integration is an important part of any non-ordinary state work - it's a process that supports the bringing of the wisdom gleaned in the session into your relationship and every day life.

What are the differences working one on one vs working in a workshop setting?

  • Breathwork in the one on one format is typically shorter - from 40 minutes to 1 hour and 40 minutes, whereas workshop sessions go for 2.5 to 3 hours each
  • In a workshop setting you also have the experience of sitting for another person - this is often a powerful experience by itself.
  • In a workshop there is dedicated time and space to integrate the session via sitting in circle with others as well as dedicated time for mandala drawing and other art practice. Whereas in the one on one format there is limited time to do this integration work.
  • One on one sessions are ideal for those who are not comfortable with doing this kind of work in a group setting.
  • One on one sessions can be used as a tool to work with ongoing material being worked on in your psychotherapy sessions with myself or other practitioners.

Pricing Structure

Introductory session: $120 (1 hour)

Breathwork Session: $295 (3 hours)

Integration Session: $120 (1 hour)





My Holotropic Breathwork experience

Holotropic Breathwork has been a fundamental influence on how I approach all aspects of my life and indeed since the late 1990's it has been the primary tool I have used in order to gain greater insight into my life.

My work with Alf Foote was foundational in terms of demonstrating the transformative potential of the breath. And from 2006 to 2013 my training to become a Holotropic Breathwork facilitator via GTT further grounded my understanding of the healing power of non-ordinary states of consciousness.

Since 2013 I have been running Holotropic Breathwork Workshops in Melbourne with Ruth Langford and others and have also been on staff as a part of the Grof Transpersonal Training programs in Australia.

Holotropic Breathwork is held in workshops and smallgroups

For a schedule of upcoming workshops and groups please visit the Melbourne Breathwork website.  Workshops will re-commence in February 2021.



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