A Brief History of Breathwork
The adjustment of the breath has been employed for 1000’s of years by cultures and spiritualities worldwide to transform consciousness. In the oldest forms of Christianity baptisms included restricting the breath by keeping initiates under lake water, taking them close to the point of death, only to hoist them back up to the surface. For hundred of years, indigenous cultures in Australia use circular breathing in a variety of cultural and spiritual rites. Many Buddhist meditations involve lessening and placing one’s attention on the breath. The well-known Buddhist monk Thích Nhất Hạnh once wrote “The Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness.”
Breathwork Can Change Your State of Mind
Breathwork allows a person to achieve a state that activates a natural inner healing process of the psyche. This can bring a person to an internal experience that is incredibly profound. Because the psyche’s internal healing process is taking over and guiding the process, the quality and type of experience is unique to each person. Some people report recurring internal themes during breathwork, but no two experiences are alike.
In the 1970s Dr. Stanislav Grof began looking into how one can cross this bridge as a substitute to psychedelics. He realized that by breathing more quickly, deeper, and placing your attention towards the body, a person would ultimately move into a non-0rdinary state of consciousness. He coined this practice “Holotropic Breathing”, which basically means “moving towards wholeness” (Holos = whole and Trepein = moving in the direction towards something).